Skip to Content

How to paint a room | step by step

This post may contain affiliate links, which earn money for this site. Disclosure here.

This post contains affiliate links.
How to paint a room, step by step

Lots of you have asked for a post about how to paint a room. So when I painted my bathroom this summer, I took some photos for you.

Painting walls is not rocket science. And as with most types of painting, prep work is key.

If you’re willing to do the prep work, you can turn out a pretty professional result even if you’re not really experienced.   It’s a great DIY project!

1. Clean + remove wall stuff

Get any extra stuff out of the room so that it’s easier to work!

Then vacuum, dust the moldings, and wipe any messes off the walls and trim.

And you’ll need to remove anything that’s hanging on the wall…switch plates, art, towel racks, etc.

where my medicine cabinet hangs. I took it down, obv!

It’s tempting to avoid removing things like towel racks, but you guys, listen:

It’s SO much easier to paint when almost everything is removed.

Take it all down!

2. Spackle holes and caulk gaps

If you’ve got drywall damage or old nail holes in the wall that you won’t be using, fill them with spackle.   Let the spackle dry, re-spackle if necessary, and sand until smooth.

If you’ve got gaps between your moulding and wall, run a bead of caulk over those.

And if the area where your ceiling meets the wall is a little wavy or bumpy run a bead of caulk there too. That’s done wonders for me in some rooms of my house.

(This brand is my favorite caulk. Definitely better than the cheap no-name type.)

3. Paint the ceiling and moulding without taping the edges.

(Do put down a drop cloth before you start painting. No matter how careful you are, a paint roller is a splattery tool, and you ARE going to make a mess.)

Before you paint your walls, paint the ceiling and the molding and go ahead and overlap the paint onto the wall.

This is easier than taping twice (!) AND it’ll help you get a neat, clean line when you paint your walls.

Let the ceiling and wall get completely dry before the next step.

4. Tape edges.

I know some people can manage to do a great job of painting without taping, but I am not one of those people.

I hate taping, but boy, the results really are better when I use tape.

I do not ever use cheap painting tape. It’s so, so worth it to spend a little more and get tape that’ll seal better.

This is my favorite kind. So much better than cheap masking tape!

Once you’ve taped all of your edges, you can finally….

5. Paint!

To minimize brush marks, I usually like to cut in and paint sort of at the same time.

So, I use a variety of small brushes to coat the edges of an area, and then I use my roller to fill in the middle.

A small roller is so super handy for getting into small places and also for evening out brush marks you may have left while cutting in the edges.

As with furniture painting, it’s best not to do super thick coats.   It’s ok if your first coat doesn’t cover completely…you’ll likely be coming back with a second coat anyway.

(I don’t think I’ve ever finished a room with just one coat of paint!)

In between coats, I put my paintbrush and roller into these plastic covers. They are such a tidy way to keep your brush/roller wet between coats, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

6. Remove tape.

I don’t usually let the paint completely dry before I remove the tape, as that generally causes more problems for me than it helps. Instead, I take it off right after the second coat goes on.

7. Do touch-ups with a tiny brush.

No matter how carefully I tape, there are always some small spots that need touching up.   A teeny paintbrush is perfect for this task.

8. WAIT before you hang things back up.

It is craaazy tempting to put your switch plates and all back on the walls because you want to see what your fabulous new room looks like all put together.

But it’s really better to wait overnight before you do that because paint remains a little tacky at first, and your switch plates will tend to get a little embedded into the paint.

Same with things like picture frames and towel racks.

So, hold your horses and hang all that back up the next day.

9. Enjoy your newly painted room.

Look at you and your fabulous, I-painted-a-whole-room self!   Woohoo!


Let me know if I missed anything you were wondering about, and I’ll answer in the comments.

P.S. I didn’t mention this earlier, but you’ll obviously need to clean up your painting supplies.   I like to do this outside with a hose and a sprayer because then the mess is not in my house.   Also, sometimes I like to soak my roller covers and paint brushes in water overnight before I give them a final spray.   The overnight soak seems to encourage the last bits of paint to come off better.Save




So. I'm trying Stitch Fix (hopefully on the cheap!)
← Previous
52 New Recipes | two Dinnerly recipes
Next →

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.