There are three parts to a DIY interior paint project, which are preparation, painting, and clean-up. Painting the rooms in your home is not difficult.  The most important thing to have is a good chunk of time, like a weekend. The amount of time it takes depends on the size of the room(s) you want to cover. For a one-person job, plan at least the entire day. 

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Supplies Needed

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The secret to a successful paint job is preparation

Forget about getting the paint on the wall right now. Focus on the three C’s.

Clear the Area

If you don’t want paint on it, get it out of the room. Take everything off the wall including picture hangers and nails. Remove the outlet covers and if they need cleaning, soak them in soapy water.

Clean the Area

Make sure you don’t paint over dust and grime. If you haven’t scrubbed your baseboards lately, now is the time. I like to run a broom over the walls and a warm washcloth around all the door trim. Even if you are not directly painting the trim, any dust or grime left can get in the way of the most calculated brush strokes.

Cover the Area

Cover up any items you don’t want to pain, but can’t remove. There is a 100% chance the paint will end up on the floor. Use a drop cloth to cover the floors at least three feet out from the wall.  Paint can fly off the roller when you’re in the zone. Even if you think that big couch is far enough away from the work, there will be paint drippings. Cover large furniture that can’t be removed from the room.

A sure sign of a bad paint job is the absence of clean lines where two paint colors meet. Perfection is not always possible, but it’s not too hard to get those lines. Unless you have the steadiest of hands, tape all the trim. This includes baseboards, door casings, outlets, switches, and smoke detectors. 

Time to Paint

Start with the most time-consuming part of the job, the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling. This is where a lightweight ladder, a steady hand, a magnetic paint cup with a handle, and a good angled brush come in. 

Shake paint vigorously

The longer the can sits, the more shakes it needs. Make sure the lid is sealed before you have your way with it. Hold securely with both hands and shake it in all directions(side to side, up and down) for a solid minute. If the paint is not mixed enough, it will seem watery and if you put it on the wall like that it will require another coat to correct. 

Once it’s had a good shake, let it sit for a minute so the excess drops from the lid.

Open your paint

To open the paint can, you need a flat head screwdriver, or a paint can opener.

Wedge the tool under the lip of the lid and pull down as the lid begins to lift. Do this a few times around the can and when it’s free, put the lid paint side up, close-by.

Pour the paint

It’s good to have something to catch the excess so it doesn’t get wasted all over the can once you’ve poured what you need. There are gadgets available you can attach to the can like these:

TIGHT BUDGET TIP –  Use a heavy piece of paper to make a simple paint catcher.

It’s a good idea to have a wet rag to wipe the can of any drippings. If you’re using a magnetic paint cup, be sure the empty cup is stable and not in danger of falling over when the paint begins to pour in. Be sure not to fill over the magnet and leave space for wringing out excess paint while you work.

Start at the top

Position your ladder at one end of the room and test your reach along the top of the wall. You should be able to lean into the ladder and hold your cup in one hand and the angled brush with the other. I like this cup with a handle so I can hold on to the ladder and the cup at the same time.

Dip the brush about three-quarters of the way into the paint, then push it against the inside of the upper part of the cup to release the excess paint. 

Next, crisscross the paintbrush near the top of the wall to push out more excess. With the shorter angle leading the way, gently slide the brush up to the edge and drag the brush along the wall. 

Lastly, Pull the paint down about six inches to meet the rolled paint. You should end up with less paint coverage than at the top. 

Paint the trim

Ditch the ladder and grab knee pads or a folded towel to get close to the baseboards. This part is much easier thanks to the great job you did with the tape. Repeat the dipping process like with the top. The difference here is the brush is facing down and more paint from the brush will drip out unexpectedly, so keep that in mind as you dip, squeeze, and crisscross at the bottom. 

Continue the process around the doors and outlets

Ready for the roller

At this point, all the unpainted space on the wall should be accessible with the roller. Fill your paint tray enough to lightly drag the roller along the top. Use the grid to roll off the excess.

The first place the roller should make contact with the wall is at a mid-point with plenty of space around to spread the paint. Use long up and down strokes as you slide the brush outward from the center.

Beware of the widows

When paint drips on the wall and doesn’t get rolled over, that’s called a widow. Keep watch as you roll and once the area is covered. They tend to come from the inside of the roller.