Paint Like a Pro: 20 Game-Changing Tips

paint like a proAny professional will tell you that painting a house is easy…that is if you know what you’re doing.

However, if you’re new to the whole idea of home renovation like most people, there are a few things you need to know.

Looking to take your home renovation game to new heights?

Follow these simple tips:

1. Plan Ahead

This may go without saying, but many forget that preparation is key to getting a paint job done right.

Choose which sections of your interior to paint, familiarize yourself with the different materials and textures you’ll be dealing with, and purchase all your materials ahead of time.

Finally, make sure you develop a schedule that factors in meals and breaks–you should expect to spend a few days working, so think ahead.

Plan Ahead


2. Give Your Interiors A Thorough Inspection

Before you begin, make sure that your walls are clear of any areas where the paint you’ll be covering are peeling or flaking (scrape or sand them, then rinse for good measure).

The same rule holds for slick or greasy portions of your wall, which you’ll need to wash and dry before you can start.

3. Choose Your Colors Carefully

We’ve encountered numerous horror stories about people who took all the pains to paint over their interiors only to regret their choice of color.

Take all the time you need to narrow down your options to the perfect shade –use a color wheel, go through all the swatches your store has in stock, and spend only when you’re dead set on a color.

4. Don’t Cut Costs

Brushes and rollers of poor quality can end up costing you more than if you’d invested in reliable materials.

You lose out in terms of coverage when you scrimp on your painting tools, and the extra few dollars you’ll spend on painter’s tape protect you from messes you’d have to pay to fix anyway.

5. Paint When the Weather’s Dry

Dry weather is optimal for painting your home since humidity slows the drying process and leads to all sorts of messy business like unsightly dripping.

If you aren’t left with any choice in the matter, be sure to take your time and use the opportunity to fix any mistakes you might have made before proceeding to the next coat of paint.

6. Get Your Nap Right

The rougher or more textured your surfaces are, the thicker your nap covers will have to be in order for your work to be thorough.

Likewise, smooth walls need thinner nap covers –if you aren’t sure of the difference, we suggest asking your local hardware store or more experienced friends.

7. Ditch the Furniture

For best results, empty whatever room you plan to paint before you get the job started.

The usual strategy of moving everything to the center of your floor is a cop-out, and odds are you’ll find yourself wasting time reorganizing or dodging your furniture when you should be painting your ceiling at an even pace.

empty room ready for paint

8. Cover Up!

As great as you might be at handling your brushes and rollers, it never hurts to protect your fixtures and belongings from stray drops of paint. Scrounge up some cloth that you won’t mind getting paint on, as well as plastic sheets, bags, or covers and keep your doorknobs and window frames pristine.

Don’t forget to either cover up or set aside the casings on your light switches and sockets too!

9. Primer is Your Friend

Smooth surfaces that have been painted within the last eight years will be fine with a paint-and-primer mixture.

In most other cases, you’ll need to take the effort to apply a coat of primer before your paint. Ask your local hardware store for their recommendations when choosing primer for difficult (i.e. slick or glossy) surfaces.

confused painter

10. Ensure Color Consistency by Boxing Your Paint

When you leave to buy your paint, work with your local hardware store to get the closest estimate of how much you’ll be using over the course of your project.

Once you have the amount you need, “box” them together by mixing them into a single, large container–this eliminates any chance of inconsistencies in shade or tone that may have come from errors in the manufacturing process.

11. Start with the Trim before Moving on to Your Walls

It’s a lot simpler to apply painter’s tape to interior trim than it is to apply them on your walls and more cost-effective than taping over both.

When painting your trim, also take note that you don’t have to work with full precision, since it’s easy enough to paint over any residue that finds its way onto your walls.

12. Ease Up on Your Roller

If you’ve chosen quality materials, you won’t need to strain to get the paint from your roller to your target surfaces.

Allow the roller to do the hard work, and your paint should practically flow onto your walls and ceilings.

paint rollers

13. Avoid Ugly Streaks by Rolling the Height of Your Wall

Uneven stripes and streaks occur when you paint over a surface that’s already partially dried, and they’re a major eyesore once the job is done.

To avoid this kind of unsightly overlapping, roll paint along the entire height of your wall, inching slightly towards your unfinished sections with each pass.

14. Keep Your Roller Loaded

Another tip to avoid overlapping is to give your roller a dip every few passes –you want to make sure that it’s at least half-loaded at all times.

When a roller runs dry halfway through a pass, the thin layer that forms as it tapers out dries quickly, resulting in a higher chance of your paint forming unwanted layers.

15. Work Down to the Floor

Use a brush to work the edges of your ceiling, then work your way from top to bottom using your roller.

This makes the job of covering up drips and splatter effortless, since you’ll be refining the areas they’re most likely to affect as you carry on with your work.

old paint rollers

16. Even out Your Textures by Rolling Paint along Your Edges

It’s true that edges like the ones near your door frames or along the corners of your walls are best painted using a brush.

But any pro will tell you that using only a brush leaves your final output with a noticeably different color or texture–keep your surfaces uniform by painting over your edges with a brush first, then rolling onto them immediately for good measure.

17. Learn to Move On

When working ceiling-to-floor, the higher portions of your surface will naturally dry faster than the lower ones.

When this happens, leave it be. Returning for another once-over can ruin your effort by leaving marks and streaks on the final product.

18. Use Water-Based Paint for Wallpaper

Believe it or not, you don’t need to strip your wallpaper before you can paint your walls.

All you need is to apply an oil-based primer, then paint over the surface as you normally would; make sure to go for oil-based, as water-based primers can cause your surfaces to peel and warp.

19. Cut Your Painter’s Tape after Your Surfaces Have Dried

Straight lines and symmetry are the marks of an expert job.

Get the same results for your home’s edges by waiting for the paint to dry fully, before using a boxcutter or utility knife to help you remove the tape you’ve set up.

20. Clean Up

Effective painting doesn’t end when your surfaces are all covered up.

Don’t let any of the money you poured into buying tools and paint go to waste. Clean your brushes after use, and store all your tools and leftover paint for future use. Quality materials can and should last you a while.

cleaning room

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