How to paint interior walls

Even though I’m renting my apartment, I still decided to paint a couple walls because I can’t stand the white everywhere. It reminds me of a hospital and I hate it. However, I do like light and bright rooms and I didn’t want it to get too dark in the apartment.

My first instinct was to go with forest green or jade green but that would of made the apartment so dark and small. Then, I was debating about painting a grey green but after sampling some colors, I chose to go with a light grey. I usually like richer colors so I wasn’t too thrilled when the roomie and I chose to go with this but then I thought I could accent with green in the form plants and pillows and I got excited once again.

So today I went to the hardware store to start the tedious task of taping. It’s probably the most hated part of painting and I understand why. You have to be so precise and careful about the lines and pressing on the tape so you don’t get paint underneath it. Its a pain in the bum but when you take your time, it pays off in the end.

I wanted to outline the steps for you all in case someone else want to try their hand at painting instead of hiring someone. My dad always tried to instill that concept in me. If I can do something myself, I should try my hand at it before I pay someone else to do it. It gives you a sense of price and accomplishment when you’re done and you’ll probably come out of it with at least one funny story. After all, we learn best from mistakes, right?

The steps to painting walls is pretty easy. Luckily I am only painting a couple walls this time so I skipped some of these steps, but if you are gonna paint an entire room or even and entire house, follow these steps and you’ll be on your way.

Step 1 — Clean Ceiling and Walls

Remove dust, dirt, and grease spots (which can ruin a smooth finish) with water, a little mild dishwashing detergent, and a cellulose sponge. Rinse ceiling and walls with clean water to remove the soap residue.

Step 2 — Cut in Around Edges

Beginning at the corner of the room, use a two-inch or 2.5-inch trim brush to “cut in,” applying a three-inch strip of coating along the perimeter where the wall and the ceiling meet.

Cut in a section at a time, alternating between cutting in and painting the ceiling to maintain a wet edge and prevent a visible line between the cut-in area and the rest of the ceiling.

Step 3 — Rolling the Ceiling

Before you begin painting the ceiling, remove excess paint on the roller by slowly rolling it back and forth over the ridges of the paint tray.

Start painting near the corner of the room, blending the coating into the ceiling line painted previously. Paint across the width of the ceiling, rather than the length, and make sure to roll in a motion across your body, rather than along your body, to avoid straining your neck and back.

Step 4 — Painting the Walls

Once your ceiling is dry, return to the spot where you began painting. Use a trim brush to carefully cut in along the wall-ceiling line. Extend out two to three inches from windows, doors, and moldings. Once you’ve cut in around an entire wall area, use a roller to fill in the field.

For efficiency, start in the corner of a wall and roll on a three-by-three-foot W pattern, then fill it in without lifting the roller. Continue in sections until you’re finished. Paint one wall at a time.

Step 5 — Painting the Trim

Once the walls are completely dry, place painter’s blue tape where the trim meets the wall. Paint the moldings, baseboard and the door and window frames with a two-inch angled brush. When painting your trim, paint the tops of the doors and windows first and work your way down so that you can remove any runs as you go. Paint your baseboards last.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    David Connolly
    May 17, 2016 at 2:35 am

    When I paint Iuse to cut in frist and it would leave a lighter color than the rolled , I even would turn the roller side ways and get close to the ceiling. I now roll frist then cut in with a inch or inch and half brush, recommended by an Sherwin Willims employee and it works great. How do you quote rooms and hole houses? I’m getting into painting for living and any info would help. Thank You so much

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