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Ultimate Guide to Painting a Room

Painting a room might seem straightforward, but there is a lot of thought, preparation, and skill involved in painting a room smoothly, with full coverage. There are endless possibilities of colors, but the color you choose is highly dependent on your style and preferences. However, different paint sheens are often recommended depending on the room you are painting. 

You should use high-gloss or semi-gloss finishes in kitchens and bathrooms because they are easiest to clean and repel water better than other finishes.

Satin or eggshell finishes are best suited for living rooms and hallways because they are durable and clean easily.

Flat or matte finishes are recommended for ceilings and bedrooms because they are typically the most affordable and cover the smoothest.

Most high-quality paints offer paint and primer in one. But, if you are painting new drywall, surfaces with smoke stains, or walls with dark paint on them, you will likely need a base coat of oil or latex-based primer. When buying paint, make sure you know the square footage of your room before heading to Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore. Their associates will make sure you have enough paint and all the materials you need to complete the job.

Painting Materials

Tools & Materials

  • Dropcloth/plastic sheeting
  • Painter’s tape
  • Putty knife
  • Drywall putty/spackling
  • Fine-grain sanding block
  • Sponge/damp rags
  • Screwdriver
  • Stepladder
  • Stir sticks
  • Primer (optional)
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Roller frame
  • 3/8″ nap roller covers
  • Paint tray

Prep Work

  1. Move any furniture either out of the room or to the center of the room, as far from the walls as possible. 
  2. Use painter’s tape or masking tape to secure dropcloths over your floors and furniture to protect them.
  3. Make sure your walls are clean and remove any nails, wallhangings, and switch plates.
  4. Use a putty knife to fill holes and cracks with spackling. Allow it to dry (1-2 hours for quick-dry or 24 hours for regular spackling). 
  5. Use fine-grain sandpaper to smooth any spackling and bumps in the current paint coat.
  6. Cover your trim, outlets, and light switches with painter’s tape.
  7. Make sure you have a damp sponge and/or plenty of rags on hand. 
  8. Layout all of your materials on your drop cloth, give your paint a good stir, and get ready to start painting!
Patching before painting a wall


If you are painting your ceilings and walls, you should start with the ceilings because you will likely get smudges and drops of paint on your walls. Even if you are going to paint over it the drops on your walls, you should try to wipe them up as quickly as possible so that it doesn’t leave bumps or show through the new paint with an uneven color on your walls. 


To paint as smoothly and with the best coverage possible, paint walls one at a time. Start by using a paintbrush to make thick, long paint strokes along the cornice area (where walls meet the ceilings). Then using your roller, work from top to bottom, blending out the paintbrush strokes while coving the wall. As you near baseboards, window frames, and door frames use your paintbrush again to make thick, long strokes along all of the trim. Be sure to use your sponge or rag to wipe up any paint that you get on your trim as your work. Your roller strokes should be V or W shaped to prevent leaving clear paint stroke lines on the walls. You should also try not to use too much pressure when rolling your paint. While you will get a thicker coat of paint on by really pushing the roller to the wall, you will wear out your hands and ruin your roller covers more quickly. You will likely need to apply more than one coat of paint anyways, so keep your roller strokes relatively light.

Paint strokes to smoothly paint a room

Wait Time

You should wait a minimum of 2 hours for your paint to dry before applying a second coat. Having good, bright lighting is important throughout your painting project, but is especially necessary for your final coat and touchups. As soon as the job is finished and your paint is dry, you should remove all of your painter’s tape. If you remove it too soon you risk pulling up small areas of the new paint, but wait too long and small pieces of tape can get stuck under your paint to your trim. Seal any leftover paint cans, clean up your work area, reinstall your switch plates, and step back to admire your work.

Which paint is right for your home or business?

Anyone can do it. But not everyone can do it well or wants to spend several days painting a room. If you would like to have professionals paint your home, contact Clayton Hoover & Sons. You can visit to start your free estimate and schedule a time to meet with our contractors. If you need help choosing the right color, we can refer you to a professional consultant at CE Lee in South Bend, IN.

Call For A Free Estimate 574-288-8630