How to Paint a Room
Clear the Room
Before you even think about dipping a brush in a can of paint, give yourself plenty of space to work by clearing the room of furniture, curtains, artwork and anything else that needs to remain paint-free. If removing all of the furniture from the room is impractical, then push the larger pieces to the center and cover everything with canvas or plastic tarps. Avoid using old bed sheets if you can; spilled paint can soak through the cloth to damage furniture underneath.
Smooth the Way
Before you start to paint, remove all light fixtures, doorknobs, light-switch and electrical-outlet covers, picture hangers and curtain rods. If there are holes or other dings in the walls or woodwork, repair them with Spackle or wood putty and sand them smooth. If any of the old paint is peeling, use a putty knife and, if necessary, sandpaper to eliminate rough and uneven edges so that the new paint goes on smoothly.
Clean Surfaces First
To make sure you get the high-quality paint job you want for every room in your home, grab a bucket and sponge and wash down walls and woodwork to remove surface dirt and grease. If you're painting over a high-gloss finish, you'll need to clean it with trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a commercial deglosser to prep the glossy surface so the new paint will go on smoothly and cover well. Although it may seem as though all this prep work is adding extra time to your project, cleaning surfaces in advance will make the paint adhere better and give you a long-lasting finish, saving you a lot of frustration and repainting time down the road.
Mask for Best Results
Use painter's tape to mask around doors and windows, along wood trim, and in other areas where you don't want paint to go. Painter's tape is a colored paper tape (usually blue or green) with a special adhesive that al-lows the tape to go on easily and come off cleanly, without leaving any marks or damaging the underlying sur-face. Although regular masking tape is slightly less expensive, it is also harder to remove and more likely to leave unwanted residue or to pull paint off your walls and woodwork.
Choose the Right Paint
Latex paint is almost always better than oil-based paint for indoor painting projects. Among other things, wa-ter-based latex paint is easier to work with than oil-based paint, and much easier to clean up. Removing latex paint from brushes, rollers and roller pans is a snap -- just wash with soap and warm water -- whereas cleaning up after using oil-based paint requires cleaning solvents that may lead to a second-stage cleaning process and potential disposal problems. So unless the room is already painted with oil-based paint, choose latex.
Start with the Best Finish
When it comes to paint, finish follows function. Paint comes in a variety of finishes such as flat, eggshell, semi-gloss and high-gloss, so make sure you choose the best finish for your room. For spaces that are subject to sig-nificant moisture and heat such as kitchens and bathrooms, or those that are more likely to invite sticky finger-
prints and other surface grime, such as children's bedrooms, an eggshell or semi-gloss finish is your best bet. Many paint companies also make washable flat paint, which looks richer in living rooms, dining rooms and fam-ily rooms. High-gloss paint makes a bold statement, so use it sparingly or to achieve an artistic effect.
Use Quality Equipment
Cheap paint brushes may seem like a good deal when you're at the store, but they tend to lose bristles, so un-less you don't mind picking loose fibers off your walls or out of the paint can, buy medium-quality brushes or better. By investing in good-quality materials, you'll help to ensure a better result.
Vent the Room
Even paint with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) has fumes and an aroma that can bring on a headache or leave you feeling dizzy. When you're painting, turn on any nearby exhaust fans and open windows to ensure good ventilation, disperse potentially harmful chemicals, and keep the air you're breathing as fresh and clean as possible.
Paint "cut-in" areas first - any spaces where detailed brushwork is called for such as corners, along baseboards, and around doors and windows. It's the most time-consuming and physically demanding part of painting, so get it done early when your energy level is highest. That way, when you get to the roller, you'll be able to work fast and see a lot of progress.
Use steady, even strokes when you paint. Move your brush or roller in one direction and keep the pressure steady. This will help you apply an even coat that looks like the work of a pro. If you're repainting in the same color, or putting a dark color over a lighter one, you may be able to get away with just one coat.