If you have never painted before, the task can seem daunting. But, with a little planning, and some handy tricks, you can do it yourself without hiring painters! Here is everything you need to know about painting the interior of your home:

Choose Your Finish


  • Soft matte finish with no shine
  • Most Economical
  • Suitable for ceiling or living area walls if the room is not high traffic
  • It is the most forgiving going on, making it suitable for walls with imperfections, but shows soil and finger marks
  • Easy to touch up


  • Light luster
  • Suitable for walls without imperfections
  • Harder to scuff than flat
  • Easy to clean
  • Suitable for high traffic areas like the kitchen or bathroom
  • Easier upkeep than flat


  • Moderate sheen similar to eggshell
  • Suitable for doors and trim
  • Holds up to moisture, so it’s ideal for bathrooms
  • Good for high traffic areas
  • Easier upkeep than flat


  • Polished sheen, shiny
  • Scratch and scuff proof
  • Suitable for kitchen cabinets, doors, and trim
  • Shows defects that are already present, but holds up well

Choose Your Color

Select a range of shades you like at the store. Ask for swatches and tape them to the wall, or get paint chips and tape them to a piece of paper (make sure you use white paper because anything else will affect the perception of the color). Hang them on the wall to see what it’s like.

Next, choose two or three top picks and buy a sample pot or a quart of each. Prime multiple two-foot square spaces and paint one color over each square. Don’t want to try out the paint? You can get sample boards at some retailers who have adhesive backs you can adhere to the wall!

Test the top color by painting beside and directly across from a window, and in one less naturally lit spot, to get a good idea of what it looks like. Wait a few days before choosing for certain so it has time to “grow” on you (or the reverse!).

Before you buy, use the paint manufacturer’s website calculator to determine how much you will need based on your room’s square footage. Round up a little so you won’t run out (and you’ll have some left for touch ups!).

What Else You’ll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Plastic container
  • 9-inch roller
  • Telescoping extension pole (if you want to paint high walls or ceilings without using a ladder)
  • 2-inch synthetic bristle angled brush for cutting in around the trim
  • 1-inch synthetic bristle angled brush for more detailed work
  • Painter’s tape
  • Spackle, putty knife, sandpaper
  • Primer (if needed)
  • Plastic and cloth drop cloths

Before You Paint

Look for a heavy-duty canvas drop cloth that can be used again and again to cover the floor. Look for runners to fit the perimeter of the room. Move furniture to the center of the room. Use inexpensive plastic sheeting to cover furniture (and countertops if in a bathroom or kitchen). Then, discard the sheeting after use. Remove decor, lamps, and light switch covers.

Wash walls with a combo of dish soap and water to remove the residue of grime, oil and such. Rinse with plain water. Patch nail holes and minor cracks with spackle (smooth with sandpaper first before painting or priming).

Tape up the following areas:

  • Ceiling
  • Windows
  • Floors
  • Trim
  • Baseboards
  • Chair rails

Protect light fixtures from paint splatters by wrapping them with plastic wrap. Cover doorknobs with aluminum foil.

Don’t paint directly from the can. Pour paint into a smaller plastic container, insert a brush a couple of inches and tap both sides of the brush against sides to remove excess before painting.

Patched, stained, or deteriorated walls should be primed. You should also use a primer if the new color is much different from the original to ensure it will be uniform.

Get Painting!

Start with the ceiling. Paint the edge with a brush. Pour paint into the roller tray, and move the roller back and forth until coated. Paint about five square feet at a time, overlapping previous strokes. Repeat both steps until the ceiling is finished.

Wait until the ceiling dries and start at the first wall you want to do. Cut in a line just under where the ceiling and wall meet. Then, cut in at windows, doors, and trims.

While the cut-in areas are still wet, paint a “W” shape. Then, without lifting the roller, make vertical strokes–doing so ensures even distribution and blending. Work from top to bottom, and repeat all steps on the next walls.

Wait until walls have dried. Tape up trim and paint the trim with a brush, not the roller, because it tends to splatter. Do the baseboards last.

Do additional coats as needed, and, voila, you’re done! Congrats on your beautiful, freshly painted room!