How to paint your home’s interior like a pro

Painting one or more interior rooms is a (relatively) simple and often cost-effective means to spruce up the look of your home without major remodeling.

Since painting is a labor-intensive job, it tends to be somewhat costly. If you’re willing to invest your own time and sweat, you can paint your rooms yourself and save some cash.

As home jobs go, painting is one of the better ones to approach as a DIY job — but take care with the planning and execution. Here are a few tips for getting the best possible results.

1. Take preparation seriously

Measure twice, cut once, as the old carpenter’s saying goes. Thoroughly examine the walls for cracks or imperfections, then Spackle and sand them. Use painter’s tape rather than masking tape to separate baseboards and floors, and anywhere else that shouldn’t be painted. Don’t skimp on the primer. Even a smooth wall will benefit from a good coat of primer, and you’ll spend less money on paint overall.

2. Select your paint carefully

This is one point where you get what you pay for. Higher-quality paint tends to be thicker and stronger, so it requires fewer coats to reach the optimum shade. This alone more than justifies the higher cost of good paint. Low-quality paint also damages fairly easily, so you’ll be making more touch-ups to scuffs and marks.

Pay attention to the finish. Flat and eggshell finishes are excellent choices for most home interiors, especially high-traffic areas. Semigloss and glossy paints create a beautiful look, but be cautious — the sheen will bring out every imperfection in the surface and paint job.

3. Paint in order

Start with the border, then the edge of the wall, and then paint the rest of the wall. Use long vertical strokes, which will appear more professional. Use a paint roller as much as possible, which creates a smoother, straighter look and stays consistent from wall to wall. For the trim and edges, use a small 3-inch roller.

4. Properly ventilate and light the workspace

Make sure you have enough light and ventilation in the room where you plan to work. It’s also a good idea to replace the lid on your paint can after you fill your tray and move it out of the walking path when you’re not using it. It’s very easy to absent-mindedly trip over a can, especially if there’s insufficient lighting.

5. Take your time

Rush jobs are the bane of painting work. Apply the paint evenly and patiently, and let each coat dry completely before starting a new one.