How to Paint a Room Like a Pro

Want to paint a room like a pro? Follow Danny’s tips! (DepositPhotos)

Painting a room is one of the most common do-it-yourself projects around the home. While it’s not that difficult to do, it helps to know the tricks of the trade on how to go about it before breaking out a roller or brush.

When painting a room, the work should be done in the following order:

  • Prep: Clean surfaces and repair any defects.
  • Prime: Where needed, prime the walls and trim.
  • Caulk: Fill any gaps or cracks with caulk.
  • Ceiling: Paint ceiling first to prevent drips on walls.
  • Walls: Apply paint to walls using a roller.
  • Trim: Paint trim last to avoid roller splatter.
  • Cleanup: Clean brushes and rollers, remove drop cloths, and replace furnishings.

Painting Preparation


Interior walls are usually painted with latex paint and can usually be repainted without priming unless the existing walls are:

  • Painted a dark or vibrant color.
  • Have stains, grease, or other hard to cover marks.
  • Defects in the drywall have been patched.
  • Previously painted with oil-based paint.

In these cases, prime first with a stain blocking primer. To cover repairs, you may be able to spot prime without having to prime the entire room.

Before painting, shine a bright light along the surface of the wall to check for dents or defects, and fill them using a putty knife and spackling compound. Once the spackling has dried, sand the surface smooth. On rough surfaces dab the patched area with paint on a sponge or rag to mimic the texture of the wall.


In older homes, interior trim was painted with oil-based enamel, but improvements in the durability of latex enamel now make it the popular choice. Before painting over oil-based paint with latex, it’s important to prime the surface so the new paint will adhere properly.

To determine if the old paint is oil-based or latex, rub it with a rag dampened with denatured alcohol. If the paint comes off on the rag, it’s latex. If not, it’s oil-based.


When caulking gaps or cracks:

  • Remove loose old caulking with a utility knife, scraper, or putty knife.
  • Use a good caulking gun that can stop and start the flow of caulking easily.
  • A quality acrylic latex caulk works best for caulking trim in most rooms.
  • For high moisture areas, such as kitchens and baths, use a caulking that is mold and mildew-resistant.
  • 100% silicone caulk should only be used on surfaces that will not be painted, such as between the tub and tile in a bathroom.
  • Apply caulk only to dry surfaces and when the temperature is over 50° F.