Painting Made Easy: Interior Painting Tips

Danny Lipford painting over a dark color on a wall.

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Interior painting is one of the most popular do-it-yourself projects, so we’re getting the lowdown from painting professionals on what to look for when choosing paint and painting supplies, as well as how to patch and paint walls and paneling.

Choosing Paint and Painting Tools

When painting walls use 100% acrylic latex paint with either a flat or eggshell sheen. While colors are truer in flat paint, eggshell paint is easier to clean.

Quality paint roller frames and covers, such as lamb’s wool rollers, do a much better job and last longer than inexpensive roller rollers and covers. A thin cigar roller works best for blending patched areas on a wall.

Paint tray and roller.Natural bristle paintbrushes have traditionally been considered the best choice for applying oil-based paint and synthetic bristle brushes for latex, but high quality synthetic brushes are now available that are compare favorably with natural bristles and can be used for both oil-based and latex paints.

Brushes with an epoxy filled ferrule, such as the Proform Picasso, make brush cleaning easier and reduce dripping when working overhead.

Interior Painting Tips

Start by lightly sanding the walls and trim to remove any gloss or imperfections. Wipe down the walls with a damp cloth or mop to remove any sanding dust.

Paint the ceiling first, followed by the trim, and finally the walls. When rolling the walls, start by cutting in the corners and borders with a brush.

Roll the wall in an “N” shape (up, down, and up), to spread out the paint. Make sure the paint is the same thickness throughout to prevent flashing.

Watch these videos to find out more:

Rolling stain blocking primer over a dark wall.

Painting Over Dark Colors

When painting over dark wall colors:

  1. Sand glossy paint with 200-grit sandpaper to dull the sheen.
  2. Wipe the walls down with a damp rag to remove any sanding dust.
  3. Use painter’s tape to cover baseboards and trim.
  4. Apply a coat of stain blocking latex primer evenly to the walls.
  5. Allow the primer to dry for the recommended time.
  6. Follow the primer with two coats of wall paint.

Painting Paneling

To paint over wood paneling:

  1. Sand paneling with 100-grit sandpaper to remove the gloss.
  2. Wipe the paneling down with a damp cloth to remove sanding dust.
  3. If desired, fill the paneling grooves with joint compound.
  4. Allow the joint compound to dry, and apply additional coats if needed.
  5. After dry, sand the joint compound down smooth with the paneling
  6. Wipe sanding dust off the paneling with a damp cloth.
  7. Prime the paneling with a shellac-based stain blocking primer.
  8. Apply two coats of wall paint, using a 3/4″ nap roller to add texture.

Find out more:

Applying joint compound to patch hole in drywall.

Patching a Hole in Textured Drywall

To patch a hole in drywall that has a textured surface:

  1. Apply a self-adhesive patch over the drywall hole.
  2. Cover the patch with joint compound, and smooth it with a drywall knife.
  3. Allow the joint compound to dry.
  4. Apply a second coat of joint compound, and allow it to dry.
  5. Sand the joint compound smooth with the surrounding wall surface.
  6. Apply spray texture to the patched wall to match the existing wall.
  7. Allow the texture to dry, then prime the patch.
  8. Apply two coats of wall paint to the entire wall.

Watch our video on How to Repair a Hole in Textured Drywall

Repairing a Water Stained Ceiling

To repair a water stained ceiling:

  1. Make sure the leak has been repaired and the ceiling is dry.
  2. Spray the stain with a few light coats of a stain blocking paint made for covering water stains on ceilings, such as Kilz Upshot.

To find out more, watch How to Cover Over a Water Stain on a Ceiling.

Other Tips from This Episode

Covering Light Fixtures When Painting

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Covering Light Fixtures

To prevent paint drips and splatters from getting on hanging light fixtures, cover the fixtures before painting the room. Start by removing the bulbs from the light fixture. Next unscrew the canopy trim ring at the ceiling, and lower it down. Finally, cover the fixture with a large plastic trash bag, and seal it above the fixture using a twist tie. (Watch This Video)

Sylvania LED Wireless Linear Task Light

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Wireless LED Linear Task Light

These LED task lights from Sylvania are battery powered with a self-adhesive base for easy installation. The powerful energy efficient light produces 30 times the light of most push-on lights. In addition the light turns itself off after 30 minutes to extend the life of the batteries. The Sylvania LED Wireless Linear Task Light is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Painting Plastic

Ask Danny Lipford:
Painting Plastic

When painting plastic start by lightly sanding the surface, then wipe off any sanding dust. Apply several light coats of spray paint that’s specially made for painting plastic. Rather than trying to spray paint accent colors on plastic, apply spray paint to a paper plate, and use an artist’s brush to paint the contrasting colors on by hand. (Watch Video)


  1. Danny, I LOVE YOUR SHOW! I am a widow and wheelchair bound All your tips are so helpful! I am in the first house I ever owned, I love to paint and update my house I just watched your show that shows the remodeled kitchen. I was wondering if there is a way to change my kitchen cabinets without painting. I would like to keep the wood showing. Is it possible? I really just want to change the look. Is there a way to cover them with a wood veneer? I am open to any options you can offer.
    Thanks Barbie in Alaska

  2. I was just introduced to your show, and I LOVE it!

    In your “Painting made easy” episode, reference was made to a paint brush that had a solid core so it was easier to clean and would not drip when extended overhead. Unfortunatly, I could not tell what brand it was nor did I gather enough information to be able to find it on the internet. I asked a friend of mine who is a contractor, and he was not aware of such a product either, but is very excited for me to locate it. Can you tell what the brand was and/or retailers where it might be purchased?

    Thank you for your assistance! I look forward to watching the next episode!

    Stephanie Lynn

    • Hi Stephanie,
      I’ve added the name of the paintbrush with an epoxy filled ferrule that was discussed on the show to the article above. Thanks for the feedback!


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