Interior Painting

Beginners Tips for Interior Painting

A man and woman painting a wall blue

Getting ready to give your space a new paint job? Embarking on an interior painting project can be an exciting yet daunting task, especially for beginners with little to no experience. From picking the right paint to properly preparing your walls, there's a lot that goes into this DIY project if you want finished results that look professional and polished.

Before you get started on your home improvement project, take a deep dive into this article from the professional painters at Horner Painting to discover the foundational techniques you'll need as well as a handful of quick tips and tricks that will help improve your painting game and ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.  

Important Equipment, Tools, and Supplies

In order to finish a project with professional-quality results, you need to use professional-quality tools (or at least the right types of tools). For a superb interior painting job you’ll need:

  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint Rollers
  • Spackle
  • Scraper
  • Sanding Paper
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Drop Cloths
  • Ladder
  • Paint Can Opener
  • Stir Sticks
  • Paint Tray
  • Safety Glasses

Make a Plan

Making a plan is a critical first step. Start by establishing the scope of the project: Are you focusing on certain aspects like trim or on certain rooms? What preparatory work will be required? How much stylistic change are you planning to make?

Once you have a good idea of what needs to be done, planning will include the gathering of the appropriate and required equipment and mapping out the timeline of work until completion. Of course you can begin testing colors, but in general there should be no brushing or rolling or painting of any kind until a plan is in place. Starting before a plan is created could lead to ‘biting off more than you can chew’ situation in regards to workload, and you want to avoid affecting more of your house than you need to with an intended project.

Ask for Expert Opinions on Aesthetics

Part of the planning process should include consultation with experts. Not everyone is an interior designer, and it’s usually a wise choice to run your plan by someone with experience in painting projects, color theory, and design. Aesthetic choices such as what room, what color, and what method can be solved with the help of a professional, and so can logistical choices such as equipment and quantity of product.

A small tip for beginners is that oftentime, you don’t know what you don’t know. “Winging it” on a project with little to no experience is the quickest way to make costly or troublesome mistakes.

Test Different Colors Before Committing

Are you convinced that your new room must be painted blue? Good for you having the confidence to know what you want, but what type or shade of blue is perfect? How does your choice look in natural sunlight, under lamplight, or without any direct light at all?

It’s possible to become even more confident with your choice of color by testing other options out as well. Try a couple of different shades, see how they look with different types of lighting, and select the one that best suits you. When it comes to purchasing paint, it’s critical to know that every can of paint usually comes in a slightly different shade even though they may be marketed as the same. An easy way to overcome this is to purchase, for example, 4 total 1-gallon buckets of paint, then instead of using one at a time, combine them all into a larger 5-gallon container and mix them, ensuring that the whole project will have the same shade.

Prepare the Room and Walls

Interior painting isn’t as easy as getting paint from the bucket onto its intended destination. It requires a fair amount of preparatory work in order to get the best results.

You should start by first cleaning your painting surface (so it’s free of dust and dirt), removing accessories (such as doorknobs, lamps, rugs), applying painting tape along the borders of the paint area, covering furniture and floors, repairing and filling any damages (such as holes in the wall), and applying a coat of primer if your chosen paint doesn’t already include it. While you might be tempted to skip over some of these steps, taking thet time to do the proper preparation will save you a great many headaches and the final result will definitely be worth it.

Use the Right Painting Technique

When you walk into a room, it is usually obvious whether it was painted by a professional or by an amateur. This is due to the fact that most inexperienced people will paint using incorrect techniques. Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind.

  • Work top to bottom: Paint may drip or run, so by starting at the highest point on a particular ‘canvas’. This is the best way to ensure your hard work doesn’t get ruined by future paint application.
  • Paint edges first: Pros always paint the edges, corners, and areas around door and window frames first. This allows the painter to tape off just these areas instead of the entire surface of the wall. Don’t forget to use the roller in these areas either; just using a brush will make the edges stand out with an uneven texture relative to the portions that had a roller as well.
  • Use the right amount of paint: Brushes should only be dipped half an inch and rollers should only ever be half covered in paint. Too much paint can lead to uneven coats, streaks, and blotches.
  • Use proper painting techniques: If you’re using a roller, apply paint in a ‘W’ shape, then fill in the gaps without removing the roller from the wall. Brushes should be used in light, even strokes while working continuously back to the wet edge.

Mistakes to Avoid

If you’re not careful or if you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to run into common interior painting mistakes. Sometimes mistakes are minimal while others can ruin an entire day’s work, so be sure to avoid the following mistakes:

  • Skipping preparatory work
  • Ignoring lighting and room position
  • Not cleaning the painting surface
  • Forgetting primer
  • Bad technique leading to uneven application
  • Overlooking aesthetics, color choice, style, shades, and overmatching
  • Not getting help when you need it

The Bottom Line

Interior painting is a standard duty for homeowners. Whether you want to paint for design purposes or because years have passed and it's time to give a room some attention, painting should be done correctly and to the highest professional standards so that it looks its best and has the longest lifespan possible.
Interior painting is a tricky chore because taking it on as a DIY project may seem like an easy way to save a few dollars. However, the experience and know-how of a painter goes a very long way in determining the quality of the final result. We certainly hope our tips help you rise above a beginners level, but if you need some extra help with advice, planning, or painting itself, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Horner Painting!

Working with Horner Painting was a great experience. They transformed the exterior of my house and exceeded my expectations.

John Santos

Enjoy the peace of mind of working with a reliable team.