How to paint walls like a pro

Woman looking at a wall she's painted

If the overall look of your home leaves a bland taste in your mouth, it might be time for a makeover.

Woman looking at a wall she's painted

In all my years of experience with home improvements and DIY projects, I’ve found that the single most popular way to get fast results with minimal effort and expenses is interior painting.

There’s nothing a fresh coat of paint can’t fix, so let’s find out how to paint walls like a pro!

Getting ready: how much paint do you need?

In most cases, a gallon of paint should be enough for about 350 to 400 square feet. If you’re not sure how much you’ll need, this paint calculator will do the maths for you.

Additional tip:

There might be some shade variation, although slight, from can to can, so to ensure a seamless transition, it’s better to resort to “boxing“ – mixing the colours in a bucket – rather than to open a new one in the midst of painting a wall.

Let’s get down to business: how to paint walls the right way

1. Prime first, paint later

If you can’t remember the last time you painted your walls, they’re likely crying out for a primer. A primer is best to use before painting to protect and seal the walls, to ensure that the paint adheres to the surface, and increase its durability. Yes, there are paint-and-primer combos available, but I always recommend separating the two.

Additional tip:

Adding a small amount of paint to the primer will tint it towards your desired shade, and enhance the finishing results.

Woman painting a wall2. Start at the top

Painting a room calls for following a specific order. I suggest you start with the trims and go from there, but you can do it the other way around, too. Once that’s done, move on to painting the ceiling.

The walls should be the last ones to receive a new coat of paint.

Additional tip:

Pick a section of the wall, and use the roller to make a W pattern – go back and forth over that section in the same manner, until you fill it in entirely.

3. Pay attention to the edges

Corners, edges, and areas next to trims always call for a precision level only a brush can provide. However, you want to avoid the difference in textures. So, apply the paint using a brush, and then use a small, 3-inch roller to roll it out before it dries.

4. Skip the tray

If you’re working with a bucket of paint, a painting grid might be your new best friend.


It’s way less messy than a tray.

Just hang the grid inside the bucket, and whenever you dip the roller in paint, run it over the metal screen – it will remove any excess paint, and work it into the nap more evenly. A grid is a metal screen used to remove excess paint from the roller, and to distribute it more evenly.

Additional tip:

To avoid making a mess, make sure you know how to open a paint can, too.

5. Calling it a day

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to clean your brushes, if you plan on using them again tomorrow. Instead, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight. That way, the paint won’t dry, and you’ll be able to continue where you left off first thing in the morning!

Time to enjoy your new living space

I know that painting your living room walls isn’t the most exciting way to spend your weekend, but once the job is done, and everything’s back in its place, you’ll find yourself in an entirely new living space.

And that, in my opinion, is well worth the hassle of learning how to paint walls yourself.