How to paint a wall
Simply changing the color or shade of your walls can go a long way in updating the interior appearance and atmosphere of your home. Painting your walls is also a relatively easy way to freshen up a tired-looking decor without spending huge amounts. And no, you don’t necessarily need to choose bold splashes of neon or bright yellows to transform the mood of a room.
Professional paint application is just as important as the color you choose, but luckily it’s not something you always need to turn to an expert for (well, unless you want to that is). Whether you’re a DIY expert or a total newbie, teach yourself how to paint a wall professionally with a little bit of patience, time and experience. Shake off those nerves, gather your tools and give it a whirl using our mini-guide on how to paint a room.
First up, tools
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- A pot of interior paint in a color that you love
- Paintbrush and paint roller (& cutting in paint brush)
- Primer (unless you're using Lick paint that is. In the main, our paints don't require the use of primer). Learn when to use primer paint here.
- Soap for pre-paint cleaning
- Single room painting kit which includes a biodegradable eco-friendly painting tray
- Painters masking tape for painting clean lines (check out how to use masking tape when decorating)
- Decorators dust sheet to protect your floor and furnishings
- Paint roller extension pole (if you need help reaching those high ceilings)
How to paint a wall: basic prep steps
The key to a seamless finish lies in the prep. Kick off with the simple preparatory steps below and you’re good to go:
Start by clearing your working area to give yourself ample painting space. Put away your favourite furniture items and anything you don’t want to get splatters or splodges on.
Put a protective dust sheet down to save your flooring and any furniture that’s too heavy to move. Newspapers and bedsheets won’t be sufficient here, but either a canvas or a plastic drop sheet should work equally well.
Examine your wall for any flakey areas or little bumps. Use filler and sealant to fill up any cracks or holes or a scraper to even bumps and flaking paint. Don’t skip this step if you want to achieve a smooth and professional finish.
Next, get your painting surface ready. Clean your walls thoroughly but gently using a soap and water mixture. Wipe clean and leave to dry.
Once the surfaces are dry, use painter’s masking tape (the best tape for painting) or good old fashioned masking tape to cover any sockets, switches and skirting boards in the area (check out more about the best paint for skirting boards and how to paint skirting boards). Line up the edges of the tape with precise care to avoid a lopsided paint job.
Time to prime. Apply a smooth and even base coat of primer using a roller. Work into smaller crevices using the tip of your paintbrush. Leave to dry for a few hours before starting to paint.
(Tip: if you happen to be using a Lick paint, then 1) great choice, and 2) you can skip the primer step - our paint has been carefully developed to ensure you only need a few coats, and no primer base either).
How to paint a wall: painting instructions
Start by stirring your paint thoroughly for an even texture.
First, use a paintbrush to tackle the edges and corners - this is known as cutting in (learn how to cut in paint). Load enough paint to cover the brush halfway up the bristles. Tap your brush on the side of the can and get rid of any excess paint before brushing. Paint brushes are especially useful when painting radiators (read more to learn how to paint a radiator and what paint to use on radiators).
Next, get to work on the main surface areas in the middle using a roller. Dip your roller into the paint can and start to paint your wall in ‘W’ or ‘M’ motions for even distribution.
Leave the first coat to dry for a couple of hours before you apply another coat. Most walls shouldn’t require more than two coats of paint. Remove the tape from the wall whilst the second coat is still drying.
Leave to dry for at least 24 hours and remove your dust sheets to reveal your brand new wall.
Et voilà- you’re done!
What to watch out for
As is life; things don’t always go to plan - and the same can be said for when you’re painting a wall. But there are a few things you can do to ensure a stress-free painting experience.
Stash upholstered items far away from your work area to skip the stress of dealing with deeply embedded stains.
Avoid the temptation to skip the priming stage if you want a vivid and consistent finish, especially if you’re painting over a darker color (unless you’re using Lick products that it - in which, check our our paint information - in the main you won’t need to use primer).
Keep your work area well-ventilated to minimise drying time.