fresh paint workWhen my girlfriend and her husband bought a new house recently, they asked if I wouldn’t mind helping them paint. When I arrived and started with “paint talk” they both just looked at me blankly! As I’m partial to painting I just presumed that most people knew how to go about painting a room. A poll of a few more friends told me that no, it wasn’t the case.

While many people would just pay a painter to do the work, for those of you on a budget and who also just want to give it a go, her are a few basic pointers:


It may be fiddly and take a little time but solid prep work will save you in the end.

• Ensure your floor is covered with drop sheets. It’s easier if the room is empty but that’s not always an option so ensure any remaining furniture/light fixtures are also covered.

• Inspect the wall for any holes or diverts that need patching, eg where pictures were hung. Depending on their size, use a quick drying pre-made spakfiller to fill the hole, dragging the filler across the face of the hole to fill and create an even surface flush with the wall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in relation to drying time and sanding.

• Wash the wall with sugar soap. This will remove dust and any built-up grime on the walls and create a better surface for the paint to adhere to. This is especially important if you’re repainting a kitchen – you’d be surprised the grim and grease that builds-up!


Generally speaking, for a plain old interior wall, you would use a roller. This gives you a much more even surface – you won’t see brush marks, and it’s quick. But as a roller won’t reach into the corners of a room or right to the cornice/skirting, you need to CUT-IN.  That is, pre-paint all the places a roller won’t get to!

You can purchase a  tool with little wheels which you can dip into the paint and run along the top edge of the skirting etc and it will give you a straight line. You can also purchase painters tape which you use to tape over a surface you don’t want to get paint on. Tape is a very handy tool especially if you’re starting out. 

I have always preferred to cut-in by hand with a brush. I feel it helps create a line of paint closer to the skirting or ceiling than what the tool can. You need a fairly steady hand but it’s a knack you can quickly pick up. (Most people find it the frustrating part, while I find it addictive. But that’s me…)

The picture below demonstrates what I mean. I’ve painted all the corners of the wall, around the fireplace and along the picture rail in the new grey wall colour. 



Now to the fun bit: filling all the blank spaces.

• Ensure the cutting in paint is dry. If you start rolling over paint that is still wet or tacky, there’s a big chance it will lift it off and you’ll have to do it again.

• Get a good coating of paint on your roller. You don’t want it too thick as it will spit and splat everywhere however by the same token, you don’t want it too thin otherwise coverage will be sparse.

• Start rolling. Don’t be tempted to shoot of in all directions with the roller. Keep your strokes even and in a similar direction. Up and down, up and down. If the wall is large/tall, you will probably have your roller on the end of a pole. This will allow you to do strokes the full height of the wall which is ideal.


More often than not, you will require a second coat. And yes, that includes cutting in again otherwise the wall paint will be denser than the cutting in section. Again, wait for everything to be completely dry before diving in once again.

Depending on the colour you are covering or using, you may require a third coat but generally speaking, two is good.



3 thoughts on “PAINTING 101

  1. smcglinn2014 says:

    Have been inspired to bust out the roller since reading this post and am loving the “bog white” you recommended!! The husband is now convinced that all the other whites are just a money-making conspiracy and he will NEVER be sucked in again by an Almond White, White on White or anything other than a plain ceiling white. Thanks – you’ve saved us a fortune!

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