How to Paint a Room

Updated: May 22, 2019

#howtopaint #howto #paint #paintcolour #paintcolor

Think about your project as 4 phases: plan, prep, do, enjoy.


Think about the look and feel you want from the room. Do some research if you're going for a specific interior design style. Even if you're doing one interior room now, consider the entire house. You can work out an entire colour palette now and work room by room as time and funds allow.

Measure up and use a paint calculator to determine quantities required. Check what supplies you already have against the supply list, before going shopping.

You can download your checklist and a shopping list here

Some FAQs are here

Decide on paint colour. It's recommended you do use a test pot and paint 2 coats on a larget piece of card. Look at it in different areas of the room - near window, near flooring - during morning, day, evening and under artificial lighting before making your final decision. Paints can look a lot different in your environment as opposed to a small colour chip in store.

Set aside a day or two to complete the interior project. When you won't be feeling scattered or rushed. If you've got younger children - think about getting a babysitter for the day. For exterior projects, check the weather reports. Consider using a professional contractor if you feel it's too big a job. Your safety with heights also needs to be considered.

If you need to match an existing colour - but don't know the name or brand - try and get a sample somehow - about a flat one 1 inch or 2.5cm diametre, the larger the better - and take it to a supplier who can colour match eg Valspar Colour Matching System.

Selecting the right colour

This often takes the most time - but don't fret. You may find these blogs helpful.

4 min read Can't pick the right paint colour?

3 min read Understanding the Basics of Colour

3 min read Advice from a Colour Consultant

1 min read Making it Easy

Remember, even if you're just working in one room it pays to consider the entire home to get the right 'flow' and feel. You can do the other rooms at another time. But a little foresight means you don't have to go back and repaint room one!

These blogs about 'What is Your Interior Style' may also be helpful as some styles work within limited color palettes. If you're after a certain style there's plenty of info.

If you allow the time, this stage can be great fun. But if it gets overwhelming, thats where we can help

If you like to follow the trends, here's whats happening in 2019.

Preparation of the space

Its easier to watch a video than explain. This video is based in USA but the theory is the same anywhere. A 15 minute watch now will make your life easier.

Valspar video 1 minute watch

What type of paint?

This doesn't need to be complex.

Quick lesson. There are basically 2 types of paint. Water based or oil based (enamels).

Use oil-based (enamels) on areas that handle movement or get touched, knocks eg skirting boards, cupboards, furniture, windows, window trims and doors. There are also some very good water-based enamels on the market now, so check with your supplier.

Use water based paint on all other surfaces eg walls.

If you're painting a kitchen or bathroom, you'll need the right paint to handle the moisture and has mould inhibitors.

Primers or not?

Tell your supplier what room you're working in and what type of surface you're painting, including its condition (eg new gib, painted already). They'll be able to tell you if you need to use a special primer, undercoat or not. Sometimes you can get away with a clean only - others need more attention. Check as you could save a lot of time and money. It helps if you have a photo on your smartphone to start the conversation.

What type of paint finish?

General rule: the greater the shine - the more durable finish.

Consider durability, washability & shine. Shinier finishes show off imperfections a little more that a matt/flat or satin.


  • Ceiling Flat - hides imperfections

  • Matt or Flat - offers the most coverage because it has the most pigment. The increased coverage can save you time and money in the painting process. Grime can be tougher to remove. Use in rooms that won't be disturbed by children or pets, such as offices, studies, master bedrooms

  • Eggshell - middle gound. Has a little luster but essentially a flat effect. Great to cover imperfections and works in areas that don't see many bumps/scuffs. Use in living rooms and dining areas.

  • Satin - look velvety and have a luster that is both durable and easy to keep clean – a good choice for highly trafficked rooms and areas. Touch-ups can be trickier, since the luster in the paint reveals brush strokes and roller flaws if applied incorrectly. Ideal for hallways, foyers, kids' bedrooms and family rooms due to its higher durability.

Tip: To keep it simple If painting entire interior. If you're painting the entire home one colour - don't get too fussy with different finishes on different walls. Just select one type for all the walls - remember it just the kitchen/bathroom that need a paint that handles moisture. Ask your supplier if they have new brands on the market, that mean you can use one paint on the walls throughout entire home (ie including kitchen/bathroom).

  • Semi Gloss - for areas of the home that see moisture, grease or lots of activity, including bathrooms, kitchens, playrooms and mudrooms

  • High Gloss - areas that get touched all the time, like trims, doors and cabinets

  • Kitchen & Bathroom Ceiling Matt

  • Kitchen & Bathroom Matt

  • Kitchen & Bathroom Satin


Prep and paint videos

Change in a Day - it's possible to change a room in a day with a bit of planning

More How to?

If you're a more detailed person, watch this How to Paint Interior | Easy as Video Mitre 10 | an 8 minute watch includes prep and how to paint

If you're a real beginner, get a cuppa and watch this 18 minute video which gives some great down to earth advice and extra tips.

NB This video is for USA customers but provides thorough general tips


So to summarise for you, here's the run down.

1 Plan

Complete any planning or measurement work on your space, such as choosing colors, type of paint finish, using a paint calculator to determine the amount of paint needed and preparing your supply list. Remember choosing a colour can include purchasing a test pot (maybe even 2 or 3) and looking at this over a 24 hour period to help make the final decision.

So don't be surprised if you make 2 trips to your supplier. One to get supplies including test pot. Two to purchase paint. It's a good time to check in and get their expert advice.

2 Prep

Complete all prep work (taping, sanding, putty, filling holes, moving furniture, placing drop cloths etc)

4 Do

Apply the primer if required and paint

5 Enjoy

You'll be amazed at the difference.

If you would like advice on how to select the best colours for your project we can help.

Book an appointment now


Wellington | New Zealand

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