DIY Home Painting Step-by-Step

Ever had the inclination of doing a little painting around the house? You’re not alone. We here at have put together an INTERIOR Painting DIY Walkthrough, which will make the process go much more smoothly. Here’s what you need to know before you start, during the process, and after you finish. It’s not easy, but if you have a creative side, and a bit of patience, it may be right up your alley.

Before You Start…

Ok… let’s be real, we’ve all seen the commercials of a man or woman aimlessly rolling paint all over a wall in every direction. We all know that’s not how it works. But, if you follow the tips described below we can help turn your soon to be nightmare into a fun and creative experience.

However, there are some things you need to know before you go to the paint store. It’s going to take longer than you think. You’re probably going to be on a ladder, or at least a step stool, and you’re probably going to spill a little paint. If you’re OK with that, you’re ready to get started!



Things you will need before you paint include, but are not limited to:

  • Paint Brush (ideally one for each type of paint)
  • Roller Cage/Sleeve (the two parts of your roller set up)
  • Extension Pole (makes things much easier)
  • Roller Tray (this is where the paint goes)
  • Tape (green for most purposes/blue if you want to tape off sharp paint lines)
  • Drop cloths to cover your floor
  • Ladder/Step Stool
  • Stir Stick for the paint (any good paint shop should provide)
  • Plastic wrapping to wrap your brush/roller between use

Paint and Primer

For this article, I’m not going to write about color consultation (advice on which colors you should pick and which work well together).  Rather, just know that there are basically two kinds of paint; oil based and latex (water-based). 99% of home-owners will be painting in latex (water-based), as oil-based paints are toxic, hard to work with, and take between 4-8 hours to dry to the touch. Just remember that primer is generally for bare wood and covering up stains. There’s a good chance you won’t need it.

I’m not going to go into too many specifics about paint, as there’s just way too much to know, and your local paint store representative should be well equipped to inform you. That being said, realize that the actual paint store will be much more knowledgeable than say, Home Depot or Walmart. If you’re looking for information, it’s usually best to go to the pros, not a home hardware store.


For your practical applications you will be considering three options for sheen: Semi-Gloss, Satin/Eggshell, and Flat/Matte.

Semi-gloss is easily and wrongly assumed to be much less shiny than it is. Semi gloss paint is actually quite shiny, very durable, and, for most people painting their bedroom, applied to baseboards, crown moldings, doors and door casings.

Eggshell/Satin paints are typically for the walls. They provide enough durability to be able to be washed with a rag without effecting the paint (after a few days of drying, of course).

A Flat/Matte finish is typically applied to ceilings. It is not durable enough to be washed with a rag easily, but is by far the easiest paint to work with. It has no sheen, so you won’t see lines from the paint roller, at all. A matte finish is typically applied to the ceiling throughout the house, excluding bathrooms, as bathrooms require a more durable paint like an eggshell/satin because of the moisture build up from taking showers.  

Ok, so I’m going to try and break this down in a step-by-step process to save you time and money. I’m going to also lay out an example: Your ceilings are already finished and you just intend to paint the walls, doors and baseboards. This is your typical homeowner paint job.  Here we go….

Step 1

Lay a drop cloth and make a little paint station with all of your gear to keep it as organized as possible. Remove any electric socket casings; simply remove the one or two screws and keep the casings and screws together in a ziploc bag.  Take out your wall paint and give it a good stir with your stir stick. Keep your paintbrush in your hand before you pour the paint into the tray, as you’re going to want to clean the edge of the paint can with the brush after you pour. Fill up the tray, but don’t overload it with paint. 

Step 2 (if necessary)

Paint all baseboards, doors, door casings, or crown moldings once (1 coat), typically with an off-white semi-gloss paint. Talk with the people working at your paint store for a good color consultation. Allow at least two hours to dry before moving on to step 3.

Step 3


If you don’t plan on painting your baseboards this next step is essential, but I like to do it, either way. Tape off the top off your baseboards so that no paint will drip onto the baseboards. Don’t tape onto the wall. Just to the top of the baseboard itself. If you’re using blue tape this will actually be your paint line, so make sure the tape is as straight across the top of the baseboard as possible.

Step 4


Dip your roller into the paint. Roll it on the tray and start rolling the paint onto the wall. You want your roller wet enough to get a lot of paint on the wall, but not so much that it’s dripping off your roller.

Make sure the paint is being applied evenly. For a right-handed person, you will typically be rolling up and down, from the left side of the wall to the right side. Once you’ve completed rolling the walls, wait until the paint is dry to the touch.

Step 5


Grab your paintbrush! This will be the most time consuming and technical part of the process. It’s not easy, but if you have an attention to detail, combined with a steady hand, you should be able to pull it off.

Now that the wall has been rolled out once, you can clearly see where you need to do your brushwork. There’s going to be gaps in your corners, along the baseboards, and along the ceilings. Make sure you do around the doors and windows, too.

When brushing (cutting) along the ceiling line, try to brush a straight line that rides onto the ceiling one or two centimeters. That’s right, on the actual ceiling, but almost not at all (just a hair). Why? Well, no one can brush a perfect straight line, but your semi-straight line will look much sharper if it’s touching the ceiling, rather than falling 2cm below the ceiling line. It’s all just a matter of perspective.

When painting above the baseboards and alongside door casings it’s going to be best to use the blue tape that will not let the paint ‘bleed’ through onto the other side. You could try this along the ceiling line, too, if you don’t have a steady hand. If things don’t go perfectly, don’t sweat it, there’s always time for touch-ups at the end.

You need to do all of the brushwork twice (two coats). After that, you’re onto the rolling the final coat of paint onto the walls! Same as before, roll out the walls with a nice even amount of paint.

Step 6

Now your walls should be finished, minus a few touch ups here and there. Your doors baseboards and crown moldings should have one coat. Now it’s time to do a second coat on the trim (doors, baseboards, crown moldings etc…). Once you’ve finished that… Tada! You’ve just finished painting your room. Let all of the paint dry and before moving onto the touch ups.



When your masterpiece is finished don’t forget to give yourself a nice pat on the back, it’s not easy, and remember you can do anything you put your mind to!!!

A few important reminders –

    • The paint will harden/cure over 48 hours, before this the paint will easily stick to paintings, electrical casings and so on.
  • Remember to wrap your brush in plastic between use if you don’t want to wash it every time.
  • Open a window while painting, if possible.
  • Control the climate of the room you’re painting so that it’s not so hot or the paint will dry too quickly and make things more difficult, generally speaking.
  • Please, discard your leftover paint and supplies responsibly.


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