Sharing my 48 tried and true amazing painting tips to help you achieve the results of an experienced interior designer. Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or just starting out, there is something for everyone in this post. This will give you confidence and remove frustration when painting a room. Painting can actually be fun and you will have the tools you need to paint a room like a professional decorator.
How much paint can transform a space is often surprisingly undervalued! Painting can be an inexpensive, rewarding, and transformational way to express your creativity and add a personal touch to your home decor in a weekend.
Paint can make a space feel fresh and bring cohesiveness to a home creating a calming environment. I have seen amazing transformations happen with a gallon of paint.
Need help and want to have a positive experience while achieving the best results in your space? Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced painter, here are 48 tips to get you on your way to painting a room like a professional decorator!
How to Paint a Room Like a Professional Decorator
1. How to Pick the PERFECT Paint Color like a designer
- Whatever you do when choosing a color DO NOT choose it in the store. Always look at the color swatch IN THE ROOM that you will be painting and at various times of the day. Many things can affect how the paint appears in a specific space. Paint color can change depending on the amount of light coming into the room, the flooring, and even change depending on the number of trees nearby.
- Once you narrow down your selection, I recommend grabbing samples of the color or colors to try in the room. They are only about $5 and give you a better idea of what the color will look like vs. those small little 2″ swatches. You don’t want to buy the paint for a room and find out you hate it after you spend all that money on it.
- It is really useful to have a paint deck on hand like a professional decorator instead of running to the store every time you want to look at colors. I use mine alllll the time!
- If you find a color you love in a room but wish it was slightly lighter or darker, you can ask the paint counter to mix your color at a specific % lighter or darker. I had paint color mixed at 50% in my daughter’s nursery – meaning the color would now be 50% lighter than the color on the swatch and it turned out PERFECT!
- Paint sheen matters. I like Satin for bathrooms, Eggshell for my other walls, flat for ceilings, and semi-gloss for trim. Choose the right sheen for your space.
- Use a really good primer that is appropriate for your project before painting to create a base for the paint to adhere to. This will also help cover any stains or dark colors.
- Buy your paint on sale if you can! Even if you’re not ready to paint your project yet you can buy just a can of paint base while it is on sale. Have an idea of the color you want because there are different bases for different colors. You can go back to the paint store and have it tinted later.
- When painting a lighter color over a dark-colored wall, prime the wall first with an untinted primer to eliminate having to do so many coats of your actual color. Primer is typically less expensive than paint so this will save you money and time.
- If you are painting a dark color, ask your paint department to tint your primer dark to cut down on the coats of paint you have to apply to reach the desired depth of color. They will know what to do.
2. How to Prep for Paint like a Pro
- Be sure to cover the floor and any nearby furniture. Your roller WILL splatter tiny paint drops as you roll. Anything can be a drop cloth. An old sheet sitting in your linen closet, old towels, etc. If you get paint on the carpet accidentally, this spray will get the paint out every time!
- Always use high-quality brushes and paint. Cheap brushes can leave streaks and shed bristles, while low-quality paint can be thin and streaky. You really do get what you pay for. Purdy is my favorite brand! I’ve never met a Purdy product that I didn’t like.
- Before using your roller, put tape around it and then remove the tape to eliminate fuzz in your paint from a brand-new roller.
- Wash your painting surface well and let it dry before painting to remove dust, cobwebs, and build-up of any kind. This will help the paint adhere better and create a better finish. Mopping your walls is fast and easy with this mopping duo.
- Use painter’s tape to create straight lines and protect areas you don’t want to paint.
- Once the painter’s tape is applied to your walls you can run a small, smooth bead of caulk along the tape edge OR apply a coat of the paint that is already on the wall (called “back painting”) before you paint. Both of these actions create a barrier to keep the paint from getting under the tape and will give you the best results with the most crisp line!
- Use the right tape for the project. Frog Tape has tape for any surface. I used the yellow tape for delicate surfaces over the wallpaper in my TV room and it didn’t ruin it!
- Remember when painting that most of the time a project takes is spent in the prep. Your results will be determined by the care you take to prepare for painting. How well the taping, caulking, and masking off areas are done will determine how much touching-up you will have to do afterward and remove frustration. Take your time and prep well, even though the actual painting is more fun.
- When applying tape to any trim, apply it and then run a flat-head screwdriver along for the best adhesion and eliminate paint from bleeding under the tape.
- When caulking anything before painting it be sure to use the correct caulk. I like the ALEX paintable, fast-drying caulk that dries in 30 minutes. Read the label to be sure it is paintable. Trust me on that. Years ago used caulk that wasn’t paintable in a room and I had to dig it all out and start over again and wanted to cry. I never made that mistake again!
3. How to Paint with a Perfect Finish like a decorator
- Stir your paint thoroughly before using it to ensure an even consistency.
- When pouring your paint, punch a few nail holes (using a nail and hammer) around the rim (where the lid sits) so that the paint can strain back into the pail after you pour it and not pool in the rim.
- Punch a few holes with a nail into the rim of your paint can to allow it to drain back into the pail after pouring.
- Use painter’s tape or masking tape to create a “V” across the opening on the side you are pouring from to eliminate paint running down the side of the pail and creating a mess. The “V” will keep the paint from touching the edge of the rim.
- Line your paint tray with tinfoil for quick cleanup and to eliminate paint down your drain.
- When using a brush, use a paint pail with excellent features like a magnet and liner to make painting with a brush easier and more efficient. My favorite paint pail also allows a small roller to fit inside which is really handy!
- Use an angled brush to go around windows, door frames, and where the ceiling and wall connect.
- If using a paint sprayer and your paint has not just come home with you from the paint store, be sure to strain the paint before spraying to ensure there are no lumps and clumps in it.
- Keep a damp cloth close by to wipe away any excess paint or drips before they dry.
- Don’t overload your brush with paint – it’s better to use several thin coats than one thick coat.
- When brushing, use long, even strokes to create a smooth finish.
- When painting cabinets and trim use an extender additive to your paint like Floetrol. This will help to eliminate brush and roller marks because the additive will make your paint self-leveling leaving a smooth finish.
- Your ladder will most likely have a place to hook your paint tray “feet” at the top of the ladder and it is really handy. If you use it you won’t have to keep going up and down your ladder to load your roller.
- Use an extension pole with your roller to allow you to paint a wall without going up and down a ladder. You can use your broom or mop handle for this. Just unscrew the mop or broom head and attach your roller to the pole!
- Paint in natural light or under bright lights to see the true colors and avoid shadows or missed spots.
- When you finish painting, pull that tape off within an hour. Don’t let it sit for a long period of time because when you pull the tape off it will take some of your new paint with it!!
- Use a small brush to touch up any mistakes or missed spots. You can grab an inexpensive pack of small artist’s brushes that come in handy for this job.
- Don’t rush the drying process – allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.
- Use a fan or open windows to improve ventilation and help the paint dry faster.
- Remember that high humidity and cold temps can make paint take longer to dry.
- Clean your brushes thoroughly after each use to prolong their life and prevent them from becoming stiff.
- If you have to step away from your project in the middle of it and will be coming back to it shortly, wrap your brushes and rollers well in plastic wrap or a plastic baggie or grocery bag and place them in the refrigerator. The humidity in the fridge will keep the paint moist for a little while.
- Be patient and take your time – rushing can lead to mistakes and a less-than-perfect finish.
- Use a paint grid inside your gallon paint pail with a small roller for small touch-up jobs.
How to Pick the Perfect Paint Roller for the Job
Not all rollers are the same! Choose the correct roller for your project. Pay attention to the nap of the roller, which is the thickness of the roller. It absolutely makes a difference. For example, if painting deep texture or stucco you will want a 3/4″ nap on your roller. The roller will tell you the nap right on it. I created this graphic for you to PIN to refer to later!
- When rolling your paint on the wall, load your roller and make an “N” pattern and then fill in with paint.
- If you’re not sure about your painting ability, practicing on a small surface like a cardboard box before tackling a more extensive project will help you feel more confident.
- Don’t keep going over the paint you have just applied again and again with your roller. It doesn’t mean the coverage will be better. It will actually lift the paint up off the walls. Wait for it to dry and then do another coat.
- Use an 18″ paint roller for large surfaces or rooms to save time. It is worth it! I did this in my garage and it made it so much faster.
OK, I have shared my BEST tips with you to help you paint a room like a professional decorator. There is probably something you didn’t know on this list that you can use on your next project.
Out of these 48 amazing tips for painting a room like a designer, which ones didn’t you know? Which will you try next time? What would you add? Leave a comment below and let me know. I would love to hear from you!
These are ALL things that I do or have done and have created beautiful spaces in my home with just paint! I hope this helps you get the best results in your home, removes any frustration, and makes it fun for you. I can’t wait to see what you do!