Interior Paint Guide

Check list:
  • Putty knife
  • Caulking gun
  • Sandpaper
  • Masking tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Step ladders


Polyester blend for latex paints; natural bristle for oil-based paints. 4” brush for large surface areas; 2” angled brush for trim and detail areas.

Roller and Roller Tray

Nap sizes vary depending on surface type. Generally, the smoother the surface the shorter the nap.

Power Roller or Airless Sprayer

Used mostly by professionals. Please read instructions completely before use.


Preparation is key to a successful paint job once you’ve decided between wall painting ideas. Before you begin, make sure your room’s interior surfaces are properly prepared.

  1. Remove draperies, pictures and switch and outlet cover plates.
  2. Arrange drop cloths to protect carpeting, furniture and any areas not to be painted.
  3. Fill holes, imperfections and cracks with caulk.
  4. Use a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust on walls and baseboards. For high use areas you may need to use a mild detergent to remove contaminants such as grease or problem stains.
  5. Tape off woodwork and other areas not to be painted at the time.
  6. Be sure to prime any new or bare surfaces, and problem areas. If you have chosen a color that is substantially lighter you may also need to prime. When choosing paint colors for living rooms, for example, make sure to go with a primer if you have dark walls and are switching to a much lighter color.

Product Selection

Latex vs. Oil

There are two types of paint to consider when brainstorming wall painting ideas — latex and oil. Latex paints are water-based and offer excellent durability, flexibility and easy soap and water clean-up. Oil-based paints also provide excellent durability and are known for their smooth application properties. Paint thinner is required for clean-up.


The next feature to consider is sheen. Wall sheens can vary depending upon the room; ceilings are usually a flat sheen and molding is often a satin or semi-gloss. This guide provides you with more specific sheen recommendations by room.

Olympic Sheen







Family Room



Living/Dining Room, Bedroom



Kid's Room








Kitchen & Bath




Accents, Trim & Accessories

Doors/ Windows, Moulding, Cabinets












Application Tips & Techniques

Estimating = How Much Paint Will I Need?

To determine the square footage of the interior of a room, multiply the width of the walls by the height of the room. Next divide this number by 400. This will give you the number of gallons you need to purchase. Remember, darker colors generally require more than one coat of paint.

Using a Brush

For best results with a brush, begin by dipping half the length of the bristles into your paint. Tap the brush gently against the side of the can but do not wipe it across the lip. Hold the handle near the base applying light pressure with your fingertips to make the bristles flex slightly.

Using a Roller

For best results with a roller, begin by slowly rolling it back and forth in the lower end of your roller tray until it is well covered. Then use the ridges in the upper portion of the tray to remove excess paint. Roll on the paint using even strokes to ensure a uniform look and coverage.

The Correct Order Makes It Easier

Begin from the top down working from unpainted areas into wet, painted areas. Oil paints take longer to dry and allow you to brush across the surface several times for a smooth, even finish; latex paints dry faster and only one or two strokes are needed.

  1. Painting Ceilings
    Start with ceilings first. Using a brush, paint a 2-inch-wide strip on the ceiling where it meets the wall. Then, start in a corner and begin rolling across the short length of the ceiling continuing to where it ends.
  2. Painting Walls
    Tape off any woodwork, window frames and door trim first. Paint a 2-inch wide strip along the areas near the trim with a brush. Then, using a roller, creating the letter “M” on your wall. Fill in the area rolling from left to right until the surface is completely painted. Remember to roll on the paint with even strokes to ensure a uniform coverage.