How to paint a room

Knowing how to paint a room efficiently and easily involves a little more than opening the tins and reaching for the brushes. If you have chosen to save on decorators' fees, correct preparation and a logical and methodical approach ensure that the job is relatively stress-free and the results pleasing.

Prepare for success

One of the key aspects in how to paint a room is preparing the surface. Smooth walls are essential (unless you are going for the rustic whitewash effect in your country cottage). Fill in holes left by old nails or cracked plaster. If the surface is still rough, consider a lining paper. Before reaching for the paint, ensure the surface is free of dust, grime or spiders' webs.

Cover any adjacent woodwork or window frames with masking tape, but remember to remove this before your paint dries or you risk peeling off your pristine new paintwork.

Applying an undercoat or primer will ensure better results. It might be tempting to paint directly over the old colour, but a white primer will mean that your end result has a more consistent and bright finish.

Water-based paints are the obvious choice for interior walls. With a wide variety of finishes available, they are also suitable for woodwork and trim.

A roller is the most efficient way of painting large spaces. Dont't overload it with paint though, as this will cause drips and spray. Paint the higher parts of the wall first so that any paint that does drip can be covered later. Use a small brush to fill in the edges and corners where the roller can't reach.

Got it covered

Knowing how to paint a room economically involves not wasting money on superfluous paint. Measure the surface area and bear in mind that most jobs will require two coats. With darker colours a third coat may be required. Beware of bargain paints as they may not offer adequate coverage or a clean finish.

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