Image of a wall being painted

5 tips to paint walls at home

Posted on 09/04/2018

From scratches to faded paint, scuffed wallpaper and scribble-happy children – there’s plenty of reasons why rooms in your home may need redecorating every few years, but you don’t need to go all out with a complete overhaul. A fresh coat of paint can bring a surprising amount of new life into a room.

But however easy painting a room may appear on the surface, a little bit of planning and care should always be taken. Check out our top five tips for preparing your walls for painting.

  1. Remove your furniture

    Make sure all furniture is away from the walls – ideally in another room but if you’re tight for space, move the furniture to the middle of the room and cover well with dust sheets.

    Anything on the walls – pictures, curtains, shelves, blinds and all their fixings and brackets should also be removed, as should lights and lampshades on the ceiling.

  2. Clean the walls

    Fresh paint clings and dries to clean walls much better than dirty or greasy walls. How dirty your walls are may be obvious if you are painting the kitchen, but dust and dirt accumulates on all other walls too

    Take a dust cloth and dry wipe all the walls to be painted to dislodge the dust and any loose dirt. Then, using sugar soap, warm water, a large sponge and rubber gloves, wash the walls down with large, even strokes.

    The sugar soap will cut through the grease and, once dry, can be rinsed off with clean water.

  3. Fill any holes in your walls

    It’s unlikely any wall in your average home will remain blemish-free – shelves, pictures and knocks from furniture can all leave cracks, holes and other issues in the wall. Painting over anything but the smallest of cracks will not cover the damage so these should be fixed before painting.

    Multi-purpose fillers for decorating purposes can usually be found in most hardware stores – typically in the sealants, adhesives and putty sections. These are often quite straightforward to use but always read the instructions.

    Using a filler, fill the hole or crack and remove the excess with a scraper or knife then wait for it to dry. The filler should reach just above the wall’s surface.

    Once all filler is dry, you may need to sand the surface slightly.

    Tip: Dampening the hole or crack with a little water before applying filler will prevent the filler from falling out once dry.

  4. Sand any uneven surfaces

    A smooth and even surface makes for a much better finish to paint. Depending on the quality and age of the wall to be painted, combined with how much filling was required, you may need to sand sections of the wall.

    Using a rough sanding block – between 80 and 150 grit – go over the walls with large even strokes, paying special attention to any rough bumps or dried paint.

    You may need to clean the wall again after sanding but another quick dusting or vacuum should be enough.

  5. Get your masking right

    Painting is a messy business; while your furniture should be all stacked away and covered, you also need to protect your floors, carpets and skirting boards, plus any other walls or surfaces like window sills and frames etc. that you don’t want to paint.

    Make sure your dust sheets reach to the bottom of the wall and are firmly taped down with masking tape. Use more masking tape to cover plug sockets, skirting boards and light switches. Some of these fixtures can be loosened slightly before masking, enabling you to paint under the fixture too.

These five steps are simple, straightforward and relatively quick yet can make sure your DIY is clean and straightforward.

Should any of these steps or the idea of painting be a little daunting, a [Local Heroes painter and decorator](/painter-decorator) can take care of all aspects of the work.