Decor & Styling

How to Paint Interiors 101


Too often we’ve heard friends talk of wanting to paint a room in their house or office but being intimidated by the task. They think it’s too difficult, too time-consuming, too expensive, or it’s not worth the trouble. But as we’ve seen time and time again throughout the many home tours on our site, the color of a room, wall, door, trim, etc. can drastically change a space, and it’s definitely worth doing.

The Everygirl teamed up with Valspar to bring you a step-by-step guide to illustrate just how easy painting is. So save your dollar bills and forgo hiring someone or asking your dad for help. With this tutorial and a little elbow grease, you’ll be the pro in no time.



This entryway was already a nice shade of gray, but we were looking to brighten the space with a lighter color.



We turned to the extensive color collection from Valspar and while there were so many vibrant hues to choose from, we had to stick with a neutral because this room was in a rental and landlord’s orders. We ended up choosing a light gray named Comet Dust in a satin finish. Valspar Reserve was really great for this project for two reasons: 1. this is a high traffic entryway and the Reserve paint is extremely durable so we knew it would last long and not get scuffed easily and 2. the paint is a primer and paint in one allowing for only one coat instead of two! Win win.

NOTE ABOUT CHOOSING A FINISH: Valspar Reserve is available in flat, satin, and semi-gloss. Flat is a concealing finish, ideal for surfaces unlikely to require frequent washing; it’s a good choice for a dining room. Satin is long-lasting and easy to maintain; it’s ideal for high-traffic areas. Semi-gloss has a visible shine and is ideal for trim, woodwork, and cabinetry.


1. Paint
2. Tray insert (this is flimsy and disposable, typically costs less than $1)
3. Metal tray (sturdier base, you will reuse this for future projects)
4. Paint can opener (you can also get creative and use a flathead screwdriver, but this makes it easier)
5. Paint brush
6. Roller
7. Drop cloth (you can always use old towels to cover furniture, but this is large and easily disposable)
8. Edger (your new best friend)
9. Screwdriver (to remove electrical plates)
10. Spackle paste
11. Putty knife
12. Painter’s tape
13. Paint stirring stick (not pictured; provided free with purchase of paint)

1 gallon of paint is typically enough to cover 350 sq ft of space



Remove any nails and hooks from the walls and patch up the holes using spackle.

Use a screwdriver to remove the electrical plates and cover the open outlet sockets with painter’s tape.

Dust the baseboards, window sills, door frames and any other surface that is near the area that will be painted.

Then lay down a dropcloth (you can buy a disposable plastic sheet for $3 at any hardware store). Secure it to the floor or baseboards using painter’s tape to protect the trim. After that, you’re ready to get started!



Have all of your materials, brushes, trays, and paint ready to go. Make sure you’re wearing clothes you don’t care about getting paint on because it likely will happen!

We suggest starting with the trim. You have to be meticulous that you don’t get paint on the floors, baseboards, trim, and ceilings, so you have go slowly and it takes a bit longer. Never a good idea to rush this once you’re finishing the project because you might be hasty to get the project done and mess up by getting paint where you don’t want it.

We also recommend using a trim brush! It makes the task 100 times easier and works by running the paint perfectly along the edge (see video for demonstration). You can either get paint on the trimmer brush by gently placing it in the paint tray or by brushing paint on. Note: Make sure the paint doesn’t go on too thick. The brush should be covered, but not gloppy or it will be too thick on the wall.

Once the trim is painted, take the roller and drench it in paint. But make sure you roll excess dripping paint off along the grates of the tray before picking it up toward the walls–otherwise you’re going to have gloppy paint everywhere!

We recommend rolling in up, down, and diagonal strokes, letting the roller move naturally. Cover each surface area repeatedly until you can no longer see the color underneath.

When you get near electrical outlets or light switches, make sure you paint close enough to the outlet opening to ensure it will be entirely covered by the plate. But be careful and don’t get too close, especially if the paint is going on thick or gloppy!

Most of the time, painting requires two coats of paint, especially if you’re putting a lighter color over a darker color like we did here. But with paint like Valspar Reserve, which already has primer in it, you only need one coat!

A few items to remember:
– paint often appears lighter as it’s being applied so don’t worry if throughout the process you’re thinking “this doesn’t look quite right.” Wait until it’s completely dry to see the true color.
– latex paint easily comes off skin, hair, and most surfaces so don’t stress. A little warm water and soap and you’re good. It does not come off clothes so easily… so dress the part!
– painting is fairly easy but time-consuming, so plan a full day to complete the project if it’s a full room. Smaller projects like a single wall or small space can be done in a few hours!
– much easier to paint darker colors over a light color. If you’re doing the opposite and painting light over dark, anticipate a few coats!



Stay tuned for part two tomorrow: Painting Exteriors 101!

Note: this article was sponsored by Valspar but all of the opinions herein are those of The Everygirl editorial board. Valspar Reserve is available exclusively at Lowe’s.