How To Paint a Room

Design Tips from Sarah Stacey

Last month, I wrote an article teaching you how to choose the perfect shade of grey for your space. I helped fellow contributor, Jess Simpson, pick a shade for her bedroom. I gave her a few shades to look at and mull over for a bit and she ended up choosing Analytical Grey.
Now that we have decided on the color, we are going to paint the room – with a few pointers from Dan Schaffer of ProTect Paint.
Before starting, make sure your walls are clean and free of any dirt or dust. If they need to be dusted and/or washed off, allow enough time for drying before you start to paint.

For the actual paint finish [use] flat on the ceiling, eggshell on walls, and semi-gloss on trim.

For the actual paint finish, I normally follow these rules in my clients’ homes – flat on the ceiling, eggshell on walls, and semi-gloss on trim. A flat finish works well on flawed walls because it can hide imperfections. But because it doesn’t wash well, it could be a non-viable option for households with children.Eggshell offers a good amount of durability while still being able to hide imperfections, and is often a popular choice. A gloss or semi-gloss is the most durable in terms of washing, but I generally advise against it on walls unless the texture is super flat. This is because the finish will amplify all imperfections.
• When choosing a roller, get one that is of good quality. If there is a lot of texture on the wall, opt for one with a thicker nap. Before using the roller, take a piece of tape and wrap it around your hand and gently press it against the roller cover to get any loose fibers off.

“an angled brush is good for cutting in and getting to corners.”

• Dan says “A flat brush is more often used for surface coverage, whereas an angled brush is good for cutting in and getting to corners.” He also adds that “natural bristles are used with oil paint, synthetics are more versatile and can be used with a variety of paints, such as latex.”
• If you aren’t comfortable using only the angle brush for cutting in corners and near the ceiling, Dan recommends using Frog brand painter’s tape.


If your surface is uncoated (bare wood, new drywall), or when there is a dramatic color change or discoloration, you should use a primer such as Kilz before painting your selected paint color.
This step is especially necessary if you are painting over a color that has a pink or red pigment — you could find yourself re-coating for days.


When you are ready to paint, Dan says that “generally ceilings are painted first, then walls, then trim. A typical approach would to be to cut in the edges/corners and around molding with a brush and then use a roller to cover the larger open areas.” I always save time by just using an angle brush without tape for painting.

You will want to apply at least two coats of paint (or more if the paint is dark) to the entire room.

You will want to apply at least two coats of paint (or more if the paint is dark) to the entire room. Think about it like fingernail polish; one coat never does the trick.


After you’re done painting and you feel you have an even finish, you can move on to cleanup. You will, of course, want to do this outside to avoid making a mess in the house. Latex paint is easy to clean up with soap and water. When cleaning the roller, make sure to remove the cover so the spindle can be cleaned too. Otherwise it will dry and you won’t be able to use it again.


Take a step back now and appreciate the new look of your room. For Jess, we think the grey provides a brighter, and fresher look to her space. The neutral tones also offer a more calm and relaxed backdrop – a perfect match for a bedroom.


This article originally published in The Wander Issue of Citygram Austin Magazine [August 2013].
Download the FREE mobile issue designed specifically for your iPhone or iPad in the App Store today.

sarah-stacey-citygram-austinSarah Stacey

Interior Design Columnist
Follow Me on TwitterView My InstagramsFollow Me on Pinterest
Sarah Stacey is the lead designer at Sarah Stacey Interior Design — a design firm with a clean, playful, contemporary aesthetic that creates fun spaces for every member of the family.

Sarah has a true knack for craft – with an ability to incorporate unique, handmade elements into her designs.

Find more of her work at Sarah Stacey Design

Photography: Chris Perez

1 Comment

Comments are closed.