How to Paint Like a Pro

paint like a pro

I recently visited a creative and talented friend in her new home. She and her husband had decided to paint their bathroom walls, and it was . . . well . . . a mess. They had splashed paint everywhere and left spots unfinished. My friends had done their best, but what they didn’t realize is that painting isn’t easy. There are a lot of strategies that you can use to get the perfect painted finish, whether it be on a wall or on furniture. The secret to flawless painting is not just about being tidy or touching up — it’s also about choosing the right tools and painting in the right temperature. So before you pick up that paintbrush, read these tips for how to paint like a pro, after the jump.


Image courtesy of The Nest

  • Take the time to find the right color 1 of 14
    Take the time to find the right color
    Selecting the right color is more than just picking a chip — it can set the tone for a room or item.
    Get help choosing at HGTV
  • Know the paint finish you’ll need 2 of 14
    Know the paint finish you'll need
    There are different finishes for different applications. Matte (flat finish) is typically used for walls, Satin (a little bit of gloss) is used for doors and trim, Gloss (high shine) is used on furniture.
    Learn what finish is appropriate for your paint job at
  • Select the right tools 3 of 14
    Select the right tools
    Cheap brushes and rollers can spread paint unevenly and make the whole task unpleasant. Supplies can be purchased at any home improvement store, and Wooster or Purdy are great brands to look for
    Learn what the right tools are and how to use them at
  • Consider the weather 4 of 14
    Consider the weather
    Painting in too cool or moist of a climate can ruin all of your hard work. Painting in cool weather can cause cracking, while too much humidity can cause tackiness and slow drying.
    Check the home improvement forecast in your area at
  • Prepare your surface 5 of 14
    Prepare your surface
    Different substrates require different means of preparation. For example, wood should be sanded with the grain and wiped clean of any residue. Brick must be free of dirt, loose and excess mortar, and foreign material.
    Find the guide to proper surface preparation at Sherwin Williams
  • Clean up the walls 6 of 14
    Clean up the walls
    If you're painting walls, make sure any old, chipped paint is scraped off — then clean the walls and patch holes. This will make the paint adhere better, as well as result in a smooth, attractive finished wall.
    Read some tips at
  • Strip wood furniture 7 of 14
    Strip wood furniture
    If you're refinishing a wood item, you'll need to take special care to remove the old finish. You'll want to use a chemical stripper and scraping tool to get rid of the old paint and grime. It's a messy job, so do it outdoors.
    See a video on how to strip furniture on eHow's YouTube channel
    You can also read this article at TLC
  • Use painter’s tape 8 of 14
    Use painter's tape
    Painter's tape is essential to making sure that you have a no-mess, clean paint job. You'll apply this around the edges of windows, where walls meet ceilings and anywhere that you don't want paint to go. Run long strips of the tape just inside the outer edges of these areas. (The outer edges of the tape should lie exactly where the wall meets the trim, covering the parts of the trim that your roller or paintbrush might hit when you paint).
    Watch this video on how to tape by YouTube user
  • Prime your surface 9 of 14
    Prime your surface
    Do you need a primer or an undercoat? The product needed depends on what you are painting. If it's a new surface, use a primer. Surfaces that have already been painted should have an undercoat.
    Find out what they are and which one you need at PaintPro
  • Work carefully 10 of 14
    Work carefully
    Paint the trim/edges first with a paint brush — a roller can't get to these areas, and the chiseled tip of your paint brush will ensure clean lines. Move to the roller to cover large areas quickly. To properly use the roller, fill a paint tray with paint and dip your roller into it removing any excess before applying to the surface. You'll want to run the roller across the wall without lifting until the wall is fully covered. Lastly, check for unpainted areas and touch up.
    Get a painting step-by-step at Real Simple
  • Do brush maintenance 11 of 14
    Do brush maintenance
    It is recommended that you wash your brushes every time you stop painting for several hours (for instance, you are done painting for the day). If you don't want to go through the brush- washing process because you will be painting for several days in a row, you can store your brush in an airtight plastic bag instead.
    Learn how to do it at Fine Homebuilding
  • Clean your tools when the project is finished 12 of 14
    Clean your tools when the project is finished
    It's important to clean your paint brushes and tools to have them ready for the next project. All you need is mild soap to clean tools; brushes should be cleaned with just water. For a deeper clean, a wire brush can help you get out the excess paint as you work water through the bristles.
    Get a cleaning step-by-step at Matt and Shari
  • Follow tutorials for special projects 13 of 14
    Follow tutorials for special projects
    Ready to paint furniture? See a beginning-to-end example from a blogger who paints like pro.
    Find the tips at Censational Girl
  • Become familiar with different techniques depending on the look you want 14 of 14
    Become familiar with different techniques depending on the look you want
    Looking for clean paint lines on walls? Paint one color over the second where you want the clean line, then apply painter's tape and paint the first color over the tape to seal. Apply the second color over the first and then remove the tape and voila.
    See how to do it yourself at House of Hepworths

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