How To Paint A Room One Color

by Darwin Hall

stirring paint

Painting a room one color is usually easier than painting trim one color and the walls another.

There is no “cutting in” a different color for the walls either.  However, you still should plan well enough for this project to ensure yourself a great outcome.

The time it takes to paint your room depends mostly on the condition of your ceiling and walls, and if the furniture needs to be moved:

How many holes will need to be patched and sanded?  Are you able to correctly paint the room with dressers, curios, and bedding taking up space?

Obviously, moving everything out of the room and the closets is the best-case scenario.

Step 1

Preparing to Paint.  Remove all furniture from the room if possible.

If not, move all of the furniture to the center of the room as much as possible because you’ll need walking space to paint the walls and trim.

Cover up everything with plastic drop cloths.  Since drop cloths come in clear, it’s much easier to locate items underneath the cloth that you may need later.

Another type of drop cloth is the canvas drop cloth.  This type of drop cloth is great at absorbing spills, and it’s heavy material resist kicking it about as you work.

I’ll be using rosin paper for these floors though– which is super absorbent and great for the floors because you can tape them down right next to the baseboards — eliminating any accidents on the finished floor underneath.  Red rosin paper comes in rolls of 3 feet wide by 50 feet long.

The installation is pretty straight forward: Starting at a wall, roll the paper out.  Tape two ends to the floor to keep the paper from rolling back.  Once you get to the other wall, cut the paper to size with a utility knife.  It’s also important to note to leave a 1-inch gap between the baseboards and the wall so you can finish taping the rosin paper to the floor.

Overlap the paper by 2-inches for the next row and tape accordingly.  You’ll have to custom cut pieces to fit your closets and such.

brown painter's paperI like use brown painter’s paper for the windows.

It is thinner than red rosin paper and blocks the heat of the sun during the summertime.

Simply cut a piece to fit your opening and apply it to the window with blue painter’s tape.

If you have wood windows, you’ll want to cover just the window glass itself — allowing you to also paint the wood trim.

For the sake of this article, the windows are vinyl — so I won’t want to paint them.

Step 2

Remove Doors.  Leave the hinges on the room’s entry door and remove the screws that connect the hinges to the jamb.  When removing the screws, start at the bottom hinges, removing the two bottom screws working your way up.  Finally, remove the top screw and hinge from the jamb.

Make sure you hold the door with a free hand so the door doesn’t fall from the opening.  A helper is always good for this step.  When you paint the jambs, be sure to NOT paint the insides of the hinge mortises.  If you do, the door may not close properly when you re-install it because of the extra layer of paint.

Also remove your bi-fold closet doors if applicable.  It is easier and faster to paint all your doors on sawhorses than it is to leave them in place.  It’s also easier to paint and move about the room with the doors removed.

Step 3

room hardware removal

Remove Room Hardware.  Remove return air grills, heating registers, electric outlet and switch covers, and any pictures from the walls.  I prefer to “drop” the light fixture from the ceiling so I can paint the surface under the fixture.  If you don’t want to remove the light, simply protect the base of the fixture with blue painter’s tape.

Now would be a good time to replace worn-out looking grills and registers, plus switch and outlet covers.  I like to spruce up a room with a new light fixture too.

Step 4

Repair The Walls.  Repair holes, dents, and imperfections on walls and ceilings.  A good product I use for holes is an aluminum drywall patch that has a bit of mesh tape on it.

The patch has a glue backing on it similar to tape.  You simply peel the paper off the adhesive backing and stick it to the wall.

You then apply joint compound to the patch and sand it as usual.  These wall patches come in three different sizes, 2″ x 2″, 4″ x 4″, and 8″ x 8″ available at your favorite home store.

Make sure you have a shop vac on hand for this project to vacuum up drywall dust that accumulates from sanding.  Otherwise, dust will get tracked from your shoes and get scattered throughout the house.  Right after sanding, I vacuum the floor.

Step 5

Caulk.  Caulk baseboards and trim with painter’s caulk.  A thin bead is the best choice for the tops of the baseboards.  I like to use a piece of paper towel to wipe excess caulk from my rubber glove if the bead I apply becomes too thick.

Here’s how it’s done:  after using a caulk gun to lay the bead, I smooth it over with a finger, then dab the excess off on the paper towel and continue smoothing.

Caulk the top of all baseboards, butt-joints, and inside corners.

Use wood filler for finished nail holes and outside corners.  These get sanded with a fine sandpaper sponge or palm sander.

Step 6

Painting Window Trim

Applying Primer.  Time to apply primer.  I bought a five gallon bucket of primer because I’ll use the extra for the rest of the rooms in the house.

The primer is still fairly thick and was stirred at the home store, but I’ll still give it an additional stirring with a paint stick.

A quick tip is to place the bucket of primer on newspaper for extra protection from drips that are caused from pouring the paint into the paint tray.

When I’m finished for the day, I ball the paper, old gloves, and paint liner together in the newspaper I laid out.  Its so much neater to dispose of this way.

Once satisfied, I pour the primer directly into an aluminum paint tray with a tray liner.

I begin by starting at a ceiling wall intersection in a closet and apply primer with a 2- or 3-inch wide brush to the length of the walls and ceilings.  Always start a room by working inside the closets.

Any drips should be blended into the surface they are on immediately or else, you’ll have permanent drips in the paint.

Next, I use a 3/8 NAP roller and painter’s pole to finish the ceiling, maintaining a “wet” edge.

One advantage of painting ceilings first is that you don’t get more paint on your clothes from rubbing up against an already painted wall!

Another quick tip is: always be aware of where the paint tray is when you’re working.  This is important.  Many people forget and end up knocking over the tray of paint, or they bump the bucket and cause a mess.

Step 7

Painting.  Finally, it’s time to paint the walls.  Most interior paint will need to be re-coated once to get the best uniform appearance.  The process is the same for both coats:

  • Paint all corners with a brush,
  • Paint the windows, trim, door jambs, and baseboards with a brush,
  • Paint the ceilings with a roller,
  • And paint the walls with a roller.
  • Repeat process for second coat.

The correct way to paint ceilings and walls with a paint roller is to apply the paint in a “W” pattern, back and forth.

Do not add pressure to the roller; it will just make a drip line of thick paint.  Simply take your time.  The faster you roll the ceilings and walls, the more fine dots of paint splatter will appear on you and everything else.


Tools And Materials You’ll Need:


Dotted Line Post Separator

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