Painting a Room: How to Do It


Hello, everyone. Aric here from Valu on Sheridan Dr. in Amherst to talk briefly about painting a room—the right way.


The above image was the “before” color, and soon we’ll be getting to the “after” color.

I’m a fan of dark colors, admittedly. No, I won’t go and paint all the rooms in my house “Dungeon Bronze” or “Trois Etoiles,” but used in the right places—and a bedroom can be a powerful, striking place—darker colors can really shine.

Anyway, I got ready to paint this room here a dark green. A common adage when painting is that almost all of the work is in the prep. This is an adage for a reason—it’s true. So, to start out, I needed to be sure I had the gear to get going.

In terms of supplies, I purchased the following:

2 basic wire roller frames (one for me, the other for my friend who assisted…)


There he is. Downright professional, this guy. Just look at the way he’s about to drop that roller pan all over my floor!

Extension poles: most of which have ends that standard wire frames can twist on to, are a good option for larger rooms. This room wasn’t large, so we passed on those. 

General purpose Frog Tape:  This stuff is great for taping off any surface. The tape locks out the edges really well, and can be pulled off a few days after application without doing any damage. This is one of the factors that makes a good tape so good. That, and its ability to come off in one piece rather than forty. Of course, as soon as you’re done painting, and before your paint is even dry, you want to remove the tape—otherwise, the paint may bond it to the surface, and we definitely don’t want that. 


A bag o’ rags: No specific brand or anything, but never underestimate the power of a bag of rags, or old T-shirt, if you have one that you planned on throwing out anyway. Wetting it and then quickly swiping it over your paint drips is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to stop paint from going where you don’t want it.

Dropcloth: Plastic drop cloths usually get the job done, but they are rather thin. Canvas dropcloths are a great option. I borrowed a friend’s old-set-of-bedsheets-turned-drop cloths and they worked wonderfully.

Paint trays and liners: Again, just some pieces of plastic, but for any paint job, very essential pieces of plastic. Occasionally piece of metal. Don’t need to get fancy here either, though you’ll want to try to match the size of your liner to that of your tray. Sometimes the all in one kits, including roller covers, a tray, and brushes, are just what you need.


Roller Covers—Purdy 3/8”: Now, I happened to have a set of Purdy Contractor grade rollers lying around, so that was what I used. Normally, if I were selecting rollers for use on a bedroom wall, or most walls, for that matter, I’d go with a 3/8 inch roller. If I were going in the Purdy line (which I did), I’d stick with their general use Golden Eagles. They’re great—they hold a lot of paint, the inside is a durable plastic rather than cardboard, and they’re a solid, all-around roller cover.


Roller covers are one of the things that you should pick on a job-by-job basis. I’ll try to “cover” them more in a later post. For now, we’ll stick to the 3/8” Golden Eagles.

Brushes—Value Pack: Another paint tool that you should choose based on the job you’re working on. Again, I had some stuff lying around, so that’s what I used. The value pack brushes were admittedly not the best choice—I’ve used the Purdy XL before, and while some may insist to you that a brush is a brush is a brush… that’s simply untrue. These things may be great for crafting projects, but on my walls they dripped, left some serious brush marks (at least on the first coat), and need more frequent dips in the tray because they hold less paint. I also didn’t have angle brushes, which made cutting in much more difficult than it needed to be. In the future, I recommend going with a decent brush that you can clean and reuse—for me, the pain of trying to use cheap brushes makes the $10 investment in an actual brush well worth the cost.

Kilz 2 Primer: There are a lot of primer choices. Again, I could have a whole post on just primer choices and when to go with certain products. For this project, I used good ol’ Kilz 2 latex, which is fine for most general applications. I also tinted it gray, which is sometimes done under a very dark color to help the coverage. Most primers you’ll find on store shelves say “tintable,” but after working in a couple paint departments, I tint to gray for dark colors. I do plan to explain primers in another post, as tinting them is another funny business I won’t get into here.


Valu carries several different lines of Valspar and Pratt & Lambert paint each with their own benefits and ranging in price.  I went with Valspar Integrity Paint because it was on sale, but also because it's a good middle of the road, solid paint.  Valu carries higher end paints like Valspar Medallion, and Pratt & Lambert Accolade paint that are certainly worth it for one coat coverage and for a better finish, but because I'm working on a budget, Valspar Integrity is the direction I'll take this time around.

Now, onto the actual painting.

The first coat was the gray primer, to prepare the medium blue color to turn into a deep green. Did I really need the gray primer here? Not especially. Medium blue to the shade of green I picked is not what I’d call a “drastic” color change. If I was going from Antique White to Cursor Green, then perhaps. I used the primer to make sure the paint adhered, and to help the paint cover better. Basically, it was an extra step to make sure things went well. Earlier I mentioned that I still ran out of paint for the two coats done in my 9x10 or so room, so I’d say the primer was a good idea.

“But Aric,” you might ask, “you bought a paint + primer! The primer is already in the paint!”

Short answer: Not exactly. That’s not what paint and primer products actually are. Long answer: Paint too, I expect to cover in another post, and I will address that issue then.

Post primer, things were looking rather gray:


That was coat one. Then we wait at least four hours. This is critical. If you start painting over the primer before it’s completely dry, you run the risk of really messing up the finish. The paint may peel off or outright not stick.

You definitely don’t want that.

So, we wait. I got caught up with other things, so the first coat of my paint and primer Valspar Integrity went on the next day. We stopped into Valu and had the paint shaken again and went to work. Alas, there were a few unsavory artifacts in the paint due to its sitting around so long… I had hardened little chips dispersed within the paint. Not a lot, but enough to get annoying, as they diminished the final coat of paint on the wall. This is why you should get your paint and then use it within a week or two, rather than making the mistake I did and let it sit around too long. I think this is also why I couldn’t quite cover the room twice over. Some of the paint hardening up in the can will also lessen the coverage of said paint.

Anyway, I didn’t worry about that this time around. I just wanted to use the stuff up. So on went coat one. As expected, it was streaky in places, especially near the corners and edges where we cut in with the cheap brushes.


You can see some of the streakiness on the wall on the left here. At least, I hope you can. I’m a rather shabby photographer.

Enter coat two.


And there we have it. She's green now! See how much more consistent that coat looks compared to the last? Look at the consistency! LOOK AT IT!!!

Thanks for reading, folks! Hope this was enlightening about the process of painting, and what to typically expect when you paint a room. Stay tuned to the Valu blog for more tips and project how-tos!

Ready to take on a painting project of your own? Visit your neighborhood Valu Home Center and speak to our knowledgable Sales Associates, like Aric, for more information.