Painting Supplies
Painting the walls can make a dramatic difference.

Professional Tips for Painting Your Home

Painting your walls is a simple way to transform your home. “The right color paint can create a nurturing and positive mood in the space,” says Mario Guertin, professional painter based in Palatine, Illinois.

But sometimes, even a simple painting project could use some help from the professionals. Guertin, president of Painting in Partnership, a professional painting company, knows the ins and outs of painting walls the right way. From choosing your color to prepping the walls to peeling off the post-paint tape—Guertin gave the following six tips on how to paint your walls like a pro.

Choosing your color. Before you pick up your paintbrush, you have to decide on your wall’s new hue—will you go light and simple, or dark and sultry? “Darker colors will make the space feel warmer and cozier,” Guertin says. “They tend to pull the space in. Whereas, creamy, more neutral colors will make it more airy and open.” Think about your space and what your intention is, and if you are drawn to a color, there’s usually a reason for that. Also, remember that you can be creative and bold when it comes to colors—such as a bright accent wall in a neutral room.

Choosing your finish. From flat to eggshell to satin to high gloss—it can be a little confusing to know what finish is ideal while you’re standing in the paint aisle. “There are two big advantages to matte enamel,” Guertin says. “It’s cleanable, and the matte finish minimizes imperfections on the wall.” The more sheen to a paint, the more you’ll notice the imperfections, and the darker you go, the more sheen there is, according to Guertin. Unless you’re going for a very glossy look, you may want to stick in the flat, eggshell and satin range, he says. “I usually do not go further than a semi-gloss or gloss—these have the highest sheen,” Guertin says.

Quick tips:

*In a bathroom, Guertin recommends an eggshell finish, for a hint of sheen.

*In a kids’ room, Guertin recommends a satin finish. With all the banging and dirty hands, this finish is easy to wipe down with a damp cloth.

Testing it out. Many paint makers will provide you with an oversized sample—six, 8.5-inch x 5.5-inch squares that you can tape up in a grouping on your wall. This way, you do not have to invest in a quart of paint, and can instead tape up a larger sample to truly get a feel for the color. To order color sheets, you can contact the paint maker via its website. Once you put up your samples, be sure to look at them from different angles and at different times of day to really get a feel for the color.

Getting the supplies. From there, it’s time to collect the wall repair and painting supplies you’ll need to make your paint project look professional. 

Repair supplies:

  • Scraper
  • 4-inch putty knife
  • Five-way tool (used to open and close the paint can and as a simple putty knife)
  • 120-grid sandpaper
  • Caulk and caulk gun

Painting supplies:

  • 1/2 –inch roller handle and roller cover
  • 2 ½-inch angular brush
  • Plastic sheeting (of enough square footage to cover the entire floor of the room you’re painting)
  • Blue tape or frog tape (not masking tape because it attaches to the wall)
  • Paint tray
  • Bucket
  • Two-step ladder with shelf


Prepping the walls. Now’s the time to start inspecting the imperfections on your walls—look for dings, cracks, nail holes and dry wall imperfections. For a nail hole repair, Guertin recommends pushing any drywall into the hole with the five-way tool. Then, use putty to fill in the hole, let it dry and sand it so that it’s flush to the wall.

*Professional tip: Caulking the casing of the windows, doors, and baseboards before you begin painting will add a clean, polished look.

Painting the walls. After you’ve covered anything in the room that you don’t want paint on and patched the walls, you’re ready to start painting. If you are painting the ceiling, you should do that first with an extended roller, Guertin says. From there, you’ll move on to the trim with a 2 ½-inch angular brush. If you don’t have the steadiest hand, you’ll want to use your painter’s tape to be sure the paint does not get on the ceiling. From there, you’ll coat the walls, with a roller, rolling the paint into the edges. Paint your baseboards last, according to Benjamin Moore’s site. Be sure to apply your tape straight and to remove it only after the paint is dry. “Clean-cut lines (i.e. no paint on the ceiling or trim) are a telltale sign of a pro,” Guertin says.

Painting your walls is an easy way to update your look, or give a totally fresh feeling to your space. Using the professional tips above will help make your space feel more like your home. Paint on, you pro, you.

Recommended by the Editors: