How to Paint a Room and
How to Paint a Ceiling

Think you know how to paint a room? You’ve picked your colors and bought the paint.  You’ve moved the furniture away from the walls. I thought I knew how, until I met a professional painter who painstakingly explained why I really did not know, or anything else when preparing for painting for that matter!

It turns out that painting is a lot like cooking:  A recipe and the right ingredients can only take you so far.  The first room I painted ended up a lot like the time I tried to make my mother-in-law’s renowned seafood gumbo.  Let’s just say that both looked great from a distance.

What I learned about how to paint a room can be summed up as the three P’s:  Preparation, Patience and Paint.  I know that last one seems obvious, but investing in good paint makes a huge difference.  That was actually the only thing I did right.  I picked Ralph Lauren Paint Colors for their Burning Umber, and just lucked out that it also happens to be one of the highest quality paints available.

Before I continue, I should mention that if you want to learn how to paint a ceiling, the best tip I’ve heard is to cover every square inch of the room with tarp. If you leave any spot exposed, your ceiling paint will start to drool like a Basset Hound at the dinner table, directly over the visible carpet.  Also, I don't know how to paint a ceiling without getting paint in your hair, so an old hat is a must! On the other hand, if you just want a white ceiling, they do make ceiling paint, which cuts back on the drip-factor. They can also tint the ceiling paint. Just ask your paint store professional.

Getting back to the three P’s, preparation includes not only covering your floors, furniture and head, but also making sure you have filled all the little nail holes and patched that spot where Uncle Joey thought he saw a spider last year.  You should really consider lightly sanding the entire wall surface before opening a single can of paint.

If you really want to learn how to paint a room like a pro, you’ll use angle brushes for your trim instead of taping around the whole room.  This technique is where the second P comes into play.  It takes a lot of patience to paint a room correctly, even if you are using Ralph Lauren Paint Colors!  You’ll quickly learn how to push on the brush to work up into an edge and create a straight line.  While painting the trim, always keep a wet rag nearby to quickly wipe off any mistakes.

When you’re ready to start using a roller, be careful not to overload it with paint.  You’ll know it’s too full if you end up with Burning Umber freckles like I did.  Move the roller in a W-shape, always starting with an upstroke to reduce dripping.  If your roller makes a noise like it’s starting to stick on the wall, it’s asking you to go back to the paint tray.

Learning how to paint a room, or how to paint a ceiling, just takes a few tips and tricks, and a whole lot of patience.  You’ll be glad for both when the sunlight shines into your room and there isn’t a single flaw to be seen!

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