Painting a room, the basics

Want to redecorate your room but have fallen at the first hurdle? It can be bewildering walking down the paint isle at the local DIY store. But don’t worry here are some very basic tips to help get you started…

Basic things you need to know about painting a room-

You’ll need 2 different types of paint for repainting a room. One for walls and ceiling and the other for the woodwork (that’s anything in the room that is fixed in place and made of wood).

Wall paint:

Paint for walls is usually called emulsion. It has a water base so you can dilute it with water if it is too thick. This also means you can wash everything at the end of the job in water.

Woodwork paint:

Paint for woodwork is different, it’s tougher… if you think about it, the woodwork has to take quite a few knocks.

Now you’ll need to decide if you want oil-based or water-based acrylic wood paint. The oil-based paint means you will need to buy some white spirit to thin the paint and wash out brushes with when finished. Water alone will not clean the oil paint from your brushes. Water-based acrylic woodwork paint can be thinned with water and you can clean up with water.


All or nearly all paints in the DIY aisle will come with a choice of finishes. This is talking about the scale of shine on the finished paintwork, depending on how shiny you want the finish you will choose between flat matt, eggshell, satin or gloss.

Final check:

Make sure when you’ve chosen the right colour and size of tin that you also make sure to pick up the tin with the sheen that you want. It’s so easy to pick up the wrong one and only realise when it’s dried on the wall that you have actually got shiny walls and not the on-trend flat matt walls you were after.

Tips for when you’re actually painting:

  • Make sure you cover all surfaces that you don’t want to paint or get splatters on, i.e. furniture, carpets and/or light switches (you can buy dust-sheets from any DIY store)
  • Have a window in the room open so you don’t inhale too much of the fumes, and to allow the paint to dry quicker
  • Use masking tape to cover up the skirting/architrave to avoid getting paint spatters or going over the lines, you can also use the tape to paint straight lines
  • If you’re painting woodwork, make sure holes are filled in, and rough surfaces are sanded down (you can buy sandpaper from any DIY store)
  • A roller is best for large surfaces, and an extended roller will be easier to use if you’re painting the ceiling