All surfaces must be prepared thoroughly before painting — any damage should be filled, sanded, and primed, and surfaces cleaned. Choose the right paint type for each surface. The order shown here is for undercoats or topcoats. Finish the ceiling and walls before tackling the trim.

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Step 1

Use an Extension Pole

Use an Extension Pole

While you'll need ladders for cutting in and detail work at heights, an extension pole added to a roller will save you even more time. You'll be able to reach further, particularly on ceilings, without having to move as much.

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Painting the Ceiling

Attach an extension pole to the handle of the roller. Pour paint into the paint tray and load the roller, taking care not to overload it. Roll the paint onto the ceiling in sections, laying off each area before you reload the roller. When painting a ceiling, it is important to wear goggles to protect your eyes from drips and spatters of paint.

Step 2

Painting the Walls

Once the central area of the ceiling is coated, paint around the edge with a brush. Overlap slightly onto the wall surface (Image 1).

Roll paint on in vertical sections. Use an extension pole to save bending when painting lower sections of the wall, and reaching for the higher areas (Image 2)

Cut in at the junctions between the walls and the ceiling. A roller is not accurate enough, so use a 4-inch brush, or a small paint pad if your walls are straight (Image 3).

Slightly overlap the wall color onto the baseboard, or, if your baseboard has a natural finish, protect it with blue painter's tape (Image 4)

Step 3

Painting a Window

Remove any window hardware before painting to make the job easier and to provide a neater finish (Image 1).

Use a 1-inch brush, starting with the stiles and the rails of the opening sections (Image 2).

Open the window so that you can paint both the opening and the hinged edge, but avoid painting over the hinges themselves (Image 3). Wedge the window open until the paint is completely dry.

Paint the rails of any non-opening casements (Image 4).

Create a clean dividing line between the window frame and the wall surface (Image 5).

Step 4

Painting the Baseboard

Begin to paint the baseboard, one manageable section at a time. Start by coating the middle of the board (Image 1), then cut into the floor. Cover the floor if needed.

Cut in neatly at the baseboard and wall junction. Lay off the paint carefully for an even finish (Image 2), then move on to the next section of baseboard.

Step 5

Painting a Door

Remove the door hardware before you start painting. Begin by coating the panels and continue to paint the door (Image 1). If you stray onto the stiles or rails, brush out the paint to avoid lines.

Follow the grain of the wood as you paint the stiles and rails. Where they cross, create a line along the joint of the two pieces of wood (Image 2).

Finish by painting the casing, cutting in precisely along the edge created with the wall surface. Paint the door jamb (Image 3). For inward-opening doors, paint the lining up to but not including the doorstop. For outward-opening doors, continue on to paint the doorstop. Wedge the door open while you paint the opening edge.

Step 6



Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Painting Around Obstacles

After you have rolled paint on the ceiling, and then on the walls, it is time to handle the details and paint around any obstacles. Learning the technique to cut in a straight line saves you time spent lining the obstacles with painter's tape.

If you decide to use tape to line your obstacles, make sure to press it firmly down to keep any paint from bleeding underneath.

When it comes to large obstacles like a radiator or even small obstacles like a light switch, there are a few tricks you can try.

Painting Behind a Radiator
Use a radiator roller to coat the wall behind the radiator. The long handle will reach down easily. An alternative is to remove the radiator while you decorate.

Painting Around a Light Switch
It's usually easiest to remove any wall plates before you start painting to avoid spending time time carefully painting around them. But if you live in a house where the previous owners have painted the wall plates to the wall, you may choose to paint around them. Use the cutting-in method described left. Tackle the switches last, after you have perfected your technique. Unlike outlets, the light switches are at eye level in the room, so any mistakes cutting-in are visible.