How to paint walls like a professional

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When it comes to updating tired interiors, I don’t think there’s a better way to get more bang for buck than by repainting.

A fresh coat of paint can introduce a more contemporary colour palette and creates a crisp new feel.

Often I hear people say that they don’t think they should paint their own home – rather, it’s a job only the professionals should do.

I disagree. With great preparation, great products and good technique, you can achieve a professional finish yourself. Here’s how!

1. Prepare walls

The secret to a great paint finish is preparation.

Older homes will most likely have a few dents or cracks in the walls that need filling (usually a gap filler will do the trick) or you may have peeling paint that needs to be removed or worse, old wallpaper.

Peeling paint will need to be sanded back well using coarse sandpaper and then working your way to finer grit to achieve a smooth finish. Old wallpaper may require a steamer or even chemical peeler to remove.

Most walls will most likely just need a little bit of patching with gap filler though, and once dry, a light sanding over the whole wall.

Then wash the walls using warm water and sugar soap to remove any dirt or grime.

Sugar soap

2. Protect flooring

The last thing you want to do is fix your walls while damaging your floors. Drop sheets aren’t expensive and will protect your floors from splatter. Depending on how steady your hand is, you may also want to use painters tape to tape around the bottom of the skirting and anywhere else you want to get a clean line.

3. Undercoat or prep-coat

If you’re painting onto new plasterboard, you’ll need to use a prep coat first. It’s also a good idea to use prep coat on any other porous surface, such as a brick wall.
If the wall has already been painted, you’ll need to use an undercoat – this is especially important if you are trying to paint a lighter colour over a darker colour.

The Monsta Prep Seal is a 3 in 1 primer, sealer and undercoat, and is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. I love the coverage of this product and that like all Monsta products, it’s eco-friendly and low odour.

Monsta prep coat

4. Cutting

I always start by cutting first and that just involves dipping a good quality paintbrush into your paint (starting with your prep coat) and painting around all 4 edges of the wall. You’ll also need to cut around any light switches, power points or any other obstructions on the wall.

Your cutting only needs to be 5-10cm wide. It’s essentially a boarder around the wall you intend to paint and is a way of painting the areas your roller won’t get to.

Tip: don’t use too much paint when cutting or you’ll create obvious streak marks.

5. Rolling

Then it’s time to roll. The trick to rolling well is not to overload or underload your roller – you should give the roller a good dip of paint and roll it back and forth in the tray before moving onto the wall.

Begin rolling at least a roller width away from the side of the wall, rolling up and down in the middle section of the wall. If you roll all the way to the top or bottom in the first few rolls, you’ll push too much paint to the edges of the wall and it will be difficult to control.

Once you feel there isn’t too much paint left on your roller, you can roll all the way to your top cutting and all the way to the bottom.

Work in 1-2 metre sections of wall at a time.

Loading paint roller

6. Roll off

Before dunking your roller again and moving onto the next section of wall, it’s time to roll off.

This is what professional painters do and it’s what’s going to give you a perfect finish.

It simply involves lightly rolling your roller downwards over the section you just painted, lifting your roller away from the wall and then repeating this across the area, making sure to overlap by half a roller each time.

This may seem like it isn’t doing anything but it will smooth and flatten out your paintwork, creating a seamless paint finish.

7. Additional coats

Most walls will need 2 coats of topcoat but sometimes you may need to do additional coats.

If you can see any shadows or inconsistency in the painting, definitely do another coat.

Be sure to let the wall dry fully in between coats and always cut and then roll the wall.

If you follow these steps, it is possible to paint your walls like a professional.

You can find even more painting tips on the Monsta YouTube channel here or you can fill up your shopping cart and get ready to start painting your walls like a pro on their website here.

Do you have other paint tips to share? Pop them in the comments so we can all benefit!

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Gina is the Editor of STYLE CURATOR, an award winning Australian blog about the pursuit of a stylish home. She is passionate about sharing her love of design, architecture, decorating and homewares. Having recently finished the build of her dream home, she's now tackling the never ending job of styling it. When she's not blogging or working with interior styling clients, you'll find her running after her 1 year-old son Patrick or getting her hands messy in a creative project.

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