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Pouring paint out of a paint pot into a paint tray

Overview

When you need to paint a room, it's important to get the preparation right. This will ensure that you get the best results possible. We'll take you through all the steps in preparing to paint a room, including the cutting in and how to choose the right paint and tools.

Steps

1Fill cracks in your surface

When preparing a surface to be painted, the first thing you need to do is to fill in the cracks and holes. To do this you need to apply two coats of plaster compound to the area.

A wall with cracks

2Sand down the plastered surface

After your plaster has dried, use a sander to lightly sand down the surface until it is smooth.

Sanding a wall

3Clean your walls

After sanding, there'll be some fine dust on the surface. You need to dust and clean down your walls before you're ready to start painting.

A blank wall

4Tape up hardware and fixtures

Before you start painting, remove all of the furniture from the room. Then tape up any hardware and fixtures in the room such as power points, architraves and the floor. This will help prevent paint from spilling on them.

Taping edges and frames

5Choose your colour scheme

You could pick a colour for a room based on the dominant colour of the furnishings in a room, such as a rug or a painting. You could also work from light to dark, with the lighter colour on the ceiling, a mid colour on the walls and the darkest colour on the floors.

Choosing Dulux colour scheme

6Choose between water or oil based paints

Water-based paints are generally used on ceilings and walls. Oil-based paints, which are more durable, are used for trims, architraves and doors because these generally get more wear and tear.

Painting a ceiling with a roller

7Choosing the right amount of paint

1 litre of paint will roughly cover about 16 square metres of surface. If your surface is more porous or textured than normal, you may need up to 20% more paint for a similar coverage.

Pouring white paint into a paint tray

8Work out if you need an undercoat

There are a few instances that you should use a sealer, primer or an undercoat. You should consider applying an undercoat if you're working on new walls, have repaired scuffs or marks or you're going over existing paint that is darker in colour. 
Bunnings team member looking at the wall and painting options

9When to use brushes and rollers

When you're painting, make sure you use the right tool for the job. Brushes are used when cutting in around walls and ceilings, as well as on trims, skirting boards and around window frames. Rollers are a quick and efficient way of filling in large spaces like walls and ceilings.
Paint brushes and a safety mask

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.