Project 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.

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This D.I.Y. Advice is part of a series How to Paint
paint roller
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How to paint with a roller

When you’re painting a ceiling with a roller, keep the end of the roller facing the side of the surface that you have already cut in. This will make sure that the roller’s metal frame doesn’t damage your walls.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Fill cracks in your surface
2 Sand down the plastered surface
3 Clean your walls
4 Tape up hardware and fixtures
5 Choose your colour scheme
6 Choose between water or oil based paints
7 Choosing the right amount of paint
8 Work out if you need an undercoat
9 When to use brushes and rollers
  • Step 1. Fill 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.

  • Step 2. Sand down the plastered surface

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

  • Step 3. Clean your walls

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

  • Step 4. Tape 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.

  • Step 5. Choose your colour scheme

    You could pick a colour for a room based on the dominate 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.

  • Step 6. Choose 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.

  • Step 7. Choosing the right amount of paint

    One 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.

  • Step 8. Work 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 are working on new walls, have repaired scuffs or marks or you are going over existing paint that is darker in colour. 
  • Step 9. When to use brushes and rollers

    When you are 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. 

Tools and Materials


  • Brushes
  • Cleaning equipment
  • Drop sheets
  • Ladder
  • Paint tray
  • Rollers
  • Sander


  • Plaster compound
  • Masking tape
  • Sandpaper

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. 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. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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