How to Paint Wall Like Professional Step-By-Step Guide

wall painting
wall painting

How to Paint Wall Like Professional Step-By-Step Guide


Dreaming of a home makeover but feeling overwhelmed by the thought of painting? Don’t worry! This comprehensive guide will teach you to transform your walls like a professional painter, even if you’re a beginner. We’ll walk you through every step of the process, from understanding the different types of paint and essential tools to mastering the techniques that ensure a flawless, long-lasting result.

Learn how to:

  • Prepare your walls like a pro:  Clean, repair, and prime for a perfect canvas.
  • Master the art of cutting in:  Achieve crisp, clean lines around edges and trim.
  • Roll like an expert: Ensure even coverage and a smooth, streak-free finish.
  • Choose the right tools: Discover the best brushes, rollers, and other essentials.
  • Avoid common mistakes: Sidestep the pitfalls that can ruin a paint job.
  • Choose the perfect paint:  Select the right type and finish for each room.

From a single accent wall to a whole-home makeover, this guide will give you the confidence and skills to transform your space. So, grab your tools and let’s get painting!

The Basics of Wall Painting

It is important to get the basics right before you start painting your home’s interior. This means choosing the right type of paint, prepping your walls, and gathering the necessary tools. Doing these things will ensure your new paint job looks amazing and lasts for years.

Feature Vinyl Matt Low Sheen Satin Semi-Gloss
Sheen Level Non-reflective (no shine) Slight sheen Velvety sheen Shiny
Durability Lower Moderate Good Excellent
Washability Not very washable (can be wiped gently) Washable (can be scrubbed lightly) Highly washable Very highly washable
Stain Resistance Lower Moderate Good Very good
Hides Imperfections Excellent Good Fair Poor
Best For Ceilings, low-traffic areas Living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms Hallways, kids' rooms, kitchens Bathrooms, laundries
Examples Dulux Ceiling White, Taubmans EasyCoat Ceiling Dulux Wash&Wear Low Sheen, British Paints 4 Seasons Dulux Wash&Wear Kitchen & Bathroom, Taubmans Endure Interior Dulux Aquanamel

Additional Notes for Your Aussie Readers:

  • This table focuses on water-based paints, the most common choice for interior walls in Australia.
  • Remember, each brand might have specific product lines designed for different needs. Always check the label for the recommended use and finish.
  • If you're unsure which paint is right for your project, ask the experts at your local Bunnings or other paint supplier, or consult a professional painter

Types of Interior Paint

For most interior walls, water-based (latex) paint is the preferred choice due to its:

  • Quick Drying Time: You can apply a second coat in a few hours.
  • Low Odour:  Minimal fumes make for a more pleasant painting experience.
  • Easy Clean-Up:  Water is all you need to clean brushes and spills.
  • Variety of Finishes:  Choose from flat (ideal for hiding imperfections), eggshell, satin (durable and easy to clean), or semi-gloss.

While less common for walls, oil-based paint is more durable and might be suitable for high-traffic areas or surfaces requiring frequent cleaning.

Important Note: Always consider the specific needs of your project and room. A satin or semi-gloss finish is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms due to its moisture resistance and washability.

Preparation: The Key to a Professional-Looking DIY Paint Job

Proper preparation is needed to achieve a flawless and smooth finish when painting your interior walls. Ensuring the paint adheres properly and creates a smooth, long-lasting result is crucial.

Clear the Room and Protect Your Belongings

Begin by removing any furniture or decor you can. Cover large items that can’t be moved completely with drop cloths or plastic sheeting. Secure the coverings to prevent paint splatter.

Pro Tip: Use painter’s tape to protect baseboards, door frames, and window trim from drips and splatters. 3M ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape is a popular choice because it is cleanly removed.

Prepare Your Walls for Painting

  • Inspect and Repair: Carefully examine your walls for any imperfections. Fill in small holes or cracks with a lightweight spackling compound (like Polyfilla Interior Gap Filler).
  • Sand: Once the repairs have dried, sand them smooth with fine-grit sandpaper (180-220 grit). This will ensure a seamless surface ready for paint.
  • Clean: Dust is the enemy of a good paint job! Wipe down the walls with a dry and clean cloth, followed by a slightly dampened one if needed. For stubborn grease or grime, use a mild dishwashing soap solution, then rinse with clean water and allow to dry completely.

Essential Tools for DIY Interior Wall Painting

  • Paint brushes:  Choose high-quality brushes in various sizes for cutting in and smaller areas.
  • Roller and roller covers: Opt for a 9-inch roller frame and covers with a nap size appropriate for your paint type and wall texture.
  • Painter’s tape: Use it to protect trim and create clean lines.
  • Drop Sheets:  Protect your floors and furniture from accidental drips and spills.
  • Paint trays:  These make it easy to load your roller with paint.
  • Sandpaper:  For smoothing surfaces and feathering repaired areas.
  • Spackle/Filler and putty knife: These are used to repair holes and cracks.

Cutting In: The First Step to a Professional Finish


What is Cutting In? Cutting in involves using a brush to create a neat, painted border around the edges of your walls, ceilings, and trim. This prepares the surface for rolling and ensures a crisp, clean look.

How to Cut In Like a Pro

  1. Load Your Brush: Gently dip your brush into the paint, ensuring the bristles are covered about a third of the way up. Tap the brush lightly against the inside of the can to remove any excess paint.
  2. Start at the Edges: Begin at the top corner of the wall, which meets the ceiling or adjacent wall. Paint a straight line about 2-3 inches wide along the edge.
  3. Smooth Strokes: Use smooth, even strokes. Don’t overload the brush, which can lead to drips and uneven coverage.
  4. Feather the Edges: Feathering the edges (making the paint thinner as you move away from the edge) will help blend the cut-in area with the roller-applied paint.

Pro Tip: Use a slightly dampened brush for easier control and smoother strokes. Try using a painter’s tool, like a straight edge or edger, for perfectly straight lines.


  • Uneven Lines: If your cut-in line isn’t perfectly straight, don’t worry! You can easily touch it up later when the paint is dry.
  • Paint Bleed: If paint bleeds under the painter’s tape, use a higher quality tape or apply it more firmly. Once the paint is dry, you can also carefully remove any bleed with a razor blade.

Rolling Techniques for Even Coverage


Choosing the Right Roller

Selecting the right roller is crucial for achieving a smooth, professional-looking finish. Rollers come in different naps (thickness of the roller cover), each suited for a specific type of surface:

  • Short nap (6 mm – 10 mm): Best for smooth surfaces like plaster or drywall.
  • Medium nap (12 mm – 18 mm): Ideal for textured walls or ceilings.
  • Long nap (25 mm – 30 mm): Used for rough surfaces like brick or stucco.

Pro Tip: Ask the experts at your local paint store for recommendations on the best roller nap size and paint type for your specific project.

Rolling Like a Pro

  1. Load the Roller: Fill your paint tray with paint. Roll the roller into the paint, ensuring it’s evenly coated but not dripping.
  2. Apply in a ‘W’ Pattern: Start in the middle of the wall and roll in a ‘W’ pattern. This helps distribute the paint evenly.
  3. Maintain Momentum:  Without lifting the roller from the wall, use smooth, even strokes to fill in the remaining spaces, following the “W” pattern. This helps to maintain a wet edge and prevent streaks.
  4. Avoid Over-Rolling: Don’t overwork the paint. Too much rolling can lead to an uneven texture and visible roller marks. Stop rolling once the paint is evenly distributed.
  5. Blend the Edges: Roll close to the edges where you’ve cut in, blending the two areas seamlessly.

Common Rolling Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Not loading the roller evenly: This can lead to patchy coverage. Ensure the entire roller cover is saturated with paint.
  • Pressing too hard: Excessive pressure can squeeze out too much paint and cause drips or runs.
  • Not maintaining a wet edge: If you let the paint dry before rolling the next section, you may end up with visible lines where the sections overlap.

Troubleshooting: If you encounter uneven coverage or roller marks, don’t worry! You can usually smooth them out by lightly re-rolling the area while the paint is still wet.

Brush Selection: Getting the Right Tool for the Job

Choosing the right brush can significantly impact the quality of your paint job. Different brushes are designed for specific tasks, and understanding their uses will help you achieve a professional-looking finish.

Types of Brushes

  • Angled Brushes (also known as Sash Brushes): Perfect for cutting in, reaching corners, and painting around obstacles like door frames or windows. Their angled bristles offer precise control and make it easier to achieve clean lines.
  • Flat Brushes: Designed for efficient painting of large surfaces, flat brushes have bristles arranged in a wide, flat shape that allows for maximum coverage with each stroke. Their versatility makes them suitable for walls, ceilings, and even some exterior surfaces.
  • Round Brushes: These versatile brushes can be used for cutting in and painting larger areas. They are especially handy for detailed work and decorative painting techniques.

How to Choose

  • Bristle Type:
    • Synthetic bristles (nylon or polyester) are best for water-based paints, as they don’t absorb as much water and maintain their shape better. Look for brands like Monarch or Purdy that offer high-quality synthetic brushes.
  • Brush Size:
    • 25mm brush:  Intricate details and tight spaces.
    • 50mm brush:  Cutting in and painting around trim.
    • 75mm brush:  Larger flat areas and general painting.
    • 100mm brush:  Very large areas and exterior painting.

Recommended Australian Brands:

  • Monarch:  Offers a wide range of brushes for different purposes and budgets.
  • Purdy:  Known for their professional-grade brushes with exceptional quality and durability.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Even experienced DIYers can fall prey to some common painting mistakes. Here’s how to avoid them and ensure a professional-looking finish:

  • Over-Brushing and Over-Rolling: This can lead to visible brushstrokes and roller marks. To avoid this, apply the paint in smooth, even strokes, working in one direction. Don’t go back and forth over the same area too many times. Let the paint level itself out for a flawless finish.
  • Not Using Primer:  Skipping primer can result in uneven coverage, poor adhesion, and stains bleeding through your final paint. Always use a primer, especially on new drywall, unpainted surfaces, or walls with existing stains. (See our “Step 2: Priming” section for more tips on choosing and applying primer.)
  • Avoid Painting in Extreme Weather:  Extreme temperatures (below 10°C or above 30°C) or high humidity can ruin your paint job. Aim for moderate temperatures (18-24°C) and low humidity for a smooth, even finish.
  • Not Cleaning the Walls Properly: Dirt, dust, and grime on your walls can lead to uneven paint and poor adhesion. Give your walls a thorough cleaning before you start. (See our “Preparation” section for step-by-step instructions.
  • Using the Wrong Type of Paint: Different surfaces and areas of your home require different types of paint. For instance, use moisture-resistant paint in bathrooms and kitchens. (Check out our “How to Choose the Right Paint” section for more guidance.)
  • Painting Over Dirty Surfaces: Before painting, it’s important to clean your walls thoroughly to remove dust, dirt, and grease. These contaminants can prevent the paint from adhering properly and lead to an uneven finish.


By being aware of these common mistakes and preparing properly, you can achieve a beautiful, professional-looking paint job that will last for years.


Painting your walls like a pro is achievable with the right techniques and tools. By mastering cutting in, rolling techniques, and brush selection, you can avoid common mistakes and achieve smooth walls with even coverage and no brush strokes. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or just looking to save money, these tips will help you create a beautiful, long-lasting finish that transforms your home and brings you joy.

But if you’d prefer to leave it to the experts, consider contacting Procover Painting, your local Newcastle house painting specialist. We have the experience and expertise to handle any project, big or small, ensuring a flawless finish you’ll love.

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