How to paint interior surfaces

How to paint interior surfaces

There are always paint jobs to do around the home whether it's ceilings, walls, cupboards and if your painting job never ends up looking the same as in the photos, this how-to will help you master interior painting skills.

Project Checklist 


Step 1: Preparation

Before you start painting remove all the furniture from the room, place a dropsheet down and make sure the paint brushes and rollers are perfectly clean. Also, take a look at our video for ladder safety before you begin the job.

If you haven't done prep work on the surface, check Mitre 10's How to Prep for Painting video.

Mask off any areas that you don't want the paint to bleed onto, so you can achieve straight paint lines. This is important when using different colours of paint on adjoining areas like ceilings and feature walls.

Step 2: Start Painting 

Open the paint can and using the paint stirrer, mix the paint well. If you think it needs thinning, follow the instructions on the paint can.

Start with a brush on the tricky areas using light short strokes right up to the masking tape. Once you have finished a small area, stroke along the surface in one direction with the brush tip for a smooth finish. Once the edges are done, it's time to use the roller and make sure you don't load the roller with too much paint as the extra paint will flick out over the walls if you roll too quickly.

Start at the top of the wall and roll downwards and repeat until finished.

Mighty Helpful Tip- Cutting In 

Cutting in is a way to paint free hand without using masking tape. Hold the brush like you would a pencil, draw the brush bristles along the line and let them fan out so only the outer bristles are doing the painting. Don’t use too much paint as you don't want the paint to drip down the wall. Paint a short line and pull away from the danger zone and towards yourself. Reset the brush and keep painting more lines until the paint is right up against the line.

Cutting in can be quite difficult to master, so practice cutting in with masking tape before you try it freehand. And if you won’t be painting much in the future, use the masking tape as an easy and quick alternative.

Interior painting FAQs

Should I use a filler?

To achieve a smooth paint finish, you’ll want to start with a smooth surface. The type of filler you need will depend on the surface you’re painting: wood, hard plaster or plasterboard walls. All cracks, patches or holes should be completely covered by the filler, which should then be smoothed out with excess product removed. When dry, lightly sand over the filler to create a smooth surface - perfect to start working with!

Do I need to prime the area before painting?

A primer can provide better coverage for your paint, especially If you’re working with a surface that has never been primed or painted before. Priming your surface - particularly if you’re painting over dark colours - can save you having to apply multiple top coats later on.

How much cleaning needs to be done beforehand?

It can be tempting to launch straight into painting, particularly when indoors. However, it’s important to remember that dust, mould and stains can be present on all surfaces. 

For the best results - and to save on fixing and repainting later on down the track - you should start with as much of a clean slate as possible. Vacuum up any dust on or around the walls; too much dust can cause your paint to not stick well or leave marks on your wall. Use a cleaning solution to remove mould and stains, and scrape off any loose paint or wallpaper. If you’re sanding, be sure to remove any excess dust. 


Need painting tools for your interiors?

Mitre 10 stocks a huge range of paint and paint applicators for all your interior projects. Get your project off the ground sooner with our convenient buy now, pay later methods including ZipPay, Humm and Afterpay. Find your local store or contact our friendly customer care team to help you plan your next project.

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