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Interior Painting

Nothing can alter a room's appearance and mood like a new coat of paint. For just a little time and small money investment, you can give your new place a completely updated look. We'll show you how to choose the paint best suited for your project, and explain surface preparation and application techniques.

Beginning Your Painting Project

Size up your room. How you use color depends on where you use color. Each room has its own unique elements. Think about the structure and function of the room.

Take into account any architectural details, such as molding and trim. What's attractive and what's not? Varied intensities and hues can complement architecture, or hide flaws.

Selecting Interior Paint

Look for interior or exterior on the label. When painting indoors, use paint marked as "Interior" or "Interior/Exterior." Exterior paint is not for indoor use: It doesn't dry as quickly and has a stronger odor.

Paint Finish. Before choosing your paint, think about where your room fits into the scheme of things. Where is it situated in relation to other rooms? Is it a high- or low-traffic area? Let us help you find the right type, quality and finish for your project.

Paint Color. If you find yourself stuck on the color scheme of your rooms, there are steps to help you pick the right palette. Browse our painting center for more ideas and color combinations.

Purchasing Paint

Choose a water-based enamel instead of an oil-based gloss paint. Water-based gloss enamels have less odor, better longevity, and are easier to clean.

Buy high-quality paint for smoother application and a better life span.

Purchase test quarts to review your color and finish selections at home. Paint a portion of your wall to study the effects of various light conditions.

Calculating Paint Needed

A good rule of thumb: a gallon of paint will cover about 200 square feet with two coats. You can ask your Lowe's associate for help or use our paint calculator. Don't forget to pick up brushes and other supplies.

Prepping Walls

Surface preparation is critical if you want a quality paint job. Wash the walls from the bottom up with trisodium phosphate (TSP). Mix the TSP powder with water and apply it with a clean sponge. Rinse well with water and let the area dry completely.

Remove cover plates from all light and electrical fixtures. Fill in small holes with lightweight spackle, and fill cracks with painter's caulk. Sand smooth, and brush clean. If necessary, scrape away any old paint. Finally, mask around doors and trim with painter's tape.

Note: Special attention is necessary when working with lead paint.

Priming Repaired Areas

Patched or repaired areas will need to be primed before painting. A primer will help paint adhere to the surface, providing a more uniform appearance.

Painting Ceilings

Most people dread the thought of painting a ceiling. But with a paint extension pole, the job will be a lot easier. Use a stepstool if your ceilings are vaulted.

Cut edges in with a brush. Start in a corner of the room and roll the paint on with a series of diagonal swaths (shaped like the letter M). Fill in the open areas by cross-rolling. Paint the ceiling in blocks of 4' by 4'. Paint each adjacent block before the previous one dries to blend edges together.

Painting Walls

Begin by brushing about 2 inches around the edges. Pour paint in a lined tray, load the roller, and start painting. Use the same method described above. Allow the walls to dry completely. Add a second coat of paint if the first coat doesn't have the desired color or coverage.

Note: When painting with a semi-gloss or high-gloss finish, paint in smaller sections, and brush final strokes away from the room's light source to downplay any brush ridges.

Painting Trimwork and Doors

Before painting trimwork and doors, check all woodwork for damage. Patch with wood filler or putty. Let repairs dry overnight, sand, and apply a sealer before you paint.

For all trim, use a sash brush and always paint with the grain of the wood.

Windows. Start painting double-hung windows with the sashes, and then paint down the window casing to the sill. On casement windows, use the same technique, but keep the windows slightly open.

Doors. Paint raised panel doors with a sash brush, from top to bottom. Flat panel doors can be painted with a roller.

Baseboards. Paint in this sequence: top, bottom, then middle.

Cabinets. Remove the doors and drawers, and paint flat surfaces first. Start with the inside edges and paint out.

Painting Oil-Based Paints Over Latex

If you're using a different type of paint than the one used previously, remember to dull glossy paint by sanding or with a chemical de-glossing product. If you don't dull the paint, the second coat will not adhere to the base coat, which causes streaking.

After basking in a job well done, don't forget to properly clean up and store your paint. For more painting tips, check out our other painting articles.

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