The Only Painting Supplies You Really Need
Buy a nine-inch roller with a good, sturdy arm (such as the Wooster Brush Company Sherlock Roller Frame, $8.50, homedepot.com) and a roller sleeve of the same size. For smooth Sheetrock or plaster walls, buy a sleeve with a 3/8- or 1/2-inch nap (nap is the degree of fluffiness). For textured walls, like stucco or brick, get one with a 3/4-inch nap. A quality roller sleeve holds more paint and makes the whole job easier than a cheapie version.
See our Painting Supplies Checklist for an extended list.
You’ll also need a 2½-inch paintbrush for corners and trim; you might want to choose a sash brush (about $15 to $20), which is slightly angled for more control when painting edges.
Also have: a roll of 3M ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape; a drop cloth (canvas is reusable and stays in place, so it’s a pleasure to use; plastic can be slippery, but it’s inexpensive and disposable—your choice)
Damp Cotton Cloth
A damp cotton cloth for wiping drips as you go.
Ladder or Stool
A ladder or stool that lets you reach the ceiling comfortably without standing on the top step.
If you’re painting a large room, you might also want an extension pole (about $30 for a sturdy one) for ceiling painting. Just attach the roller to the end and you can get long, even strokes while standing flat on the floor.
And about that paint tray? Skip it. Pros recommend a roller grid instead. It’s a metal screen that hangs inside a five-gallon bucket (pieces sold separately: grid, about $3; bucket, about $4). You dip the roller in the paint, then run it along the grid to work the paint evenly into the nap.
Excess paint drips back into the bucket, meaning you lose less. Another plus: If you’re painting a big room, you can mix together all your cans of paint in the bucket to ensure consistent color. (Remember to cap the bucket between sessions to protect the paint.)