There are two types: oil-based paint (known for its sheen) and water-based paint. Nowadays there’s no need to use oil-based when painting a room. Modern water-based options, which dry faster and have less odor, offer plenty of gloss and wipeability. As for paint finishes, you can’t fail with a matte or eggshell finish on walls and a satin finish on trim. When purchasing paint, be sure to stick with brand names. Bargain paints can yield disappointing results.
2 of 5Wendell T. Webber
How Much Paint Do I Need?
The general rule is one gallon for every 350 square feet of surface area. All you have to do is measure walls roughly, then go to Sherwin-Williams.com and type the dimensions into the easy online paint calculator. This tool will also ask for measurements of windows, doors, and trim so it can come up with a more precise total. Whatever the number, buy an extra quart for touch-ups. A new batch mixed later might not match.
3 of 5Wendell T. Webber
Should I Use Primer?
No need for primer unless (1) you’re painting a light color over a dark one, (2) the walls are badly stained, or (3) the walls are marked up with spackle from patching. In these situations, a primer will help create a consistent, neutral surface that your paint will adhere to evenly. Instead of using a separate product, though, you might want to go with the Benjamin Moore Aura line of paints ($68 a gallon, benjaminmoore.com), which work like all-in-one paint-and-primers and are available in all Benjamin Moore colors.
4 of 5Jonny Valiant
What’s the Order of Operations?
1. Clean baseboards and dusty ceiling corners. 2. Apply painter’s tape. 3. Put down drop cloths. 4. “Cut” corners. 5. Paint the room top to bottom: ceiling, then walls, then trim.
5 of 5Justin Bernhaut
What About the Ceiling?
Most pros recommend Benjamin Moore ceiling paint, which is “low splatter” (because it’s thicker than standard paint) and ultra-flat, so it hides mistakes well (shiny paint shows flaws). The entire range of Benjamin Moore colors is available. Follow essentially the same technique used for walls: Roll away from where you’re standing, then zigzag back toward yourself, working in small, overlapping sections. But don’t try to paint directly above your head—it’s too difficult to see what you’re doing.