We need advice for painting our apt....total beginners!

We are moving to a new apt and while its still empty, we want to go ahead and paint the walls so that we can really make it our own. We're really excited but completely nervous, we've never attempted anything of this caliber before. Any advice? We don't even know were to begin. Do we need to prime? What kind of paint should we get? Should we attempt to make chalk paint? What kind of tools do we need? Thank you so much!!!!! I look forward to sharing our success!!!
  14 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jun 28, 2016
    Don't be nervous. Start choosing your colors based on the size and lighting of the rooms. I would focus on one room at a time as painting can get very overwhelming.I would look at the paint chips and if there is a color appealing to you buy a sample can and do a test in your own home.As for the priming there are paints available with a paint and primer in one.

  • William William on Jun 28, 2016
    You say this is an apartment. Does your lease allow for painting or your landlord allow painting. Wash the walls with TSP, no rinsing. You will need a good roller frame, cover, and paint tray. Also a good angle brush for cutting into corners and around trim. Painters tape to tape around wood trim and anything you don't want painted. They can help you out where you buy you paint. Follow Janet Pizaro's advice and you'll do fine.

  • Tikimeems Tikimeems on Jun 29, 2016
    First, make sure you're allowed to paint. Then you need to decide which colors you like to live with - what makes you happy? What makes you calm? Once you can decide on some of those colors, look at the spaces to make sure those colors "fit" with the design - if dark brown is your earthy-feel good color, will it make that narrow upstairs hallway feel like a tunnel or a sanctuary? That kind of thing. When you settle on some colors that work, visit the paint store - companies are very helpful in providing palettes to demonstrate complementary and accent colors. Those steps should help you choose. You also need to choose a finish - walls in good condition can take any finish, but if the walls are not in good condition and not something you can smooth out, you may want to opt for flat. Flat doesn't clean as well, but it is forgiving. Trim usually does fine with a gloss and is easier to clean. I prefer latex over oil, but you need to know what is on the wall first to know if you need to prime. You'll need rollers suited to your walls - are they smooth or textured; the paint store employees should be able to steer you correctly. You'll need trim and cutting in brushes - I prefer a good 4" for cutting in and either a 1.5" or 2" for trim depending on how wide it is. Frog tape or something similar can be a best friend! You'll need roller pans and trim pans. Prepping well is the best thing you can do!

    • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Jun 30, 2016
      Our landlady suggested we paint to make it nice for us. She even said she would chip in!! Thank you so much for the help!

  • N. Susan Hart N. Susan Hart on Jun 29, 2016
    Go to a Benjamin Moore dealer. They will help you with whatever you need, and their paint is the best on the market.

  • B J  Alexis B J Alexis on Jun 29, 2016
    As noted, make sure you are allowed to paint. It would depend on what colors the walls currently are and the color you choose. Wipe down the walls first. If the current color is dark you should use a primer regardless of whether the paint you choose includes primer or not. Dark walls can be difficult to cover, I would choose an eggshell finish paint which is a very light gloss finish which adds a light touch of "pop" . You may be able to access the "This Old House" web site they should have a video on how to paint interiors which will help. I've painted a good many rooms and will warn you do not use a deep or dark color the first time you paint. And for a first time do not use a cheap paint, you don't need the most expensive paint either. Good Luck.

    • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Jun 30, 2016
      The landlady suggested that we paint and even said that she would chip in so that it would be nice for us. It was really sweet. Thank you so much for the advice!!

  • Centsably Creative Centsably Creative on Jun 29, 2016
    I love Behr. Considering the priciness of ben Moore, the quality is not so much better than Behr to warrant it. Do not use olympic, you will have to use twice as much but Valspars Reserve is incredible for deep or super bright colors because it has an illuminating quality that really makes the colors pop! ( I am a home stager so i have used them all. You only need primer if there are 1) stains on the walls, 2) a huge contrast from the color you are going to use(dark to light etc.) Grab some cheap, yes, i said cheap, rollers , roller covers, a paint pan or two and a bunch of throw away liners. i do not clean pans or rollers, i throw them away. If you are going to re-use with same color (second coat) place them in a large gallon zip lock bag, handle and all, remove as much air as possible and seal around handle. you can tape it round if you like. Now this is important....buy a Wooster short handle-angled trim brush. they have a rubber handle for comfort and are the best for trim. on this you do not skimp. they are $5-$6 but worth every penny. also pick up some cheap dollar trim cups. i get most of the throw aways at walmart. oh, and have fun!

  • Deanna Nassar Deanna Nassar on Jun 29, 2016
    I see others have given you great ideas. Did any of them mention drop cloths? You'll need something to cover the floors for those drips/spills.

  • Me Me on Jun 30, 2016
    Hillela, I am a professional interior painter 25+ yr exp. First thing I must say is Behr is THE WORST paint on the market today! It will ruin your brush & roller sleeves. Use Benny Moore of Dulux or Sherwin Williams. Invest in good tools, 3 in 1 tool, a 2 & 1/2 inch angled sash brush - Purdy or Wooster are the best brushes, & cages. 3/8' roller sleeves for walls, (Micro Fibre sleeves leave a beautiful finish, wash up like a dream) 1/2" to 3/4' for stipple ceilings. Unless the colours are very dark you do not need to prime. You don't need to wash walls unless there is grease (stove area) use a degreaser on that area. Pull all nails/screw etc & fill with Drydex, it's pink, dries white, sand flush & prime with your wall colour at least 3 times to prevent flashing. Use Latex caulking and caulk all trim on doors/windows/base/countertops where they meet the wall. Pole sand your walls before painting & remove all electrical covers. If you are painting ceilings and trim start at the top work down.... with ceilings first, cut corners and around fixtures, (drop them if you can) roll them twice roll opposite direction on 2nd coat, then paint trim and always do the returns on the trim (the side that meets the wall) Base boards are done last. Do 1 wall at a time, cut bottoms first, cut tops in a 3 to 4 ft length, then roll while wet. (prevents flashing) Roll your walls in strips roll from top to bottom back roll to smooth out any heavy paint, continue cut/rolling. Paint your base last. Tips for cutting ceilings and around trim, run a pencil along the corner where wall meets ceiling and cut to the line, same around trim this works like a dream! rather than removing hardware use a small artist brush & vaseline hinges, and door knobs & edges of ceiling fixtures if unable to drop them. Use drop sheets and plastic to cover counters lights etc. If you don't get finished the same day wrap your sleeves/brushes in plastic and cover your tray with plastic this will keep them wet overnight. Have at it and have fun! :)

  • UpState UpState on Jun 30, 2016
    Make sure the dogs & cats are not around - they can can provide a silly scene of a mess you just may not appreciate.

  • UpState UpState on Jun 30, 2016
    Ooooooo, so sorry. I hope you get a new one to replace your lost friend(s). Apologies.

  • Debi53 Debi53 on Jul 04, 2016
    Invest in a large fabric drop cloth for the floor. If you use a plastic drop cloth on the floor, it will not absorb any drips or spills. If you walk across it, you will get wet paint on your shoes and track it everywhere. A heavy duty canvas drop cloth will absorb spills and drips and you can use it again and again. If it gets really dusty, take it to a laundry mat and wash it in their large machines. We have had ours for years. Cheap plastic drops cloths are great for covering counters, furniture and everything else, but fabric is the way to go for floors.

  • Debi53 Debi53 on Jul 04, 2016
    Prep is the key to a beautiful paint job. Don't skimp on the prep. Patch all holes with as little spackle as possible. Scrape the spackle as smooth as you can when applying it. If you leave a lot of spackle, you will do a LOT of sanding. Sometimes you have to fill larger holes in stages rather than all at once. Sand the spackle smooth with a a sponge sander or just flat sandpaper-which ever is easiest for you to handle. Use a medium to light grade of paper. A trick I use to tell if it is really sanded smooth--close your eyes and run your hand over the area. If you can feel the edges of the spackle, you will see the edges when you paint. Prime a slightly larger area than where you spackled. I do 2 coats of primer. Then paint. If you do not prime the patched area, you will always be able to tell where you patched. Even if your paint has primer in it, use a separate primer on the patched areas. You do not want to paint your whole room and then be able to see every patch. Trust me on this one. I skipped the primer just one time and hated myself every time I walked into that room.

  • Diane Diane on Mar 09, 2021


  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Sep 09, 2021

    Hi, Buy a Paint Roller Pro system. No mess no sweat!