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The secrets of painting a wall evenly

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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One of the greatest DIY conundrums that continues to vex people is how to paint a wall evenly. On the face of it, it seems like such a simple task and yet, painting evenly is something that so few people get right that we have decided to let you in on our top tips.

As with most things, a great paint finish is almost wholly dependent on adequate preparation and a patient application, with attention to detail and consistency being maintained throughout. To keep the process as simple as possible, we have numbered the steps in our guide, so as you approach your next painting task, you can refer back and check each stage off as you complete it. 

Are you ready to start painting evenly? Than let's begin.

1. Calculate how much paint you will need

Playroom/ Teenage Hangout:  Living room by JMdesign

Playroom/ Teenage Hangout


A crucial step in the whole process of painting evenly is sitting down and accurately calculating how much paint you are going to need and whatever you do, don't forget to take the ceiling into account too!
Even if you are going to be painting the walls and ceiling a different colour and not opting for an all white scheme, as seen here from Niko Wauters, you will need to calculate the total area that will be painted, taking into account the colour you are covering and the quality of your chosen paint. If in doubt, always get more than you need, as there is nothing worse than running out with a section of wall still to paint.

2. Choose your colour

 Living room by Espaces à Rêver
Espaces à Rêver

Pièce à vivre : salon—Appartement industriel chic & moderne 55m2—75010 Paris

Espaces à Rêver

With your amounts all calculated and verified, you can really hone in on the colour that you want to use. You will have already had a rough idea, but now is the time to get super selective. 

Don't forget to think about choosing something that can offer high coverage, durability and easy cleaning, as the last thing you want is to complete your new colour scheme, only to have to wipe a section and leave an uneven smear. Even matt paints can now be extra durable, so make sure you select the right manufacturer for your needs, not just the colour you like best and you can be sure of painting evenly.

3. Use the right equipment

There is a tool for every job and painting evenly is no exception as you can't expect to simply buy a paintbrush and use that on every part of the wall. Well, not if you want an excellent finish.

To paint a wall evenly, you should expect to buy floor and furniture covers, paintbrushes in various sizes, rollers of various texture finishes, a paint tray, masking tape and a telescopic handle to reach the tallest parts of a wall. In addition, any cleaning products needed to smooth the wall before application, such as sugar soap, will also need to be on hand. We hope you have a big shed in place to store all this equipment!

4. Assess the condition of the wall

Fabulous colour Diamond:  Corridor & hallway by Wools of New Zealand
Wools of New Zealand

Fabulous colour Diamond

Wools of New Zealand

Before you start painting, you will need to make sure that the wall to be covered is smooth, without defects, grease and moisture free and perfectly masked off, to prevent overspills of colour. If this is not the case, be sure to attend to any problems.

Filling holes in the wall is essential and we always recommend that you give a wall a thorough wash with an abrasive detergent, such as sugar soap, as this will ensure a clean and even surface to paint on. It should also go without saying that a wall suffering with damp is not suitable for painting, as the chalky surface will simply disintegrate on contact and prevent you from painting evenly.

​5. Work at room temperature

Before you start your project, if you want to be painting evenly, you will need to turn off any heating or air conditioning in the room to be tackled, as these can both affect drying times and lead to streaks.

Room temperature is optimum for making sure that your paint will dry evenly and produce a streak-free, high-end finish that looks as though a professional has completed it, so make sure that there is absolutely nothing set to come on that could affect this. Even having a window open while you paint could be an error, so if you need protection from fumes, wear a mask!

6. Stir your paint

 Bedroom by Weber Arquitectos
Weber Arquitectos

Recámara principal

Weber Arquitectos

It seems so obvious now we are writing it down, but so many people forget to stir their paint adequately before starting a painting project. 

If you have had your shade mixed, don't forget that there could be pigment drops around the edge of the can or unmixed within the liquid itself, which will impact your attempt to be painting evenly. The last thing you want is to roller the wall and see a huge streak of yellow coming through your new colour! We recommend using a long, wooden stick to stir your paint, as that way you can really take your time and make sure everything is evenly combined, without fear of the material reacting with your paint.

7. Start with the edges

 Living room by Preetham  Interior Designer
Preetham  Interior Designer

Minimalistic Interior spaces ---Living room interiors

Preetham Interior Designer

Now you are ready to start your task and with painting evenly firmly in your mind, we suggest that you start with all the edges, by using a flat brush and 'W' or 'M' motions. 

At the beginning, you need to ensure that you paint enough of a border for your roller to meet the edges, without risking contact with the skirting board, floor, coving or ceiling, so use long, fluid motions and a relaxed rhythm to gracefully create a thick edge. We always recommend using masking tape to ensure a crisp and perfect edge, but be sure that you use a low tack variety, or you could end up peeling more paint off than you put on!

8. Apply your paint

This is the nerve-wracking bit, especially if you have opted for a particularly vibrant shade, like this bedroom's fuchsia pink. As soon as you see your chosen colour going onto the wall in a greater volume, you will probably have a little wobble of uncertainty, but trust yourself and your taste and carry on!

Use long, calm motions and a well-laden roller to ensure a good, thick and even coverage that will dry perfectly and have visitors asking you how you are painting evenly so easily. Allow yourself plenty of time to switch to a telescopic handle if you need to and don't panic about small drips, as we will come to those in a second.

9. Finish up

Once your paint is on and you are happy that you did a good job, it's time to finish the process so you can leave the room to dry. 

Painting evenly is a matter of confidence and preparation, but once the paint is on, all you can do is tidy away your equipment, wash out all your brushes and rollers, open the windows and leave everything to dry. Don't be tempted to keep sneaking in for a look, just open the windows to air the fumes and let nature take its course for a couple of hours. 

10. Tidy up any spills

 Nursery/kid’s room by MARIANGEL COGHLAN

Recámara infantil basada en Harry Potter


If you had any minor spillages, wipe them up with a wet cloth as soon as possible and for any paint that managed to find its way to a carpet or rug, be sure to find out the best method for removing it and do so quickly. With most paints now being water based, you will usually find that cleaning up is easy and quick, but in your efforts to make sure you were painting evenly, it may be easy to miss a stain or two, so try to be vigilant.

Make sure that once your room is finished, you take the time to congratulate yourself on a job well done and if you have caught the decorating bug, learn from anything you did wrong and adapt your style for next time.

For more decorating inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: 10 Tips For Furnishing And Decorating Your First Home.

Have you got any other great decorating tips? Please do share them with us!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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