How to Paint a Room for the Holidays

How to Paint a Room for the Holidays

Level: Beginner

It’s the holiday season and that means it’s time to prepare for the festivities—and of course, houseguests. If there’s a room in your house that needs a refresh, now’s the time. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to refresh a room; all it takes is a few hours and a couple of fresh coats of paint. It’s a simple do-it-yourself project with big results for you and your guests.

Related Blog Post: In My Own Style’s take on Painting Neutral Over Bright Walls.

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    • Step 1: Prepare for Painting
      drop cloth

      Prepare the room for painting. Place drop cloths or tarps on the floor and remove window coverings, switch plates and outlet covers. Remove furniture or place it in the center of the room and cover with drop cloths. Use painter’s tape to protect windowsills, baseboards, door hinges and the ceiling perimeter, or anything else you don’t want paint on.

      Paint doesn’t adhere to dirt, so use a sponge or cloth to wipe down your walls with mild detergent and water, and allow the surface to dry completely. Note: Avoid washing with dishwashing liquid as the lanolin in it can leave a residue and lead to poor paint adhesion. If your walls have cracks, holes or other damage, apply spackling compound with a putty knife. Sand with fine-grit sandpaper once the repair spots have set. Clean off the dust after you have sanded. If your walls have more extensive damage, see the project Patch Holes in Drywall to learn how to make larger repairs.

      Helpful Tip

      If you need to make repairs, add an extra day to your plans to give the spackling compound time to dry.

    • Step 2: Prime the Walls
      sash brush

      Apply a coat of True Value® EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer before you paint so the paint adheres better and lasts longer. Additionally, priming is necessary if your walls are stained, or if you wish to use light-colored paint over dark walls, or when you’re painting a bright color, such as yellow or red. This will help ensure that stains will not bleed through your paint finish.

      Apply primer with a brush or roller. Start at the top of the wall by painting strokes in a “W” shape then fill in that “W” with paint. The painted block should be around 2’ X 4’ in size. Once you fill in the block paint another “W” below the block and fill it in. Continue this process until you are at the bottom of the wall. Afterwards, load your roller again and starting at the top, paint in one even motion all the way to the floor. Do this until you have covered all of the blocks you have painted. This will help face your paint in the same direction, which will give you better-looking results.

      Safety Alert!

      Open windows to make sure you’re painting in a well-ventilated area. Use a box fan placed in windows or doorways to help with ventilation.

    • Step 3: Paint the Walls
      paint roller

      Pour EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Paint into a paint tray, 5-quart paint bucket or a coffee can or similarly sized container. Using a brush, apply paint to the upper perimeter of the wall and to any areas you can’t reach with a roller. Use an angled sash brush to cut in at the edges where the walls and ceiling meet and lay on the paint about 1/4" from the edge of the surface. Only cut in as much as you can cover in about a 20-minute span. Use your paint roller to roll back into these areas before it dries. This will help blend the brushed and rolled area and give a smoother finish.

      Helpful Tip

      When you’re cutting in, look just ahead of the brush to ensure a straight line and give the paint a clean edge.

      Coat your roller and start at the top of the wall by painting a “W” then fill in that “W” with paint. The painted block should be around 2’ X 4’ in size. Once you fill in the block paint another “W” below the block and fill it in. Continue this process until you are at the bottom of the wall. Load your roller again and starting at the top, roll all the way to the floor in a single, even motion. Do this until you have covered all of the blocks you have painted.

      Helpful Tips

      One gallon of paint usually covers 300 to 400 square feet. Use our Paint Calculator for the exact amount of paint you need. Don’t forget to double your measurements for two coats.

      Slide the roller cover a little bit off the frame to get closer to doors, ceilings and windows.

      Touch up any missed spots when the paint is still wet to ensure an even sheen. Be sure to roll in the same direction that you painted originally.

      Before you begin painting a new wall, make sure you have enough paint left in the can to finish the entire wall. The same paint color can vary slightly from one can to another, so try not to use two different cans on one wall. If you are using more than one gallon of paint, it is recommended that you intermix the gallons.

      If necessary, apply a second coat of paint using the same technique as the first. Allow the first coat to dry for four hours before applying a second coat.

    • Step 4. Paint the Ceiling

      Mask the perimeter of the ceiling with painter's tape where it meets the walls. As you did when painting the walls, it's helpful to cut in with a small, angled paintbrush before painting the whole ceiling. Begin by priming the ceiling first with EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer. After the primer has dried, paint with True Value® EasyCare® Ultra Premium Ceiling Paint.

      First dip the roller in primer or paint, in the deep section of the tray. Roll it back and forth in the shallow end to get rid of excess primer/paint. When the roller is evenly covered, begin rolling out 6-ft.-square sections on the ceiling. Use a series of overlapping “W” strokes from right to left, then back from left to right using horizontal strokes. Make sure to “feather” the edges of the squares, using less pressure when you get to the edges. This motion prevents creating a line when the paint overlaps from another square. Keep working with the 6-ft. squares until the entire ceiling is painted. The ceiling should dry in a few hours.

      Helpful Tips

      You can use a ladder or scaffolding to paint your ceiling (and will most likely need one when doing brushwork), but for most of the job you can use a roller and a long extension pole to reach the ceiling.

      If painting a textured ceiling, be sure to use a thick-nap roller to ensure full coverage over bumps on the surface.

    • Step 5: Cleanup

      Pick up your drop cloths or tarps and close your paint cans. Dispose of empty paint cans appropriately. Cleaning paintbrushes and other tools can be made easy with warm and soapy water. Thoroughly rinse your roller covers and brushes in water until the water runs clear, and then place them in a brush/roller spinner, if you have one, to remove excess liquid. Store in their protective sleeves or hang them on nails or hooks. Pick up drop cloths carefully, being careful not to spread around any paint that may have gotten on them. Next, remove painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid removing any fresh paint. Remember, the longer it stays on, the harder it is to remove.

      Great job! You’re done and you have an inviting new space for your holiday guests!

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

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