Paint swatches and a paint brush

Interior Paint Tips: Paint Color Selection, Prep and Painting

Whether you're painting one room or the entire inside of the house, expert advice helps make the job go more smoothly. Follow these selection, prep and application tips for the best possible results.

Use Paint Selection Tools

Paint companies now offer much more than just color cards and samples. Three leading manufacturers each offer online tools to aid in the paint selection process.

sherwin-williams-color-snap-paint-selector Sherwin-Williams offers the Color Snap app and the Color Visualizer. Color Snap allows you to take an image of a real-world color and match it to one of the company's more than 1,500 paint colors. The app, available for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android devices, will even suggest a palette of colors that complement your desired hue and allow you to share colors through email and social media. The company's Color Visualizer lets you upload a photo or use one from its library to try out colors in an actual setting.

behr-mobile-paint-selector The Behr ColorSmart app for iPhone and iPad and the Benjamin Moore Color Capture app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad stack up well against the above tool, with a Benjamin Moore version for Android available but lacking some of the social media bells and whistles found in the Apple-friendly apps.

All of these tools help you make the most important choice for your painting project: color. You want to love the colors that end up your walls, not only because you will live with them but to avoid having to paint over a bad choice.

Prep Properly

No matter how much you like the colors you choose, they won't be at their best if poorly applied. Prepping the interior of a home proves much easier than the exterior, which could require pressure washing and paint removal. Inside, you can often simply prime and paint over existing paint.

Start by ensuring all surfaces are clean. Dirty walls may need a scrub-down, but at the minimum remove all dust and cobwebs before tackling a room. Apply drop cloths to protect surfaces not being painted, such as floors, and furniture; tape drop cloths in place to avoid creating a safety hazard. Finally, apply painter's tape to trim, windows and doorframes.

Only start the painting process once all of the above is done and you can work efficiently and safely in the room.

Apply the Paint

Paintbrush with color swatches When picking up your paint, ask the salesperson to recommend an appropriate primer. A primer allows you to get the most from your paint in terms of both appearance and coverage. Get advice on the best applicators while you are there, as well.

Start by brushing on paint around taped areas, where rollers will not reach without making a mess. Continue by choosing a corner and using a roller to apply paint in a 3-foot-by-3-foot W, filling it in without lifting your roller. Work your way around the room until done. Remove tape when paint is wet. Once walls are completely dry, apply tape again to trim, finishing the room by tackling all of the trim.

Ask Mr. Handyman for Help

You can use the above tips and go the DIY route, or at any point during the process you can ask your professional handyman for advice and direction. We can even tackle touch-up or a room or two for you.

In addition to having expertise you might lack, we also have all of the equipment necessary for painting projects. It may make sense to assign tasks to us instead of purchasing costly equipment you will not use regularly. For example, exterior paint jobs typically require a power washer as well as a sprayer if using that application technique proves best.

We also take on the more physically challenging aspects of the job. Many of our customers do not feel comfortable working on tall ladders, whether inside or outside, or they simply do not have the strength and endurance required to paint multiple rooms using extension rollers to reach the highest parts of walls and ceilings. Simply give us a call and we can tell you how we can help.

View our guide to home painting , for more painting tips on Interior, Exterior, Decks and Fences

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service now online.