How to Paint a Bathroom
Project Checklist
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
  • Appropriate chemical resistant gloves
  • A painter's hat, goggles, dust masks
  • Vacuum with brush attachment
  • Cloth or plastic drop cloths
  • Painter's tape (narrow and wide)
  • Plastic bags (large and small)
  • Newspapers
  • Paint brushes, at least one of each of the following: 1", 2-3", 4-5"
  • Rollers and roller covers in widths and fabrics for the surface and Finish you choose
  • Paint trays and liners
  • Extension poles and/or a step ladder
  • Buckets, cans and jars
  • Stir sticks
  • You may also want:
  • Lightweight patching compound (optional)
  • Wide blade scraper (optional)
  • Putty knife (optional)
  • Edge pads (optional)
  • Sponge mop (optional)
  • Sand paper - medium and fine grit (optional)
  • Sand sponge for trim and molding (optional)

Bathrooms offer a unique opportunity to create a dramatic impression in a functional space. At the same time they produce special wall cover challenges, when the presence of a shower and/or bathtub causes high levels of moisture and a need for frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

Step 1 —Select Your Color Palette

Are you looking to create a tranquil spa retreat? Maybe you'd like to add drama and flair to impress your house guests?

We help make it easy for you. Go to Explore Colors for tips on how to achieve your ideal look and feel.

Valspar offers a variety of online tools and resources to help you select the right look for your bathroom. We'll even help you estimate how much paint you'll need to get the job finished.

Because a bathroom takes up a smaller area than many painting projects, there's a risk of underestimating the amount of paint you'll need. Remember to purchase enough paint for at least two coats. We'll help you estimate how much paint you'll need to get the job finished.

Valspar also offers a variety of online tools and resources to help you select the right look and colors for your accent wall:

Idea Gallery
Online Painter
Paint Calculator
Interior Decorative Painting Tips


Step 2 —Choose a Paint Finish

We recommend you choose a semi-gloss finish for the bathroom walls, to address frequent moisture and cleaning issues that are common in this busy space.

Valspar offers a kitchen and bath line of paints that are specially formulated to perform well in high humidity. Utilizing advanced technologies, these high-quality durable paints are designed to withstand frequent washing and maintain the beauty of their finish. They are mildew and stain resistant and dry to a lustrous semi-gloss sheen.

We also recommend a high-quality, durable semi-gloss paint if you plan to paint the bathroom cabinetry.


Step 3 —Planning

A bathroom is generally a small space and should therefore be an easy day project. Choose the right painting clothes. Wear something you won't mind getting paint on, like an old pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Don't forget to reward yourself (and anyone who helped). Make sure to wash your hands after the prep and paint work and then consider ordering a pizza to celebrate your progress after a productive day.


Step 4 —Clear The Room

Let's get started:

Move any countertop displays or accessories. You may also want to remove wall displays or decorative shelving. Remove any hardware. Take off electrical outlet covers, wall and (if applicable) cabinet door hardware, keeping all screws and fasteners together in a zipped plastic bag for easy replacement. Tape a small plastic bag around door knobs and fixtures.


Step 5 —Protect Floors and Woodwork


Cover the floors completely with drop cloths. Try to lay the drop cloths as close as you can to the baseboards. We recommend you use cloth drop cloths because plastic doesn't absorb paint; a spill on plastic can create a slippery situation and quite a mess, too. If you do choose to use plastic, cover it with newspaper.

Tape along the top edge of the baseboards using a quality painter's tape with at least a 2" width (look for products that contain specific properties to handle your unique job or surface). Also tape any door or window frames or moldings that are not going to be painted.

Tip: By taping your baseboards and other framing, you make cutting in faster and easier. We recommend painter's tape because masking tape dries out too quickly and becomes difficult to remove. Once you have applied the painter's tape to the baseboard, pass over it with a putty knife, or a credit card, to smooth out any bubbles and ensure adhesion. This will keep any paint from getting underneath the tape. Remove the tape while the paint is still wet.


Step 6 —Remove Old Paint and Fill Cracks

Use a scraper to remove any flaking paint and make sure to wear goggles to prevent falling paint chips from getting into your eyes. Clear away debris from any holes or cracks with a dry paint brush or a vacuum with a brush

See the Helpful Tips below to find out how to remove wallpaper, fill the cracks and holes, as well as cleaning and drying the surface to be painted!


Step 7 —Masking

Masking an accent wall can be tricky because corners and borders between walls aren't always even. Create straight lines with the masking tape, so that the accented wall you paint is well defined. Get step-by-step details on masking surface areas.


Step 8 —Prime

Primer is essential to achieving professional-looking results. Bare wood, drywall, patching compound and plaster require primer to seal the surface. With proper priming, you will use less topcoat and the final color will lay rich on the top layer.

Check out our multi-purpose primers.

Tip: If you are repainting walls or woodwork in excellent condition, and/or you are not making dramatic color changes, priming is usually not needed.

Need to prime? Not sure which type to use? contact our Valspar technical support team, or call 1-888-313-5569 in the United States. They can help you determine if you need a primer as well as what type of primer you should choose.


Step 9 —Paint The Trim

It is best to paint the trim work before the walls are painted. Beginning with your baseboards, use a 2" angled tip/sash brush and paint around the room in one direction, so that you do not miss any areas. Next, paint the window trim, door trim and any molding. Remove tape before the paint dries. Need a refresher on loading a brush?


Step 10 —Painting Walls and Ceilings

After you have completed all your cut in work, the next area to tackle is the ceiling. Using a roller affixed to an extension pole, glide the paint in one direction, moving quickly to maintain your wet edge and avoid excess pressure.

Tip: For easy clean up, line your roller tray with a garbage bag.

Roll a three-foot wide shape of a "W" on the wall. Without lifting the roller, fill in the "W" Move vertically across the room, moving from side to side.

Tip: If you have to take a break from your painting project, instead of rinsing the brush or roller, tightly wrap the tool in plastic wrap or an airtight plastic bag. You can even leave it there overnight. The plastic wrap will keep the paint wet, so the roller can be reused later that day or even up to a couple days later.

Check your product label for dry times. Remember not to put anything against the walls until the paint is completely dry; otherwise, you'll be back to step one.

Click the arrows below to get helpful information for loading brushes or rollers and cutting in.


Step 11 —Finishing Touches

A professional decorator would advise you to carry your color scheme to the smallest detail.

Spray paint is an easy way to change the color of electrical covers, light switch covers, light fixtures, vases and picture frames —almost anything in the room that you want to keep but need to update in order to complement the newly painted room.


Step 12 —Clean and Be Green

More painting to do tomorrow with the same color? You don't have to clean brushes and rollers when you take a break. Wrap them in sealed plastic until you are ready to paint again. The plastic wrap will help keep the brush moist.

Tip: If paint has hardened on the handle or along the edge of the bristles, soften it with warm water so you can remove it before you begin to paint. Make sure you dry the brush before you dip it.

Project Finished? Don't throw away the rollers and brushes. With proper cleaning and storage, good painting tools can be reused many times. Reusing them saves you time and money and also helps the environment, because you're generating less waste.

Visit our Helpful Information tips below on cleaning your brushes and rollers, as well as excellent tips on being environmentally friendly with your paint storage, disposal and recycling procedures.


Step 13 —Celebrate!

Congratulations! You have successfully transformed a room in your home. Order in, take out, put your feet up and bask in the glory of a job well done.

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