How to Paint a Bedroom
Project Checklist
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP) or substitute
  • 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
  • Paintbrushes, at least one of each of the following
  • Rollers and roller covers in widths and fabrics for the surface and finish you choose
  • Paint trays and liners
  • Extension poles and/or a stepladder
  • Buckets, cans and jars
  • Stir sticks
  • Lightweight patching compound
  • Wide-blade scraper
  • Putty knife
  • Edge pads
  • Sponge mop
  • Sandpaper - medium and fine grit
  • Sand sponge for trim and molding

Are you ready to tackle the art of transforming one of the most intimate rooms in your home? We've made it easy for you, with step-by-step instructions and helpful online tools and resources to help you get the job done.

Step 1 —Select Your Color Palette

A bedroom is a personal retreat within your home. Whether you're going for "sweet dreams" in a child's room, a spa-like feel in the master suite or "make yourself at home" for that special guest, the wall color you choose is the key to setting just the right tone. Go to Explore Colors for tips on how to achieve your ideal look and feel.

Room size, wall height, architectural elements and light source are also important considerations when making your color or design choices. Our color experts offer the following suggestions:

  • Ceilings create an opportunity to introduce another color or dimension to the room.
  • Try a darker tone on a tall ceiling or a lighter color if the walls are dark. Light source varies from room to room, and home to home, and thus could impact the "look" of a color.
  • Try the sample paint on the wall and view the color throughout the day. Choose a color based on how it looks when you are most often using the room. Highlight unique architectural elements with dark, rich colors. In historic or architecturally significant homes, these colors will highlight the beauty of its heritage.

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

Any finish can be appropriate for bedrooms. How you use your room should help determine the best finish to apply:

  • Flat, matte finishes are perfect for elegant rooms, like a master suite or guest bedroom. These gentle, soothing finishes conceal flaws and thus are an excellent choice for older walls. You may also want a matte finish if your room is awash in sunlight, to avoid reflection and shine.
  • Satin and eggshell finishes are best in high-traffic areas, like a child's room. Clean-up is easy, typically requiring only a damp cloth.
  • Semi-gloss finish is ideal for detailed woodwork and wainscoting (wall panels that typically end at a chair rail, or at eye-level height). The gleam it produces creates a pleasing contrast against your matte or satin finish walls.


Step 3 —Planning

Are you painting a large room, perhaps two? You may want to spread the project over two days, such as a weekend. Prepare the room(s) on day one and save the actual painting for day two. If you're feeling ambitious and want to tackle it all in one day, pace yourself and try not to cut any corners during the "prep" stage.

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 you wash your hands after your prep and paint work and then consider ordering a pizza to celebrate your progress after a productive day.


Step 4 —Clear the Room

  • Move the furniture. Make sure to avoid overextending yourself. Good lifting techniques, such as bending at the knees and not the back, will ensure you don't get sidelined before the project actually gets underway.
  • Remove drawers and/or get help when moving heavy furniture.
  • Remove small furnishings from the room and move heavier items to the middle of the room, where they can be protected with drop cloths.
  • Remove any hardware.
  • Take off electrical outlet covers, keeping all screws and fasteners together in a zipped plastic bag for easy replacement.
  • Tape all electrical, cable TV and telephone fixtures with painter's tape.
  • Tape a small plastic bag around door knobs.


Step 5 —Protect the 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.

Helpful Information
Prepping Trim and Special Surfaces
Difficult Surfaces
Woodwork and molding:
Woodwork and molding: Proper preparation is critical when painting woodwork—the touchups you do here will create the smooth surface you seek once it is painted.
  • Fill in dents and rebuild chipped corners with wood filler
  • Use patching compound on scratches and smaller cracks
  • Sand the dry surface with 180-grit paper and wipe away the dust
  • Use a hand vacuum with a brush attachment to clean dust and debris from woodwork and door frames
  • Tip: With contoured or intricate trim or molding, use a sanding sponge rather than sandpaper. The sponge gets at places the paper can't reach, resulting in a more uniformly smooth surface.
    Trick of the Trade
    Use a hand vacuum with a brush attachment to clean dust and debris off woodwork and doorframes.
    Repairing Woodwork
    With eggshell and semi-gloss finishes, every imperfection shows through. So proper prep is critical when painting woodwork. Fill in dents and rebuild chipped corners with wood filler. (Most woodwork is typically painted semi- or gloss.)
    Use spackle on scratches and smaller cracks. Keep sanding and filling till you get it right—the end results are worth it. Finally sand the dry surface with 180 grit paper and wipe off all the dust.
    Bare Woodwork
    Use a latex or oil-based specialty primer that is formulated to block stains.
    Glossy Painted Surfaces

    Prime your glossy surfaces to promote adhesion of the top coat.
    There are three ways to prime a glossy surface:

    1. Use a latex or oil-based primer formulated for glossy surface adhesion.
    2. Use a liquid deglosser, following all label instructions.
    3. Scuff the surface with 180-grit sandpaper. The scuffing will help the new paint adhere better. Before painting, wash the surface with trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a substitute, according to the manufacturer’s instructions; rinse with water and let dry.


    Step 6 —Remove Old Paint and Prep Walls

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

    Using a sponge mop, wash all surfaces with a solution of TSP and water (according to the manufacturer's instructions). Rinse with water and let dry thoroughly.

    Tip: TSP is typically found in the paint department near the solvents. We recommend TSP because it is a non-abrasive, all-purpose cleaner that can be used on practically any type of surface. It is also a concentrate, which makes it a bit stronger than most ordinary cleansers.

    Need to remove wallpaper?


    Step 7 —Fill Cracks and Holes

    Apply a lightweight patching compound to surface cracks or holes, using a putty knife; cover a little past the edges. Use the putty knife to smooth your surface. Let it all dry thoroughly. If more smoothing is desired, sand with fine grit sandpaper. Repeat these steps, being careful to let each layer of compound dry until you've achieved a perfectly smooth surface. For large areas, traditional drywall patching techniques are recommended.

    It will be necessary to prime over the patching compound. Make sure the compound is fully dry before priming.


    Step 8 —Clean and Dry Surfaces

    Moving from top to bottom, and using an ordinary sponge mop, clean the ceiling and walls thoroughly with TSP and water (according to the manufacturer's instructions). Rinse well and let dry.

    Get rid of dirt and dust. Vacuum and dust as much of the room as possible, especially along baseboards. Particles can get in the paint or on the brush and create quite a mess —leaving a bumpy result on your walls.

    For large areas, use a mop to wash all surfaces with a solution of TSP and water (according to the manufacturer's instructions). Rinse with water and let dry thoroughly.

    Tip: TSP is typically found in the paint department near the solvents. We recommend TSP because it is a non-abrasive, all-purpose cleaner that can be used on practically any type of surface. It is also a concentrate, which makes it a bit stronger than most ordinary cleansers. (Please note: Due to regulations, TSP may not be available in all areas.)

    Clean moldings and window sills with sponges or rags before you paint. Get rid of dirt and dust. Vacuum and dust as much of the room as possible, especially along baseboards. Particles can get in the paint or on the brush and create quite a mess —leaving a bumpy result on your walls.


    Step 9 —Prime the Walls

    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 10 —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 11 —Cut in

    "Cutting in" is a technique that helps you achieve clean lines at the corners and edges. Using an angled 2" trim brush, make a series of short strokes away from the edges where the walls or ceiling and wall meet. Work in three-foot sections so you maintain a wet edge.

    Tip: Paint pads make cutting in around door and window frames a cinch. They save time and deliver a reliably uniform edge. Keep the wheels very clean to prevent marking the wall, and work in three-foot sections to maintain a wet edge.


    Step 12 —Paint the Ceiling and Walls

    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 3-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. The plastic wrap will keep the paint wet so the roller can be reused later that day.

    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.

    Need a refresher on loading a roller or brush?


    Step 13 —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, picture frames, and chairs —Almost anything in the room that you want to keep but need to update in order to complement the newly painted room.


    Step 14 —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 to stay moist until you are ready to paint again.

    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.


    Step 15 —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.

    Locate a store
    Retail Locator
    See How-To Videos
    Watch a project from start to finish.
    Watch Videos