Apartment Interior Painting: 6 Tips

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Interior painting is a simple way to change the appearance of your apartment. Whether painting your living room or your entire apartment, a paint job helps to freshen up your living space. Before starting, you should gain an understanding of the painting process, to ensure that things go smoothly.

1. Planning

Start by measuring the area to be painted to guarantee purchasing the correct quantity of paint. Buying too much paint is better than not buying enough, since paint lots vary in color. Determine what type of paint to buy, latex or oil, and select the color. Trial sizes of paint are useful for testing the color on your walls before investing in it. This approach is more accurate than using color cards for determining how the paint will look on your walls.

2. Supplies

Quality supplies create a better paint job. Good brushes and rollers make applying the paint easier. Depending on how you plan to apply the paint, you may need to purchase brushes, rollers, application pads, trays, drop cloths, painter’s tape, and wall patching supplies.

3. Protecting Furniture

Arrange for help in moving your furniture out of the way. Smaller items can be placed in another room or in an apartment storage area. Move your larger pieces to the center of the room, away from the walls. Everything left in the room should be completely covered with drop clothes for protection from paint drips. Avoid damaging your floors by covering them with cloth or plastic drop cloths.

4. Surface Preparation

Good surface preparation is the key to a quality paint job. For interior painting, this requires patching any defects (holes or cracks) in the walls, ceiling and trim. Using spackle and fiberglass drywall tape to repair large cracks provides a smooth surface. After patching the walls, wash them with TSP (trisodium phosphate), prior to painting.

5. Technique

Proper painting technique is important for even, streak-free paint coverage. This involves a method called “cutting in,” whereby you paint the outer edge of each surface (wall or ceiling) using a paint brush or an edger (a sponge type brush). Cutting in makes it easier to fill in the rest of the wall without touching an adjacent wall or ceiling with your roller.

Roller technique is also important. Knowing how to fill the roller properly and how to spread the paint evenly on the wall takes practice. Fill the roller in a tray and then paint a zigzag “W” pattern on the wall before filling in the space within the “W.”

6. Cleaning Up

Knowing whether you need a brush cleaning solvent (for oil-based paint) or water (for latex paint) makes cleaning up easier. When you finish painting, clean your brushes promptly and hang them by the handle to dry. Then, put on the covers they came in to protect the bristles. Clean all paint trays before the paint hardens. Leftover paint can be stored in a glass jar or other small sealable container to avoid storage of large paint cans.


Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.

One Response to “Apartment Interior Painting: 6 Tips”

  1. August 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm, AT A Glance Decor said:

    Painting a room definitely makes the space feel fresh and new Thank you for your tips on how to make that possible!


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