12 Tools You Need to Paint Any Room

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Painting a room can be a whole lot of fun – especially if you make it a family project, or rope in a bunch of friends to help out. As you are often able to finish a room in a single day, it can also be a great way to spend the weekend (provided you have where to sleep, as sleeping in a freshly painted room is a very bad idea). 

Before you get started, take a look at my list of the X wall painting tools you will need, just to save yourself a rushed trip to the garden centre, if you discover you are missing an item. 

12 Tools You Need to Paint a Room 

  • Wall cleaners
    • Microfiber cloth
    • Vacuum cleaner
    • Sponge
    • Bucket
    • Towel  
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint tray
  • Roller
  • Paintbrush
  • Drop cloth
  • Brush cleaner 
  • Extension pole
  • Ladder 
  • Putty knife
  • Sanding sponge or sandpaper
  • Personal protective equipment 
    • Appropriate outfit
    • Protective goggles
    • Dust mask
    • Shoe covers
    • Gloves

Wall Cleaner 

Before you start priming or painting a wall, you need to clean it. Painting on a dirty wall may result in an uneven finish and cause bubbles or ripples. 

Your goal is to remove all the dust, dirt and grime that may have accumulated on your wall. 

Use a vacuum cleaner on both the floors and walls, and then run a microfiber cloth across all the walls. Afterwards, wash the walls with a damp sponge and let them dry. Use a dry towel to remove any of the excess moisture. 

Painter’s Tape

Painter’s tape is a very important but often overlooked painting tool. No matter how careful you are, you won’t be able to paint in perfectly straight lines everywhere, so use the tape to mask any of the areas you don’t want to get paint on. 

Focus on applying the tape around your skirting board, the windows and doors, and around your outlets. 

You also want to get the size right, and choose a tape appropriate for the surface you are using it on. Wood and wall will require tape that adheres differently too. 

After you have applied it, run a damp cloth over the edges to seal it tightly. Check the release dates on the packaging, and aim to wait until the paint is completely dry to remove it. 

Paint Tray

If you are using a roller, you will also need a paint tray. 

The metal ones are more sturdy, but washing paint off of them will be quite the task. You can use a heavy-duty plastic tray instead, or buy plastic inserts for the metal tray. 

Aim to have one paint tray more than the number of colours you will be using, just as a backup. 

Roller(s) 

If you are covering a large surface, i.e. painting a wall, you will need to get yourself a roller. Don’t even attempt it with a paintbrush, it will take too long and the result will be too streaky. 

If you are using an oil-based paint, you will want to go for a roller made of natural fibres. Synthetic rollers will work better with latex-based paints. 

As for the size and nap* of the roller, it will depend on the area you need to paint. The shorter the nap, the smoother the finish, but do consult a pro in the store before you choose a roller, as they will be able to offer some useful advice. 

*A nap is the height of the fleece on the cover. The larger it is, the more paint it will hold. Rollers with short naps will work well on gloss and semi-gloss paint, while slightly larger naps work well with matte paints. 

Paintbrush(es)

You will also need a paintbrush to do the finer work in smaller areas. Use it to cut in and to get into any of the nooks and crannies. 

A brush with natural bristles will work well with oil-based paints, while a polyester brush is great with latex paints. 

Get an angled brush instead of a flat one for cutting in, as it will help you paint straight lines. A flat brush can be used to fill in larger areas, if you aren’t using a roller on them. 

Drop Cloths

Drop cloths will protect your floors and furniture while painting. You can of course use materials you already have at home, provided that they are large enough to cover the area you wish to keep paint-free, and that you won’t mind them getting dirty. 

If you want to make a drop cloth purchase, there are two options available. Canvas cloths are more expensive, but they last longer and will absorb the paint that spills on them. Plastic drop cloths are less expensive and can also be reused, but they are not exactly environmentally-friendly.

Even if you are moving all of the furniture out of the room, protect your floors, at least around the immediate area you are painting, and save yourself the trouble of scrubbing paint stains out of them. Remember to also give the paint enough time to dry before moving the furniture back into a freshly painted room

Brush Cleaner

Get yourself a good brush cleaner too that matches the kind of paint you are using. It will save you a lot of scrubbing, and will ensure you can use your paint brushes and roller again and again. 

You can of course just use warm water and detergent, but the brush cleaner will easily dissolve the paint that has become trapped deep in the bristles, so it is a decent time-saving investment. 

Extension Pole

If you are painting your ceiling, an extension pole for your roller is a must. It will significantly speed up the painting process, and you won’t have to keep climbing up and down ladders to get to every inch of ceiling with a regular roller. 

A two-foot pole is standard most paint jobs will require, but if your ceiling is much higher or lower than common, you may need to adjust this length. 

Ladder

A ladder may or may not be a necessity. Granted, it’s always a good idea to have a sturdy ladder in the house, and it can help you paint your walls more efficiently. 

You won’t need it to paint the tops of your walls, as you can use an extension pole for that. You will however need it to cut in well around the tops of windows and doors, so consider getting one for yourself, or just borrow one for the day. 

Putty Knife

A putty knife will help you patch any cracks and apply spackle. You can also use it to cut the painter’s tape loose if the paint is firmly keeping it in place.

Sandpaper or Sanding Sponges 

If your walls need a bit of smoothing, or if you want to smooth out any spackle, you can either use regular sanding paper, or a damp sponge. The latter works well with spackle, and the former is great for ensuring a smooth finish, and getting rid of any scratches left from the previous paint job. 

The lower the number of a sandpaper, the coarser it is, so start with a 60 or 80 grade paper, and work your way up to the high 100s. Get extra sandpaper, as it will be less effective the more you use it, and you don’t want to run out before you are perfectly happy with the smoothness of your walls. 

Personal Protective Equipment 

You may or may not want to wear goggles and a mask, and shoe covers may also not be strictly necessary, depending on the kind of paint you are using.

If you have chosen a low-VOC paint, you will be fine without a mask, but do wear one if you are painting with an oil-based paint, or if there is a lot of dust flying around from sanding.

Wear an outfit that is comfortable and that you won’t mind getting paint on, as it may or may not wash out. 

Primer + Paint 

Choose the best primer and paint you can afford, as it will always get you the best results. You can also often get your local paint store to mix up a batch of a premier brand’s colour, but do ensure the paint they are using is low- or zero-VOC. 

There are so many finishes and hues to choose from you can very quickly start to suffer from choice paralysis. Aim to have a general idea of the colour you want on your walls, and bring samples home if you can, to test out the final effect in your actual home. 

Wait for the primer to dry before applying your first coat of paint. Wait for the paint to dry as well, before you go in with that second coat. The more meticulous you are, the more satisfied you will be with the end result. 

Wrapping It Up 

Painting a room doesn’t require all that much equipment, and most of it you can get at your local hardware store or at a garden centre. Remember that the higher the quality of an item, the longer it will last, and the smoother the result will be, so don’t just go for the cheapest choice, and give your painting budget a bit of a think. 

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