How to Paint a wall?

Got a quote and it’s just too expensive? Thinking of DIY however you don’t know where to start?

That was our problem when we wanted a fresh coat of paint.  To minimise the risk, we decided to start with the bathroom since the risk of mucking up was low.  After extensive research (e.g. reading multiple websites, watching u tube videos, and speaking with friends who have done it) here is my conclusion (with the assumption that you don’t have to paint the ceiling).  Hope this helps.

Things you need before you start?

  • Sugar Soap – I used Selley’s sugar soap. It’s amazing how squeaky clean your walls fill after using this product. I definitely am thinking of using this as part of general household cleaning.
  • Putty – There are several types of putty depending on what you want to do (eg. thick coat, then coat, big hole to fill etc).  I find a combo of Selley’s spakfiller and Polly fill skim coat and mirror finish will cover most jobs. I particular like the skim coat to fill fine surface imperfects.
  • Brush – Get one with a slanted brush as it makes it easier to work in the corners. I highly recommend the brand Rota Cota. Trust me the extra investment is worth it. Less drips and holds more paint.
  • 2 x Rollers
  • Tip: Buy one roller that has a shorter “nap” as less paint is required for the second top coat. Nap is the length of the roller pile. Guidelines on the appropriate nap length are:

    • The rougher the surface, the longer the nap length. AND vice versa (ie. The smoother the surface the shorter the nap).
    • Acrylic paint on smooth surface – about 10mm recommended.
    • Invest in a some lambs wool nap. They absorb more paint and if definitely less effort. Once again Rota Cota has proved good.
  • Pole extension for roller
  • Paint Tray – Make sure your paint tray is large enough for your roller.
  • Paint Tape – DO NOT buy the cheapest tape. They are expensive for a reason. The cheaper tapes stick to the walls and are harder to take off. It may also pull off some of the original paint. To be safe stick to the blue one (eg. 3M Scotch). Avoid the green one particularly when you would like to leave the tape on for 1-2 weeks. Note: Tape is important to get a sharp cut/edge.
  • Sand Paper – If you’re doing more than one room or the surface is really uneven, I recommend buying an electronic one. We did it by hand. It works, just a little tiring. You’ll need 2 grits – 120 grit generally works well. I would keep another one that is rougher to work on the really uneven surfaces.

Note: Rota Cota is usually not available at Bunnings. Go to your professional paint stores like Inspirations Paint.


  1. Remove fixtures (eg. light switches. In our case we removed the shower curtain rod). The less fixtures you have to work around, the better.
  2. Floor protection – Get some drop sheets or plastic to protect the floor.
  3. Lightly sand the wall and repair uneven surfaces using putty. Wait for your putty to dry before lightly sanding these.
  4. Dust down the walls and clean with sugar soap.
  5. Paint architrave, skirting boards and window frames. Wait to dry.
  6. Tape architrave, skirting boards and ceiling.
  7. Tip: Once you’ve tape the bottom trimming, a good tip is to stick some newspaper to the end. This will provide extra drip protection for your floor and skirting.

    Tape some newspaper to your paint tap to provide extra protection since floor protection can move.

  8. Undercoat – 1 coat is suffice. An undercoat is not always required.  If the paint is  peeling, or you feel the surface is not rough enough for the paint to adhered, or the original paint has a different base (eg. oil rather than water base), then applying an undercoat can help the paint last longer. Remember an undercoat is always cheaper than 3 coats of paint. Use the undercoat that complements your top coat (ie. Acrylic undercoat for acrylic top coat).

    We applied an undercoat to this wall as the more we sanded the more the paint seemed to peel 😦

  9. Topcoat – Best practice is 2 coats. Remember to “cut in” first. By “cut in” I mean painting the edges first with a paint brush. Then use the roller and start in the middle, spreading the paint thinly outwards. I found this video on u tube helpful:-
  10. Remove the tape.

Useful Tips:

  • Use Dulux or Wattyl paint or you may need 3 top coats. The “other” brand are more watery. We specifically pointed this out to the staff at Bunnings and they assured us Taubman is different. It’s a lie!!!
  • If you have preferences in paint brands, you are able to get wattyl colours in Dulux bases or vice versa. Be aware however that the same colour can have a slightly different tone when using a Wattyl vs a Dulux base.
  • To hide uneven surfaces it is best to use Low Sheen Paint (glossy emphasises uneven surfaces).
  • For trims, generally use glossy paint as these are easier to clean. This applies to painting walls or fences outdoor dirt is easier to hose down.
  • There are specific bathrooms/kitchens paints with anti-mold properties. Alternatively you are able to buy standard paint and mix anti mold solution. Just ask your local paint supplier.
  • For trims – what is the difference between aqua enamel versus using oil base trims? Aqua enamel is water base and the advantage is that it does not go yellow when there is no sunlight. Oil based paints for trims go yellow when not expose to sunlight and is a pain to wash (ie. turpentine) however it is more durable.

So hope the above helps.  Some results to motivate you. Good luck!

Before bathroom was painted. Wall plain white.

Before painting - Plain white

After Painting

After Painting - Taubman base using Dulux Rattle snake

Tip: When selecting the colour it is important to consider what you see outside the room and vice versa. For example, the wall in the corridor complements the bathroom. The selected colour also brings out the brass colour in the bathroom providing a warmer less sterile look and feel.

Before painting

After Painting - Wattyl 'Wild Yukon'. Darker walls makes the room more intimate and emphasises the lead window and intricate ceilings.

Before - Previous owner's furnishing. Burgundy creates a "dated" look. Floor and fireplace both had burgundy/red tones.

After - Floor stained walnut black, feature wall is Wattyl 'English castle', other walls are Porter 'Rubble' in Wattyl base, trimming and fireplace is the whitest you can get.

Before - Dull room, yellow trimming, grey/muddy walls

After - Dulux Breezy, 1/4 strength Breezy

Before - Dated look with persian runners and walls with a yellow tinge. Can't really see it in the photo.

After - Walls in Porter "White Truffle", Door was white, now in Wattyl 'Wild Yukon'

Child's chair provides a place to sit to put on your shoes, hooks a convenient location to drop your handbag or jacket, shoe cabinets provides a space to drop your keys etc. Space must be practical

Before - Grey dull walls, Trim and architraves are yellow.

After - selected green as I find it soothing.


7 thoughts on “How to Paint a wall?

  1. Pingback: Renewing the look of a kitchen – The cheap way « Pingheng 平衡

  2. Man this is awsome! I just bought eveything and started to paint mine this weekend. same as you know nothing about painting and gone thru all website and youtube. I am very impress with your work and love ur before and after picture. Thanks for the great tips it truely help alot! wish me luck!

    • No worries glad my website helps. It’s quite satisfying seeing the results. Remember to invest in good brushes, rollers and painter tape as it makes a huge different. Also, it’s all in the prep work (ie. sanding and putting up holes) for good results. Good luck!

  3. Pingback: So that is why we pay painters…….. | Pingheng 平衡

    • Unfortunately I am not familiar with wattyl oriental white. Just an advice that other colours and llighting will changes the look/colour of your paint. The tone u select should match the tone of other colours on the wall. Places like inspiration paints can help as they have colour consultants.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s