How to Paint Like a Pro

Your how-to guide for a DIY colour makeover
How to paint like a pro GlucksteinElements Ashbury sconce light
Benjamin Moore In Your Eyes 715; GlucksteinElements Ashbury sconce lights

When it comes to home renovation, some jobs are best left to a professional while others can be taken on yourself. If you are relatively new to the DIY realm and keen to dive into a project, then painting a room is a perfect place to start. It’s no secret that colour can transform the look and feel of a space. Whether you’re after light and airy or dark and moody, our guide has the tips you need for your next paint project.

Colour Palette

With so many paint colours to choose from, a paint chip is often not large enough to give a good understanding of how the hue will work in your room. Pick up tester pots of your top selections and paint a two-foot by two-foot swatch on your wall at home. Then take a look at the colour throughout the day to see how it changes in various lights.

Brian’s Tip: A test swatch is the best way to see how colour changes in your space. What looked grey in the store might appear blue at home.


With painting projects, the finished product is only as good as the preparation of the surface. Be sure to clean the walls so they are free of dust, dirt and debris. Check for any holes or cracks, patch them with a compound and sand them smooth once completely dried. Then wash the walls again to remove any repair dust. Tape off all the trim in the room to get ready for the primer coat.

The Tools

There is really no such thing as all-purpose when it comes to painting. Different rollers and brushes are designed for different surfaces and different finishes of paint. Making the right choice will depend on both these elements. While it might seem smart to save on materials, a good quality brush and roller will make a huge difference in the colour coverage, durability, and final appearance of your wall.


Just as choosing the right colour is important, so is picking the right finish of the paint. As a general rule, it’s easiest to choose eggshell for the walls, semi-gloss on the trim and flat for ceiling. High gloss finishes show every imperfection on the surface whereas matte is not as durable eggshell for high traffic areas. While both high gloss and matte finishes are beautiful, they should be used in specific applications, such as a statement wall or low traffic area.  

Brian’s Tip: The right finish is just as important as the right colour – the wrong choice could result in a less than perfect result.


Too much or too little paint can lead to patchy coverage, runs, wastage, and uneven drying time. A roller will take more paint than a brush, but properly loaded neither one should drip. Ten to fifteen passes in the tray should be enough to saturate the roller, which should be reloaded approximately every two feet of wall you cover. Use the “W” method to apply the paint to the wall, filling in a square around the shape and repeating until complete.

Brian’s Tip: For a modern look, consider painting the trim, the walls, and the crown moulding the same colour.

Photography by Kim Jeffery


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