In theory, it seems like the most basic of home renovation projects. Able to transform a room from dreary to divine, a fresh coat of paint is a valuable tool in the DIY arsenal. However, there’s far more to achieving a new look than just slapping a little Metropolis grey over that outdated perfect peach. While it’s unlikely Alexander Graham Bell was referring to painting when he said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”, his wisdom is just as pertinent.

parfp1First off, choosing the proper colour for the room is imperative. Take time to properly weigh your options. Look at colour samples under multiple light conditions/ times of day and test out possible paints on the existing wall. Even if you decide against the colour, it will give you motivation to get the job done.

parfp2To calculate the amount of paint you’ll need, Sherwin-Williams ( offers an online paint calculator. A rough estimate is one gallon for every 400 sq. ft. of wall space.

parfp6To properly prep a room for painting, remove as much as you can from the room, and cover other items with a dropcloth. Walls, along with doors and trim, should be washed thoroughly, and left to dry.

parfp3For tools, the most popular sizes for painting interiors are a 10 mm nap roller and two-inch cutting brush. The roller will help ensure a smooth finish, and reduce a pebbly look on the surface. In recent years, the introduction of microfibre rollers has reduced the workload for DIYers, allowing painters to paint more while dipping less.

parfp4When taping, make sure the surface is clean, dry and smooth before applying. Always use quality painter’s tape, and press along the edges of the tape to establish smooth contact with the surface and prevent bleeding.

parfp7When painting over glossy surfaces, they should be lightly sanded or primed to ensure proper paint adhesion. Some stores carry kits to test whether or not the existing paint is oil-based, or you can use methyl hydrate (gas line anti-freeze) or acetone based nail polish remover. Apply a small quantity of one of these products to a pad and rub vigorously on the painted surface. If the surface remains shiny it is oil/alkyd; if the paint is stripped it is latex.

parfp5Dents, nicks and sizable cracks should be filled and sanded and doorknobs, coverplates and ceiling fixtures should be removed when possible. Even for small patchwork, primer should be applied to ensure surface uniformity.

For more information on this and countless other home improvement projects, head down to the Calgary Home + Garden Show. Taking place Feb. 27 through March 2 at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park, there will be advice and inspiration for all. Visit for more information.