How to: paint rooms like a pro

How to: paint rooms like a pro

We’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you get the best interior painting results!

how to paint rooms

There’s more to choosing paint than meets the eye. While you might agonise over which colour to select for each room, the finish is just as important – the sheen of the paint will have a major impact on whether the room appears
too shiny, too flat or dull, whether it will hold up over time and the intensity of your chosen colours.

It’s also important to consider which paints are harmful to your and your family’s health and the environment.


Paint finished for every room

The finish: high gloss 

This finish is best used sparingly on trims, doors and cupboards, as its highly reflective sheen can appear industrial in a home, if overdone. While very durable and easy to clean, it highlights surface imperfections and has an overwhelmingly shiny appearance when applied to walls.

The finish: semi-gloss

Semi-gloss is ideally suited to kitchens, bathrooms, children’s bedrooms, door and window frames, skirtings and trims. Semi-gloss paints are resistant to wear and tear, hold up well over time and are easy to wipe clean. However,
they tend to reflect light and appear shiny, so they’re best kept out of well-lit living spaces where they might become overpowering.

The finish: matte and flat 

Matte and flat paints are ideal for living rooms, adults’ bedrooms, hallways and ceilings. They’re great for hiding surface imperfections as they’re non-reflective and won’t draw attention to humps and bumps. However they’re the
most difficult to wipe clean and are prone to imperfections and weathering over time. Limit their use to rooms which are least likely to be messed in – kitchens and bathrooms are out!

The finish: satin 

Satin paints are often the safest and most versatile option for interior walls and can be applied almost anywhere successfully. Living and dining rooms, hallways, bedrooms, and even kitchens and bathrooms are all well suited to this not-too-flat, not-too-shiny option. Satin finishes are durable enough to be used on skirtings and trims too and are easy to clean. However, they may highlight surface imperfections, so ensure your walls are prepped and smoothed
before painting.

Oil- vs water-based paints

According to, there are many important differences between the two to consider before making your choice, including:

Water-based paints 

  • Non-flammable
  • Less odour
  • Reduced volatile organic compounds, meaning fewer harmful vapours
  • Can be cleaned with water
  • Usually dry to the touch in 20-30 minutes
  • Can usually be re-coated in about two hours
  • Non-yellowing
  • Gloss and semi-gloss sheen levels
  • Not able to produce a high gloss or a completely smooth finish
  • Full range of colours
  • Not always suitable for harsh treatment areas
  • Not suitable for all window frames, as blocking or sticking can occur

Oil-based paints 

  • Contain flammable solvents
  • Strong odour due to solvent fumes
  • High level of volatile organic compounds, meaning more potentially harmful vapours may be released
  • Can be cleaned with mineral turps
  • Usually dry to the touch in six-eight hours
  • Can only be re-coated after about 16 hours
  • Tends to yellow in the absence of UV
  • High gloss and semi-gloss sheen levels
  • Able to produce a brilliant gloss and a very smooth finish
  • Restricted colour range
  • Highly durable and resistant to wear and tear
  • Generally suitable on all window frames

Safe paint disposal

Paint and other chemicals used during the process are health and environmental hazards. Follow these steps: transfer excess paint to old newspaper or rags and allow it to dry, then dispose of it with household waste. Wash rollers and brushes in a disposable container, and then cover and leave the container overnight. Once the paint has settled to the bottom of the water in the container, let it dry out and dispose of it with the rest of the paint.



About Caitlin Geng

Your Family’s Content Editor, and a real word nerd who loves reading and writing. She was recently married, in 2018, and is a ‘mom’ to two loveable pugs. Caitlin received 3rd place in the ‘Galliova Up and Coming Food/Health Writer of the Year’ category in 2019!


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