10 Interior Painting Tips to Get You the Best Results

If you’ve got a room in your home that needs updating, a simple coat of paint can give it a new lease of life.

We’ve put together 10 interior painting tips so whether you’re just giving your room a freshen up or a complete makeover, you’ll end up with a great end product.

It’s all about planning and having a vision, so once you’ve got this sorted you’ll be well on your way to getting fantastic results.

1. Plan your colour scheme

This is the top result when it comes to our interior painting tips. You’ll need to have a colour scheme in mind before you even think about going to the DIY store and buying paint. Make sure you plan the entire room if you’re going for a complete refurb to make sure that all your soft furnishings and furniture match.

2. Test your favourite colours

Narrow your choices down to a few, then buy some tester pots to decide which colour you like best. Instead of painting the walls like many people do, paint a big sheet of card.

Then lay out your flooring, fabric and other colours you have together so you can see how everything works. An advantage of painting on card instead of the walls is that you can take it out with you when you’re shopping for other furnishings.

Stick your card swatches on the wall and leave it there for a few days. You’ll soon find out the one you love and the ones you hate.

3. Write a specification

It doesn’t matter whether you’re hiring a painter and decorator or doing it yourself – you should write down your plan. List every area in the room and write down the colour and finish for everything.

Write down areas that you don’t want to paint, for example your woodwork, and you’ll avoid any mistakes from your pro or from yourself.

4. Prepare your surfaces

This is one of our interior painting tips. Before you start, it’s vital that you prep your surfaces so you get a perfect finish. This might mean just a clean, but often you’ll need to do a bit more work.

If you’re painting over dark walls, you’ll need to put a primer over the walls to avoid ending up with the old colour showing through. You might need to sand walls down if you’ve had any work done recently, or perhaps strip wallpaper. If you’ve got major bumps in your walls, it’s worth getting your walls replastered or skimmed so you end up with the best results.

5. Don’t be afraid to use one colour

Lots of people are worried about using one colour for the walls, ceiling and woodwork. But in a small room, it can create the illusion that there is more space and that the ceiling is higher.

Using a dark colour with white furnishings, perhaps in a bathroom, can actually work very well.

6. Don’t discount your ceiling

Often called the ‘fifth wall’, your ceiling is just as important as the other walls. As we said in number 5, painting the ceiling the same colour as the walls creates the illusion of height. But if you want to create a contrast to highlight a feature on the ceiling, choose an opposite colour.

If you still want your traditional white ceiling, to update the look you could go with an off-white or one or two shades lighter than your walls. It will create a softer feel that is less harsh on your eyes.

7. Highlight

Highlight a feature, such as your furniture. For example, if you’ve got white furniture paint your walls a bright and bold colour to make the furniture stand out.

8. Decide whether you want a feature wall

Don’t just paint one wall in a bright colour because it will just look like you’ve not got round to finishing your decorating. Add colour to one wall and draw attention to it by giving it a purpose. Lots of people use a bold wallpaper, but make sure you’re careful when you do this.

Our interior painting tips state that a feature wall should highlight something in the room, so make sure that it’s not just plain. Add artwork or put contrasting furniture along the wall.

9. Don’t stretch the room to its limits

Always work with what you have. Don’t try to imitate a look you saw in a huge room in your small living room. There is plenty of inspiration out there for every type of room, and any professional painter and decorator will be able to help you.

10. Work with light

Make sure you don’t choose a colour that doesn’t work with the amount of natural sunlight you have coming into your room. This is why testing out a few colours is so important as you need to see how colours work in both artificial and natural light.

Our interior painting tips should get you set up with your project, whether you’re getting a decorator in or doing it yourself. If you need a professional decorator, click ‘Start my project’ and fill in our online form. We’ll get you in touch with up to 4 pros who can give you a quote.

Painting time

Approx. 1 day

To paint the walls and ceiling of an average-sized room

Painting cost

Approx. £150-£350

To paint the walls and ceiling of an average-sized room


Advantages and disadvantages
  • Repainting your interior can make your home look bigger and better
  • Repainting is a relatively easy way to change a room’s look or style
  • Repainting can be a great, low-cost way to revamp your home
  • Painted surfaces can deteriorate over time so need repainting every so often
  • Painting can be messy so it’s important to cover or protect your furnishings before you begin