1. Get the surface ready.
You want the paint to glide on smoothly, so be sure the surface is clean before you start painting. Remove any handprints, dirt, or scuff marks. Lightly sand any glossy spots to avoid streaks.
2. Select a paint sheen and color.
Ah, the choices! Many paint stores are making it easier to narrow down your choices by offering small trial sizes so that you can test the color at home and look for any variations in daylight and night. Lighting has a big effect on the way color appears. Remember: Higher sheen paints tend to offer more durability than flat paints, so use them in high-traffic areas. Stain or low-lustre finishes offer more warmth and depth than a flat paint. Consider a high sheen paint on the ceiling, which offers good reflection in the room.
3. Don’t go cheap on the paint.
It’s always tempting to save a buck, but it might not be worth it on paint. Painting is a big job, so you want the expense and quality to show. The Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute, a national painting education group, recommends purchasing top-quality acrylic latex interior paint, which will go on smoothly and allow for easy soap and water cleanups.
4. Choose the right paint tools.
If you’re using a roller to paint, select the right length of roller nap cover for proper paint coverage. The smoother your painting surface, the shorter the nap should be. Use synthetic materials, which are made from nylon or polyester, when applying latex or water-based paints.