There are 2 methods of painting,- the official"RIGHT" way, which you should always use if you own your place, or are planning to stay for more than a year. There is also the "CHEATERS" way which is perfectly appropriate for dorms, squats, stage, and cheap apartments. Both ways look similar, but the proper way is smoother, lasts longer and will save you maintenance in the future. In this Instructable I am putting in all the proper steps and will put in italics any parts that could be skipped if you're in a cutting corners mood.
Step 1: Choosing Your Paint
Here are two links that can help you find out how much paint to buy.
What finish do you need? A shiny finish is easier to clean dirt off of, but will show more imperfections. A flat (or non shiny finish) will cover up wall problems better, but is hard to get clean. The average wall is painted with an eggshell finish, sorta in the middle. Woodwork is commonly painted with a high gloss, which is very shiny. From flattest to shiniest the types are: flat, eggshell, satin, semigloss, high gloss, and enamel.
Primer? Quality? If you are making a color change you will need several coats of paint. A higher quality paint will cover better, meaning less coats. Primer is useful as a first coat when you are making a severe color change. It comes in white but can be tinted. Primer is also a good idea if your wall is in bad shape to help your paint adhere and last longer.
What type of paint? For indoor walls, there is no reason to use oil base paints. water based paint, i.e. latex or acrylic is fine. They are now marketing "greener" versions, that claim lower odor and better for environment . I have been told they don't work as well, as well as costing more. A more environtmentally concsious choice is to acquire "recycled paint" from your local Restore, or recycle outlets.
Step 2: Assemble Your Equipment and Supplies
1 gallon of paint for every 400 sq. ft.
the same amount of primer if drastically changing colors
1 roller and pan
edge brush OR an edge roller pad OR a small regular brush
painters masking tape
scraper OR metal spatula
stuff to protect the floor and furniture and YOU
1 big nail
tri-sodium phosphate OR spic and span OR vinegar and baking soda (this is for cleaning the wall, tri-sodium phosphate is used to degrease and abate lead. Lead was used in paint until the 1970s, so if you sand a wall that was around then, you should clean up very well. VERY WELL. )
tack cloth (this is a disposable sticky dry cloth that which is the first step of cleaning up , you could substitute a damp rag or paper towel which you should throw away.
Step 3: Get Ready
Pry open can, hammer large nail to make holes in lip of can every few inches as shown. This is so the paint will run back into the can. Replace cover.
Move or cover everything in the room.
Cover up the kids in big old stuff and cover or put your hair up.
Lock the cat in the bathroom.
Step 4: Prep the Surfaces
However most walls are not in good shape, often meaning your prep will take longer than the painting. If there are holes or cracks they should be repaired, but that's another Instructable.
If there are any places where the paint is peeling, scrape all loose paint off, then sand to smooth the edges. Remember, the difference between the bare wall and the old paint will show up as lines if you don't . Also sand any places where there are raised surfaces, such as spackle, crayon , tape residue etc.
After sanding, use your tack cloth to wipe down the surface. Then wash all surfaces, preferably with the tri-sodium phosphate.
Step 5: Gettin' Edgy
Step 6: It's Time to Roll
Step 7: TADA!
If your project is complete and you still have a fair amount of paint leftover, be sure to store the paint so you can reuse it. For best results, cover the opening of the paint can with plastic wrap and securely seal the lid by taping around the edge with a hammer. When you are sure the lid is leak-proof, turn the can upside down and store it at room temperature to avoid freezing.
If you need to get rid of extra paint and there is not a leftover paint collection or recycling program in your area, let your latex paint air dry away from children and pets. A small amount of paint in the bottom of a paint can is easily dried out by leaving the lid off. Once the paint is hard, discard the paint can with the lid off. Larger volumes of latex paint can be dried in a box with absorbent material such as shredded paper or kitty litter. Recycle the empty can with the lid off and dispose of the dried out latex paint as garbage. If the paint in the can is solidified all the way through, it may be disposed of as garbage with the lid off to prevent the build up of pressure in the can.
OH yeah, It,s time to let the cat out of the bathroom and give it a treat.