How to paint a room

Decorating a room is relatively facile; you simply pick a weekend, buy paint, rollers, brushes and masking tape, and do your best. Achieving a near-professional result, however, takes skill, experience and quality materials. WIRED can’t help you with the experience part, but the right tools can go some way to achieving a decent finish.
The Graco UltraMAX Cordless Handheld Airless Sprayer, £640 (above), uses 18V DeWalt battery packs for convenience, can spray 4.5 litres in a single charge and – with up to 138 bars of pressure – even thick paint is fanned out into fine droplets.


Airless spray painting is significantly faster than rolling, often requires only one coat, and results in the application of any area looking a little less, well, DIY. By using a paint bag system, it reduces any ensuing mess and clean up time, plus it can be sprayed through 360° without gravity spoiling the flow.
If a sprayer seems a little excessive, even your choice of masking tape can make a difference to the quality of finish. Regarded as the best by professional decorators, Scotch Blue Multi-Surface (£5) sticks reliably with no residue, and leaves a clean line after removal, just remember to score with a blade before unpeeling.
Use a paintbrush to cut in at the edges and corners, and ensure you load enough paint to cover the brush halfway up the bristles. Scrimping on paint will dry the edges of your brush and roller leading to lap marks. When rolling large areas, work from the middle in a ‘W’ or ‘M’ motions for even distribution.


Paintbrush and roller tech has changed very little over the years, but Czech industrial designer Petr Novague has other ideas. His Red Dot-winning brush design for Spokar features a hollow handle, designed to reduce the materials needed and be lighter to use. It is manufactured in one piece incorporating the ferrule (the bit attaching the bristles to the handle), eliminating an entire stage of the production process.
Cheap brushes and rollers tend to shed bristles and lint, leaving streaks and blotches on the wall, so spending more will mean a cleaner finish. The Harris Ultimate collection guarantees no bristle loss and has been engineered to cover walls more thoroughly than its better-than-budget economy range, saving precious time.
Now your walls and woodwork look sensational, you’ll still need to re-hang any pictures and mirrors. A quality 18V cordless drill like the DeWalt DCD778M2T (£149) is more than enough for most DIY tasks, while the Bosch Atino (£49) all-in-one line laser with integrated tape measure, which sticks to a range of surfaces and instantly measures 0°, 90°, 180° and 270°, is an absolute must.


Our new favourite paint brand, Lick (£38 for 2.5 litres) has a select palette of grown-up shades and their superb website expertly narrows your choices with a few key questions. Colour testers are also delivered as ready painted self-adhesive paper for zero faff.
Expert hack
Lucas London, founder of Lick Paint, eases the stress of painting a ceiling. “Use a ladder and start with the corners. Using a 1 inch angled brush, paint along the edge of the ceiling to cut in by about 3 to 4 inches around the perimeter. Speed is important, so use a roller and work in small sections while your cut in is still wet. Always roll in the same direction, following the same lines to reduce lap marks. Not sure which way you should roll? Consider where the light is coming into the room and where will the majority of visitors be entering into it. Ideally, you want people to look across the roller line marks rather than down them.”
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