I don’t know about you, but I would change the color of my walls every other week if I could. Whenever the home improvement mood strikes, it’s tempting to hop on over to the nearest hardware store and get a roller or a brush and a big ol’ bucket of paint. However, that’s not really a well-thought-out plan, is it? What about all of the other things you need to paint a room?
With that in mind, I’ve decided to make this article a shopping list I can refer back to whenever I need wall painting equipment. Having all of your equipment ready for you to use is incredibly helpful if you want your painting projects to go as smoothly as possible. As the old adage goes, “well begun is half done” — so if you want your paint job to go well, here are some of the things you’ll need.
Equipment You Need to Paint a Wall
Everything goes so much more smoothly when you have the right tools for the job. If you’re planning to paint your walls, I suggest digging through your toolshed to get all of the things you need before jumping into the task. Hopefully, this list will help you remember everything the next time you need to apply a fresh coat of paint. So let’s begin with the items you’ll need to prep the room.
1. Painter’s Tape
Obviously, the number one item you need to paint a room is the painter’s tape. Okay, so maybe paint is also pretty important for this particular project. However, you wouldn’t believe the things a bit of painter’s tape can achieve.
You can use it to protect your trim from paint splatter (although a paint shield would work just as well). I’ve been known to use it to attach covers over the furniture. Pretty much any tape would do the job, although I’m partial to the ScotchBlue Painter’s tape.
But really, I’m not picky — some crepe tape will do in a pinch. Simply get the widest tape you have lying around; it’s going to be really important during the room prep.
In fact, if you roll some tape over your hand with the adhesive facing outward, you can also use it to pick up loose fibers off your rollers before you dip them in the paint. Nobody wants to see pulp on their walls.
My second and third points are all hardware tools, so you might as well bring your whole toolbox. The screwdrivers will help you unscrew outlet covers and light switches, as well as lighting fixtures if you’re planning on doing the ceiling as well. Just make sure that you have a transparent plastic bag to save all of those screws and covers.
In fact, I recommend having separate bags for each of them and labeling them clearly. You’ll thank me when you finish painting and realize that you would have forgotten which cover went where and with which screws.
3. Claw Hammer or Pliers
A claw hammer or pliers will help you extract nails and pins from your walls. Then, you’ll be able to start anew with clean, freshly painted, immaculate walls.
4. Canvas or Plastic Covers or Newspapers
When you’re getting your room ready for painting, you’re going to get as many of the pieces of furniture out as you can. However, you’ll probably leave the biggest things, such as wardrobes, bookshelves, and couches in the room. That’s really the most convenient solution.
In fact, I have a room where the wardrobe and shelves are actually screwed into the walls. On the one hand, that cuts my paint costs. On the other — I really have to keep an eye on my rollers when I’m passing next to the furniture.
If you want to rest easy, you can use a plastic tarp like this one or invest in one that’s made of canvas. Both are 9 by 12 feet and pretty affordable. Not to mention that you’ll be able to reuse them for different rooms or a few years down the line.
Personally, I use a thick plastic tarp on the floors and plastic and canvas drop cloths on the furniture. I cover the tops of the shelves with old newspapers and secure everything with tape.
If you need to reach shelves that are screwed into your walls, too, you’re going to need ladders. Actually, you can even get step-ladders or get a chair and call it a day. After you protect your furniture, the only thing you’ll use it for is to get to your ceiling. So if you want to have that crisp line near the ceiling, get a tall ladder to lessen your workload later.
6. Spackle and Spatula
If you had to extract nails from your walls with pliers, chances are — you now have some holes to deal with. Fortunately, doing so is going to be as easy as apple pie. Just get some spackle from the hardware store or online.
If the hole is minor, like those that are left by nails, you can even use your finger to plug the perforation. However, if it’s a larger problem, you can also use a scraper or a spatula.
I once had serious water damage on my walls take off several layers of paint. By the time I was finished painting, everything had looked as good as new. In fact, as you’ll see in my article on getting your walls ready for paint, there’s a way to fix everything, even if you’ve actually punched through the wall.
After you spackle your walls, you may get some uneven areas. Don’t worry — you can lightly sand over them. Usually, 220-grit sandpaper like the 3M SandBlaster is just abrasive enough to get rid of the uneven paint.
However, if your walls are really uneven, you could even go for something slightly harsher. Sanding blocks are also pretty popular, so you can decide which tool fits you best.
8. Protective Gear
After you use your sandpaper, you should expect a whole lot of dust everywhere. For that reason, you may also want to wear protective goggles and even a mouth and nose mask.
Nothing fancy — even a reusable cloth mask might work, as long as you’re not inhaling anything that could irritate your throat and lungs. Or you can simply cover your mouth with a bandana and wear glasses and a trucker hat.
9. Soap and Water
After you sand your walls — in fact, even if you don’t sand them — you’ll still need to clean them. For that, you’ll need a bucket, some warm water, a few drops of mild dish soap, and a sponge. Once again, I’ve explained all of this in my other paint prep articles. So if you want to know how to wash and how long it’ll take for the walls to dry, you can check out one of those.
10. Brushes and Rollers
Finally, you can get your brushes and rollers. But before you go completely crazy and get ten of each, let me tell you: you won’t need that many. At most, you’ll need:
- An angled brush for corners and detail work
- A wide roller and a slightly smaller one
- A roller extension pole
- If you’re planning to use two colors while painting, you can get two of each
There are all sorts of brush kits on the market right now, so you can just take your pick. Some of them come with a brush, a few rollers, and even a paint tray, which may also come in handy. In fact, you can check out my recommendations for the best brushes for a smooth finish now.
And if you’re worried about not being able to paint without leaving streaks on the walls — I’ve got you covered. You can check out my guides on achieving a streakless paint job with rollers or brushes.
11. Measuring Tape
You probably think that we’ve finally gotten to the painting portion of this article, but no. Before you shop for paint or even primer, you need to know the surface of the room. There are all sorts of paint estimators online that can help you determine how many gallons of paint you need per square foot.
A gallon of paint should be able to cover about 200 square feet — or 100 square feet twice if you end up needing another coat. Either way, you’ll want to measure your space somehow.
Many people choose to apply their paint directly on their walls. And if that’s what you want to do, I’m not going to stop you. However, you won’t catch me doing the same.
You see, priming your walls before painting them gives you a nice, even, and light base. You might not even have to double up with a second coat. Still, if you’re applying a darker or more vibrant shade over your existing one, you may be able to get away with not using a primer. However, if you want to cover dark paint with light paint — you’ll need the best primer for the job.
There is but one hard-and-fast rule when it comes to primers, though. If you’re going to be using oil-based paint, use a matching primer. For all other paint bases, you can use a latex primer.
There are so many different types of paint on the market that it can get really overwhelming really quickly. Well, if you’re looking for a quick breakdown, here are some of the kinds you’ll be working with:
- Flat or matte paint is the one we usually use on interior walls. That type of paint is pretty unassuming, so you can be sure that it’ll look fine pretty much anywhere.
- Satin and eggshell finishes are better on accent walls. They have a slight sheen to them that can be really attractive in the right lighting, and they’re fairly easy to clean, too.
- Finally, there are also high-gloss paints. These are the easiest to clean, but you probably don’t want to see them on your walls since they’re better for wood.
Even these three don’t come close to covering the full spectrum of paint bases and finishes that exist.
14. Bucket and Stirrer
Finally, once I’ve picked out my paint, I like to transfer all of it into a single 5-gallon bucket. I just use any clean stick I have lying around to stir the mixture, but you can also attach a paint stirrer bit to your drill and mix it that way.
The best way to paint is to pour the paint from this bucket into a paint tray and close the paint bucket. However, I suppose you could also dip your brushes and rollers directly into the bucket.
If you prefer this method, you may also want to use a paint screen. The metal grid basically hangs inside the bucket, so you can scrape off the excess paint you scoop up with your brush or roller.
Wall Painting Supplies: Final Thoughts
If everything goes according to plan, you should be all ready to apply your fresh paint. All that’s left to do is throw on some old clothes, put on some tunes, and get to work! Remember — painting your home is supposed to be fun.
I know that this “super serious” list of supplies makes it sound like it’s not, but trust me. Laying everything out for yourself like this will only make the whole experience better. If you’re someone who’s had other people paint their walls for their whole life, this will teach you how fun and even meditative it can be to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.