Churchill magazine

Painting your own home

Updated on: 24 September 2020

painting own home

The correct order for painting any room is to start with the ceiling, then the walls and finally the woodwork and metalwork such as radiators and pipes. Ensure you have a reliable ladder if you need one – you can hire one from a DIY store if necessary. Ladders that fold out into a working platform are ideal for painting large areas like ceilings.

Then all you have to decide is whether you want a matt, soft sheen or silk finish? Matt is the best choice for walls and ceilings as it helps to defuse surface imperfections. Silk will highlight them.

The science of appliance

The traditional way of applying paint is with a brush. This avoids the mottle effect and splashing that you get with a roller, but is slower and requires a certain amount of skill. For general-purpose many people opt for a medium-pile roller and then use a small brush for the edges, corners and ‘cutting in’ around switches and sockets. 

Walls and ceilings


Textured ceilings can become powdery and dusty when old, in which case you may need to seal them first. You may also have to fill in any cracks on smooth surfaces with filler before you paint. Start painting in one corner and paint the edge in as you go. Apply the ceiling paint down about 2cm onto the wall with the first coat. When you apply the wall paint later you only have to ‘cut in’ to the ceiling line with the wall colour, which gives a cleaner line. 


Start painting in one corner and paint the edge as you go. ‘Cut in’ around switches and sockets as you go. Don’t worry about going over the skirting and doorframes a little bit. You can get a nice, neat line with the trim paint later.

Cutting in

You can get special brushes for cutting in that have bristles with an angled edge. Don’t overload the brush with paint, hold it like a pen and start from one corner to paint a straight line. Also start just below where you want the edge to be and slowly work the paint up towards the required line.

Say no to masking tape

Don’t be tempted to use making tape as the paint can easily creep under the edge of the tape. When you pull it off, the dried paint can rip off and expose patches of bare plaster and you’re back to square one! Once you have practised cutting in with a brush you’ll be surprised how neat and efficient it is. 

Roll behind the radiator

Taking a radiator off just to paint the wall can be a nuisance. Instead, buy a small roller that can help you reach as far past the area that you can see around the radiator as possible. 

Painting window frames, doors and skirting

Most people use traditional solvent-based paints such as undercoat, gloss, eggshell and satinwood for window frames, but you can also use water-based trim paints. It’s best to paint in the morning to maximise drying time – you can then paint with the window open and close it at night.  

The order in which to paint window frames is glazing bars, top and bottom horizontal rails, inside vertical rails, outside edges and outside frame. Finish off the window by cutting in with an angled brush.

For doors, rub down to remove any flaking paint. Always paint in the direction of the grain to prevent streaks. Finish each vertical panel with an upward stroke. When painting panel doors, always paint the mouldings first and then the panels. 

What if I have an accident?

Ideally, you should ensure that all carpets and furniture in the room you are painting are either removed or well covered with dustsheets before you start. However, if you have accidental damage cover on your Churchill house insurance policy you would be covered for a more serious paint spillage.

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