Residential Interior Painting: 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Absolute Painting has been the preferred service provider for a variety of essential interior and exterior painting related services.

Residential interior painting is a great way to update your home and give it a fresh new look. However, it’s important to be aware of the common mistakes that can occur during this project. Avoiding these mistakes ensures a long-lasting, high-quality finish.

Whether you’re a DIYer or planning to hire a professional, it’s important to do your research and be prepared for the project. Keep reading to learn the 10 most common residential interior painting mistakes to avoid, plus tips on how to tackle them and hire a professional residential house painter to get the job done right.

1. Skipping prep work

Preparation work is essential for any painting project, but it’s especially important for residential interior painting. This is because interior walls are often covered in dust, dirt, and grime, which can prevent the paint from adhering properly. It’s also important to fill in any cracks or holes in the walls and sand down any rough surfaces.

Tips to avoid this mistake:
  • Take the time to clean the walls thoroughly before painting. 
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe down the walls, and then follow up with a dry cloth.
  • Fill in any cracks or holes in the walls with spackle. Once the spackle has dried, sand it down so that it’s flush with the wall.
  • Sand down any rough surfaces on the walls. This will help to create a smooth finish for the paint.

2. Not using primer

Primer is another important step in the painting process. It helps to block out the old color and create a uniform surface for the new paint to adhere to. This is especially important if you’re painting over a dark color or changing the color of your walls drastically.

Tips to avoid this mistake:
  • Apply a coat of primer to all walls before painting. 
  • Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

3. Using the wrong type of paint

There are different types of paint available for different surfaces and applications. It’s important to choose the right type of paint for your project to ensure the best results. 

For example, you wouldn’t want to use flat paint on a high-traffic area, as it would be easily scuffed and marked.

Tips to avoid this mistake:
  • Choose the right type of paint for your project. 
  • Consider the type of surface you’re painting, the amount of traffic the area will see, and the desired finish.
  • If you’re not sure what type of paint to use, connect with a residential house painter or ask a salesperson at your local hardware store for assistance.

4. Applying the paint too thick

It’s better to apply two or three thin coats of paint than one thick coat. Applying the paint too thick can lead to dripping, sagging, and uneven coverage.

Tips to avoid this mistake:
  • Apply a thin coat of paint to the walls and let it dry completely before applying a second coat.
  • If you need to apply a third coat, let the second coat dry completely before applying the third.

5. Not using painter’s tape

Painter’s tape is a great way to protect your trim, molding, and other surfaces from paint. It’s especially useful when painting around windows and doors.

Tips to avoid this mistake:
  • Apply painter’s tape to all trim, molding, and other surfaces that you don’t want to paint. Be sure to press the tape down firmly so that no paint can seep underneath.
  • Once you’ve finished painting, remove the painter’s tape carefully.
  • You can also consult with interior house painters to get your job done.

6. Painting in the wrong direction

When painting walls, it’s best to paint in a “W” or “M” motion. This helps to ensure even coverage and avoid streaks.

Tips to avoid this mistake:
  • Start at the top of the wall and paint in a “W” or “M” motion.
  • Overlap each section slightly as you work your way down the wall.
  • Be sure to paint in the corners of the room and around any windows or doors.

7. Not cleaning up properly

It’s important to clean up all of your painting supplies and remove any painter’s tape before the paint dries. This will help to prevent any messes or damage to your property.

Tip to avoid this mistake:
  • Clean up all of your painting supplies immediately after you’re finished painting.
  • Remove any painter’s tape carefully so that no paint is pulled off of the walls.
  • If you get any paint on your floors or furniture, wipe it up immediately with a damp cloth (a cloth that has been dipped in water and squeezed out until it is slightly moist)

8. Not letting the paint dry completely

Before applying a second coat of paint, it’s important to let the first coat dry completely. This will help to prevent the paint from peeling or chipping.

Tips to avoid this mistake:
  • Allow the first coat of paint to dry completely before applying a second coat. 
  • The amount of time it takes for the paint to dry will vary depending on the type of paint you’re using and the environmental conditions.
  • Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times.

9. Not ventilating the area properly

Paint fumes can be harmful, so it’s important to ventilate the area properly when painting. Open windows and doors, or use a fan to circulate the air.

Tips to avoid this mistake:
  • Open windows and doors when painting to ventilate the area.
  • If you can’t open windows and doors, use a fan to circulate the air.
  • Be sure to wear a respirator mask to protect yourself from paint fumes.

10. Not hiring a professional (if you’re not comfortable painting)

If you’re not confident in your painting abilities, it’s always a good idea to consider hiring residential interior painting services. A professional painter possesses the experience and expertise needed to achieve a high-quality finish that will last for years.

When to hire a residential house painter

There are a few instances where it’s worth hiring a professional painter, such as

  • If you’re painting a large or complex area, such as a vaulted ceiling or a multi-story staircase.
  • If you’re painting a high-traffic area, such as a kitchen or bathroom.
  • If you’re using a specialty paint, such as a textured paint or a faux finish.
  • If you’re not comfortable painting yourself, or if you don’t have the time to do it.
How to find a good residential house painter

When hiring a professional painter, it’s important to do your research and get multiple estimates. You should also ask for references and check the painter’s insurance and license.

Here are some tips for finding the right home interior painter:
  • Ask your friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations.
  • Get multiple estimates from different painters.
  • Ask for references and check the painter’s insurance and license.
  • Make sure the painter is experienced in painting the type of surface you need to be painted.
  • Get a written contract that outlines the scope of work, the estimated cost, and the timeline for completion.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure a high-quality residential interior painting project that lasts for years and is done right. If you’re not comfortable painting your home yourself, it’s a good idea to consider hiring an expert residential house painter.

Absolute Painting is a leading provider of residential interior painting services in Lawrence, Kansas. We’ve been in business for over 25 years and are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality possible. 

If you’re ready to give your home a beautiful new look, call us today for a free estimate!


What factors influence the cost of interior home painting?

The cost of interior home painting can vary based on several factors. These include the size of the area to be painted, the quality of paint used, the complexity of the project (e.g., intricate designs or high ceilings), and any necessary surface preparation. Hiring professional residential house painters can also impact the cost, as their experience and expertise may come at a premium.

What are the benefits of choosing the right residential interior painting services for my home?

When you select the right residential interior painting services, you’re not just getting a fresh coat of paint; you’re also enjoying several key advantages. Experienced professionals ensure a high-quality finish, saving you time and effort. They can tailor their services to your preferences, offer peace of mind through guarantees, and even increase your property’s value. By obtaining multiple quotes, you can efficiently budget for your project. Choosing the right experts ensures a stress-free painting experience.

Can I tackle interior home painting as a DIY project, or should I hire professionals?

Whether to DIY or hire professionals for interior home painting depends on your skills, time, and the complexity of the project. Smaller rooms or touch-up work may be suitable for a DIY approach, but for large or intricate projects, professional residential interior painters can ensure a high-quality finish and save you time and effort.


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