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6 Common Interior Painting Mistakes (and how to avoid them!)

6 Common Interior Painting Mistakes (and how to avoid them!)

“How hard can it be, right?”

Famous last words before an interior painting project. Armed with YouTube videos, swatches, and good intentions, many do-it-yourself painters have jumped into a project and quickly gotten stuck. Or worse yet, finished their work and not been happy with the results. Or worse YET, it came out okay but then didn’t last… The paint peeled, maybe it faded, or it just didn’t hold up the way you wanted it to.


Interior painting is a science and an art. Literally. You have to know your products and how they work together (or don’t), plus have the right tools, experience, and eye to turn a concept into reality.

Today, let’s break down a handful of the most common interior painting mistakes homeowners make, and we’ll share some tips for how to avoid them.

1. Buying low-grade paint

Isn’t that “paint and primer in one” product attractive? The slick marketing helps too… In reality, the cheap paint from big box stores just won’t create the results you want, plus you need more product since it doesn’t cover as well. Durability and color retention are poor too. And the 1-coat primer combo? Not a real thing. It truly does pay off to invest in high-quality, name brand paint products.

2. Not prepping your surfaces

It’s exciting to crack open that can and get rolling - we totally understand. But surface cleaning and preparation is actually 80% of a paint job.

  • Wipe down/dust your walls

  • Remove outlet covers and fixtures

  • Patch holes and blemishes

  • Sand the surfaces smooth that you repaired

  • Scuff the entire surface with a pole sander to create a more receptive profile for your paint

  • Prime the spots you repaired so that they’re totally hidden

  • Mask and tape

  • Now you’re ready to paint!

Skipping these early stages of the project leads to issues down the road every time.

3. Picking paint colors with just a swatch

It can look just right in the store, but that doesn’t mean it’ll look just right on your walls. Color is a tricky thing and can change based on its environment, lighting, surrounding colors, etc. Our suggestion is to use swatches to narrow down your options, then get a sample can so you can actually paint it on your wall. If you don’t want to do that, you can also order large sample sheets that can be taped in place. Live with it a bit and see how it suits you.

4. Hitting the ceiling with your roller

Working with a roller is trickier than you think! It’s best to start by “cutting in,” using a brush to paint just the perimeter edges of your room where the wall meets either the ceiling or other walls. That way you have a few inches to stop your roller before it touches the ceiling. Do one wall at a time too so that your edges don’t dry before you roll the rest. In other words, don’t cut in the entire room, THEN roll.

5. Loading too much paint on your brush

Overloading your brush, then continuously spreading paint is one of the fastest ways to ruin a paint job with brush marks and streaks. Dip your brush about halfway up the bristles, remove the excess by gently brushing it against the inside edge of your container, then smoothly brush the area.

6. Not letting your paint dry between coats

It’s easy to rush the painting process, especially if the project is taking longer than you thought and you just want to be done. It’s best to pack it up and take a beat (or a night off), letting your first coat FULLY dry before applying the second. Otherwise you get roller markers, streaks, and a seriously wonky finish. Several lighter coats are better than 1-2 heavy, muddy ones.

Have more questions about interior painting? Contact us at Dennis Moffitt Painting!

Your experience matters, and we want to make sure you love your painting process every step of the way. Contact us with any questions or to schedule a free consultation