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How to paint a wall

Whether you’re a first-time DIY-er or a seasoned professional, wall preparation is an important and necessary job before painting. Properly prepping your walls and ceilings ensures paint adhesion and a nice smooth finish without holes, cracks, air bubbles and other sightly imperfections. 


Read on for our simple step by step guide on how to prepare and paint a wall using Rust-Oleum Wall Paints

Kitchen: Porcelain (wall), Oyster (tiles), Cafe Luxe (cupboards). Lounge: Cotton (wall), Hessian (stripe). Bathroom: Chalk White (wall), Half Light (cupboard).

Before you start: pick your paint!

Rust-Oleum Chalky Wall Paint has a scrubbable, ultra-durable formula that’s perfect for high-traffic areas while our washable Matt Wall Paint will add an incredible depth of colour to your bedroom, lounge or home office. Our specialist Kitchen Wall Paint is stain-resistant, making it ideal for food splashes and spills, and our Bathroom Wall Paint is water-resistant and withstands the condensation of a steamy bath or shower. 

Step 1

First thing’s first: prepare your room. Clear the area of any furniture or décor to allow yourself a suitable space to work. Ensure that the room temperature is between 10 – 25°C and open a window for good ventilation. Lay down a dust sheet to protect surfaces from paint splashes. 

Step 2

Next, ensure the surface of your wall is clean, dry and free from any dust or dirt that could interfere with the paint adhesion. Clean the surface with a mild detergent (we recommend Rust-Oleum Sugar Soap) and rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water before allowing to dry fully. Remove and treat any signs of mould or mildew before painting. 

Step 3

Scrape back any loose or flaking paint and sand walls to a smooth, feathered edge. If there are any imperfections, repair with wall filler, allow to fully dry and sand smooth. Spot prime the filled areas with Rust-Oleum Wall Paints and allow to dry for a minimum of 2 hours before applying the full coat.

Step 4

The last step before painting: work out how much paint you’ll need. Rust-Oleum Wall Paints are designed to be applied at up to 12m² per litre, per coat (or 30m² per 2.5L). However, if you are preparing walls for painting after plastering, bare plaster will reduce the coverage and will require more paint than a sealed, painted surface.

Step 5

Now all you have to do is paint!


With no primer required, Rust-Oleum Wall Paints are designed to be applied directly to suitably prepared, bare plaster or a previously painted surface. Use a brush to cut in around the edges of your wall and areas that a roller can’t reach to ensure a nice neat finish. Load your brush by dipping it half-way up the length of the bristles and remove any excess paint.


Once you’ve finished the brushwork, apply the paint using a medium pile roller to the remaining area, spreading it evenly over the paint tray so your roller is covered well. Start from the top of the wall, roll as far into the cut in edges as you can and work in sections of roughly 1m2 at a time- from one side of the wall to the other.


Allow to dry and, where required, apply a second coat after a minimum of two hours. And that’s it! Stand back and admire your freshly painted wall.

Still looking for your dream colour palette? Check out our article on Paint Colour Trends for 2024 to spark some inspiration!

Left: Antique White, Top Right: Longsands, Bottom Right: Shortbread

Rust-Oleum, Tor- Coatings, 21 White Rose Way, Follingsby Park, Gateshead, NE10 8YX

Company Number 04503854