Paint Like a Pro with These Must Have Tools

July 3, 2019

Paint brushes and roller
The key to a "professional "looking painting job is to start with the right tools.  This post explains everything you'll need to be prepared for painting rooms in your home, as well as a few extras that you may like to add to your supplies.

RENOVATE   |   Published July 3, 2019

Paint brushes and roller

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I took a trip to Home Depot this weekend armed with my shopping list of everything I needed to begin painting my living room.  Painting isn't a hard job, but the best ways to get a "pro" finish is to have the right tools and to choose the right paint finish.  And it's good to be prepared ahead of time....there is nothing worse that prepping the room and popping open that can of paint and then realizing that you forgot to buy a paintbrush!

Although it may seem like there is a lot to buy, most items are inexpensive and if cared for properly, can last for many painting jobs.  Everything can be stored away together in one box so that whenever you're ready to do a little color refreshing, you've got what you need.

If you are starting from scratch in terms of buying painting tools, be sure to look for painting kits that have much of what you'll be needing in one package.  It is a lot cheaper to buy everything together when you need it all than it is to buy each individual piece.  And there are different kits that include different sized brushes and rollers depending on what you need.

I've put together a handy printable for you that features all of the tools below that you can print out or save to your phone as your own shopping list to take to the store.


Home painting tools


To paint your walls or ceiling you'll need to have a paint roller frame and roller cover.  Using a roller allows for a smooth paint finish and ensures that you don't have brush marks on your walls.  And it gets the job done a lot faster than using a brush alone.

The type of roller cover you'll need depends on the surface that you're covering and the type of paint you'll be using.  The package will normally explain the material type and nap (or thickness of the roller).  This post about the best paint rollers from The Home Depot does a great job of explaining the differences.


Because you can't just dip a roller into the paint can like you would a brush, you need a paint tray to hold your paint.  It is made with a well at the end for the paint to stay with an angled textured side that allows you to clear paint off the roller so it doesn't drip.   A metal paint tray will last a long time if cleaned after each use.


While you can do the work of washing out the paint tray when you're done, it is easiest to buy a plastic tray liner that fits inside of your tray.  They cost less than $2 and can be thrown away when the job is done.  Not only does this make clean up easy, but it preserves the metal paint tray to be used for many years.


You'll need a variety of paint brushes of different sizes depending on what you are painting.

And you'll also want brushes that are both flat and angled.  Angled brushes are best when cutting in around trim, the ceiling, and in corners and flat brushes are best on areas of the wall that are too narrow for a roller.

Be sure to look for good quality brushes.  Although they can be expensive, this is one item that you don't want to skimp on.  A good brush will last you a long time if properly cleaned and taken care of and it will give you the nicest finish and will not shed the bristles as you paint.

Like the roller covers, you want to be sure that you pick up paint brushes suited for the type of paint you are using be it latex or oil based.


Although it is possible to use a screwdriver to open a can of paint, it is nice to have the tool created for the job on hand.  A paint can opener has a little loop to hook your fingers into and a lip on the other end that will attach onto the edge of the paint can lid to pry it up.  These cost just a few dollars and can sometimes be picked up on the counter in the paint section for free.


Unless you paint your room as soon as you come home from the paint store, your paint is going to need stirred to make sure the pigments and binders are mixed thoroughly.  That's why when you open the can the color doesn't always look like what you had mixed.  These are also available for free when you purchase a can of paint.

And if you happen to buy a large 5 gallon can of paint for your whole house, make sure that the store offers you a larger stir stick that will reach the bottom of the container.  These are available, but not normally sitting out.


When you're painting in a room, especially the ceiling, you want to be sure to protect the furniture and flooring in the space from spills and spatters.

If you are painting just one room, a plastic drop cloth will be fine and can be thrown away when you're done with the project.  I like to pick a few up at Dollar Tree.

But if you plan on doing multiple rooms or like to change paint colors often, it is worth it to invest in a few canvas drop cloths that can be used again and again.  They come in different sizes depending on how much space you'll need to cover.


Painter's tape is great for masking off where you don't want to paint, like trim or electrical plugs and switches.  It is also useful for painting straight lines along the ceiling.  But it can be time consuming to tape everything out, so if you're steady with the paint brush, you may be more comfortable with skipping this step and just painting by hand.


Paint brushes and roller in plastic covers


When you have to do multiple coats in a room or can't finish the project in one day, what do you do with your paint brushes and rollers?   They either need to be cleaned out after each use, which takes time and wastes paint, or they need to be properly stored so they don't dry out.

These plastic paint brush and roller covers were products I originally saw on Shark Tank and they work so well.   Although you can wrap the two tools in plastic wrap or put them in a ziploc bag for storage, but these covers make storing your painting tools between coats so easy and you can store the tools for weeks in the refrigerator without them drying out.

Then when your project is done, the plastic covers can be washed out and stored for the next time.

Paint cup, primer, and paint brush


Depending on the color of paint you're going over or the surface you're painting, you may need a primer.  Dark colors are hard to cover and require multiple coats, so a primer, which is normally cheaper than a can of paint, cuts down on the number of coats and overuse of the more expensive paint.  Many paints come manufactured with a built-in primer now so that is something you may want to take note of when shopping.

In my living room, I'll be painting over smooth paneling.  The primer adheres better to the surface.  I've decided to use BIN Primer  because it is great for covering up the dyes from the paneling that may seep through and later ruin my paint job.


Purchasing a paint cup with handle is really helpful when painting trim, cutting in at the ceiling, or painting in the stairway.  It makes painting these areas easier because then you aren't trying to hold onto and balance a heavy paint can while standing on a ladder.  They are  lightweight and can be held in one hand with your paintbrush in the other

Collection of painting tools

I hope this post has shown you that you don't need to spend a lot of  money or buy a lot of things to be completely prepared for painting your home.  It really isn't a difficult job and can actually be fun if you invite a few friends over to help you!  Turn up the music, put out food that everyone can munch on, and share some laughs.

And don't forget to print your free painting tools shopping list so you are prepared to get what you need!

Share with me in the comments you enjoy painting your own home or do you prefer to hire someone else to do it?


CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE OF PAINT for the rooms of your home

Must have painting tools for your home
Tools you need for painting your walls
The Tools you need to paint your home
Paint your home like a pro with these tools

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