When you move into your new apartment you may want to revive your rooms with a fresh coat of paint. Even if it is just a coat of crisp white paint, it can make your apartment look brighter and new. Depending on the current conditions of the walls when you move in, your landlord may take on the responsibility of painting for you, but if not, here are some things to know if you are going to do it yourself.

Check if you are permitted

Depending on your landlord’s regulations, you may not be permitted to paint on your own. This can simply be because past tenants have done bad paint jobs or because the landlord does not want to repaint everything the next time someone is moving in. Your best bet is to talk to your landlord ahead of time and find out what you can or cannot do.

Time Commitment

Painting your whole apartment or even just a room or two is time consuming. Don’t expect to be done in an hour or two, especially if you need to do a base coast to get rid of another colour or if you have some repairs to do first. Pace yourself and take your time if you want to do a good job. Start with one or two rooms and give yourself at least a weekend to be able to prepare everything, paint, let it dry and repeat if necessary.

Research your paint

Its okay not to be an expert, but you should definitely ask one. When you go to purchase your paint, talk to the specialists about the different types of paint you can buy, their benefits and finishing effects. The type of paint you buy can make a huge difference in how your wall ends up looking, for example a matt versus a glossy finish.

Colour and Lighting

It’s always a good idea to stick with lighter colours on your walls to keep your room bright and open. Let your flashy, bold or dark colours in the room be your accessories and furnishings and keep your walls lighter to reflect natural light. Also, make sure that if you are putting colour on your walls, that you either test the colour in one area in the room first or are confident of the final finish before covering the whole wall. Sometimes paint will dry lighter then expected or come out differently because of lighting. If there was previously a deep colour on your walls, you may need to use primer first to properly cover the old colour before applying your new colour.  If you don’t apply primer, your new tone may not look right or require several more coats to cover the old colour.  Not using a primer in those cases may equate to more time and more money on paint.

Ask for help

Don’t try and go at it alone. Not only is it a lengthy process but you will most likely find yourself wishing someone was holding the base of your ladder, helping you wipe up a spill or just be there to tell you if you missed a spot. If you can, try to pick someone who has painted before or is meticulous and patient.

Protect your things

Make sure that you move as much stuff out of the room as you can, before you start. You will have more space to move around and do a better job and you are a lot less likely to get paint on your things if they are not in the room. If you decide to keep some basic furniture in the room such as a table or couches, cover them in plastic. You can find industrial sized plastic sheets at fairly inexpensive prices at your local hardware store and reuse them for all your painting projects.

Make Repairs

Your final result will be much nicer if you take care of any repairs necessary instead of painting over them. Things that you may want to fix include chipped or pealing paint, bumps or uneven paint or holes caused by nails or other items. To make these repairs, use a proper scraping tool, plaster and sand paper until you have an even finish. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice or recommendations from the experts at your local hardware store and bring a picture if you want a visual aid to help explain your project. After you make all your repairs, make sure that you clean up dust or debris so that it doesn’t get stuck to the wall or your roller and ruin your paint job.

Remove outlet fixtures

Before you start to paint, remove all your light fixtures so that you don’t get paint on them. Sometimes people attempt to put masking tape over them in the hopes that they will be protected, but this can cause an uneven line above the outlet or paint may drip beneath the tape. You will have a better finish overall if you take the extra couple minutes to remove the fixture before painting, and reinstall it afterwards.

Prepare your trim/baseboards

Unfortunately, you cannot remove the trim at the base of your walls (also known as your baseboards) and then replace after painting, so you will have to prepare it before you begin. The easiest way to do this is to carefully cover the top edge of the trim with painter’s tape that will prevent paint from dripping on the baseboards and leave a clean line if removed delicately and promptly after painting.


Putting a Primer on your walls may or may not be necessary. It is usually recommended if you are going to be painting over a material like wood or some metal surfaces. Also, primer can come in handy if you want to put a light colour on your walls when there was previously something very dark. Ask the experts about your specific painting project and they will let you know what is best to get optimal results.

Check List of things you will need

  • Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
  • Painters Tape
  • Screw Drivers
  • Plastic coverings for furniture
  • Hole filler for repair
  • Rags or cloths
  • Rollers – For walls
  • Paint brush – For trim
  • Primer
  • Your paint!
  • Stirrer – To mix your paint before you begin
  • Roller tray

There is no such thing as asking too many questions! So, if you are taking on this painting project instead of hiring a professional, don’t be shy.