A gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet. To figure how much you need, add up the lengths of all your walls, then multiply that sum by the room's height. Subtract 20 square feet for each door and 15 for each window. Divide the result by 400 to get the number of gallons
you'll need for one coat. Most walls will need two coats.
For the trim in most rooms, one or two quarts should suffice. If your room has a lot of molding, you may need more. If you think you'll need more than two quarts, it is almost always more cost-effective to buy a gallon.
Get about a dozen sheets and cut them to fit the pole sander or fold them for hand sanding.
Get three coarse-grit and three fine-grit sponges.
Get one tube per room.
To fill holes.
One quart will cover patches, but you'll need more to prime entire walls.
for protecting hardware and trim.
Use a shorter nap 3/8 inch) for latex paint on smooth walls; a longer nap (½-inch and up) is best for rougher surfaces.
Color changes everything. Or lack of color, if that's your thing. Point is, everyone knows you can give your drab, washed-out walls a burst of brilliant depth (or wash away your decorating sins with virgin white) just by picking up a paint can and having at them. That's the power of a coat of paint: It rearranges your reality. Which is why painting is the most oft-tackled DIY home-improvement project.
While you don't have to be a pro to learn how to paint like one, there is more to a good paint job than just slathering some color on the wall. That's where we come in. On the following pages, This Old House technical editor Mark Powers shows how to coat your walls expertly in one weekend, from the first scratch of the pole sander to the final feather of the brush. And you won't be wasting time taping off every corner or backtracking with the touch-up brush like an amateur. As long as you stay organized and methodical, you'll be able to get on with the satisfying business of transforming your room—and with it your whole outlook.
Walls: Clarksville Gray (HC-102) in eggshell; trim: Abingdon Putty (HC-99) in satin; both from Benjamin Moore