There’s nothing quite like renovating a room. Whether it’s a project you’ve been putting off or one you’ve been itching to get underway, refreshing the walls can take you one step closer to making your dream home a reality. That’s why it’s so important to get the painting job done right – after all, those four walls will form the backdrop to your room’s whole theme and colour scheme.

To make sure the process goes smoothly, check out our advice to the most frequently asked questions in regard to painting walls and ceilings:

How many coats of paint do I need?

Generally, you will want a minimum of two coats of paint – this is a good rule of thumb for any wall or ceiling you’re painting. You’ll rarely get a seamless finish from just one coat of paint, and even if you do, coverage isn’t the only goal when it comes to painting a room. You also want to prepare your walls for the coming years of wear and tear, cleaning, wiping and sunlight – in short, you want the paint to be durable. This is where two coats of paint really help.
For a more durable finish, many brands offer a scrubbable finish for your walls, such as Little Greene Intelligent MattDulux Diamond Matt or Tikkurila Optiva 5. This means you can have a beautiful colour that will be practical too. 

How many coats of paint on a wall?

Let’s dive into specifics now. Based off our rule of thumb, two coats of paint is the absolute minimum you’ll want for your walls. However, the material and previous colour of the wall can both influence this number – for unfinished drywall, for example, you’ll want to add a coat of primer or undercoat paint too. If the wall was previously painted a darker colour than your new paint, you’ll want to add another coat to really make that lighter colour cover up the darker hue beneath.

You might be tempted by cheaper, lower-quality paint; however, lower-quality paint will need more coats than a higher-quality paint, meaning you could end up paying as much (if not more), using up more paint, and taking longer to paint the walls. With a better-quality paint, such as Little Greene paint, you’ll have the pigmentation and coverage you’re looking for with fewer coats of paint.

How many coats of paint on a ceiling?

When it comes to ceilings, you could get away with one coat of paint, especially if just refreshing a white ceiling with a fresh coat. Tikkurila Anti Reflex 2 White Paint is a brilliant option for ceilings. With only 2% sheen it is very forgiving when cutting in around spot lights and works beautifully on ceilings large and small. Although you may get away with one coat when just refreshing your white ceiling, two coats will really give a bright and fresh finish.

If you’re painting your ceiling a bolder or brighter colour, you’ll definitely want two coats of paint, potentially more if the colour change is dramatic. The ‘Colour Drenching’ technique is very popular at the moment.

How many coats of paint on new plaster?

When it comes to painting over new plaster, you’ll technically want three coats of paint – our two recommended coats plus a mist coat. A ‘Contract matt’ is specially designed for use on new plaster. Dulux Supermatt Emulsion Paint and Armstead Contract Emulsion Paint are both available from stock at any KB branch and available in white, magnolia and can be tinted to pastel colours if desired.

Depending on the product you have chosen for your finish coat the manufacturer may recommend a system from bare plaster to finish coat. Always refer to manufacturer recommendations.

Once your newly plastered wall has been ‘mist coated’ and have let it dry, you can go in with your next two coats. If using a very deep colour, more coats may be required.

How much paint do I need?

Do you know how much paint you need to complete your task? Why not use our handy Paint Calculator to find out how much you need, to save you time and money.

Paint Calculator