You might not think about your bathroom often. Brightening your bathroom with a new coat of paint is a cost-effective way to upgrade the space.

What should you know before you tackle a bathroom repainting job? Here are some tips for painting your bathroom from the professionals at Select Painting.

Prepare Your Surfaces First


Before any paint job, you must prepare the surfaces you plan to paint. Rough or unprimed surfaces won’t hold paint well, and dirt may show through. Dust may get into the paint and ruin the smooth finish. To avoid this problem follow these steps, in this order:

  • Fill any holes and cracks that have developed in the walls with spackle. Pay attention to the corners of your window and door molding, which sometimes separate slightly as the home settles. You can fill those cracks with caulk or spackle too.
  • Sand the edges of the spackle until the area is smooth and you don’t see an outline.
  • Sand over any other rough areas, such as places where there were previous repairs or places where dirt was caught in the paint. Run your hands over the wall to ensure that everything is smooth.
  • Using a clean wet rag or sponge, wipe down all walls. Pay particular attention to corners where dirt and cobwebs can gather.
  • Rinse out your rag or sponge and thoroughly wipe down all trim. Don’t forget the top of the window and door molding and the tops of the baseboard molding, where you likely do not clean regularly. These areas often have a layer of dust and dirt.
  • Thoroughly vacuum the room, using the floor attachment and the hose to get into corners.
  • Open the window and vacuum out the sill. Wipe the interior of the window sill so that it is free from dirt. Consider mopping the floor to remove all final dirt or dust.

We recommend a diluted solution of trisodium phosphate and a pair of rubber gloves for the most effective cleaning. TSP is especially good at removing soap scum and grime.

Remove Wall and Ceiling Fixtures

Ceiling Fixtures

  • Remove artwork, electrical outlet, and wall switch covers, window treatments, towel racks, shelves, robe hooks, toilet paper dispensers, door knobs, etc. from the walls, windows, and doors. You can leave their brackets as long as the fixture completely covers them after reinstallation.
  • Remove the toilet tank so you can paint behind it. It is usually not necessary to remove the entire toilet, but you may opt to do so.
  • Remove the shower curtain to avoid getting paint on it.
  • Remove vent covers for air conditioning and bathroom vents.
  • Sometimes you can tape around light fixtures, while other times it is best to remove them from the wall or ceiling. Leave the bulb if possible, so you still have good lighting to paint by.
  • Use painters tape or transparent tape to affix the screws to the fixtures you remove so you do not lose them and can remember which screws go with which fixture. Alternatively, you can use small zipper plastic bags to keep your screws from disappearing.
  • Put the removed fixtures outside of the bathroom for an uncluttered space to paint in.

Choose the Correct Paint

Choosing the best bathroom paint is one of the most important steps! Bathrooms get heavy use and have to stand up to water and humidity. Here’s what to consider in your bathroom paint:


Type of Bathroom Paint

Make sure you purchase a paint designed for kitchens and bathrooms. These paints will withstand the heavy use, exposure to water, and temperature changes. They also often have mold-resistance additives built-in, to help keep down mold and mildew.

Pay attention to paint quality. Good paint covers better and will not require as many coats, which saves you time, labor, and paint. It may seem to be a good value at first, but if the job takes twice as long and you need twice as much paint, you really haven’t saved.

Bathroom Paint Finish

Choose a higher gloss sheen for your bathroom paint. These repel water much better than flat or matte finishes, which may develop unsightly water streaks. If you have drywall above your tub or shower tile or fiberglass unit, choose the highest gloss paint you can find for these areas. Other areas can use semi-gloss or satin.

Ceilings of bathrooms should always be painted with a semi-gloss finish or higher, due to condensation buildup and also to reflect light into the bathroom.

Choose a gloss or semi-gloss paint for your trim, and molding. Some bathroom doors come prefinished and will not need painting unless you are updating to a new color or they show signs of wear. Use the same trim paint you chose for your doors for a professional and polished look.

Bathroom Paint Color

Yellow Paint

Bathrooms are usually relatively small, and dark colors in small spaces can make a room feel gloomy or claustrophobic, especially if your bathroom does not have a window. That doesn’t mean you have to surrender to institutional white, however. Light blues, greens, purples, yellows, or a variant of peach, cream, or taupe are all attractive alternatives that can brighten the space.

Darker colors can work if you have lots of other bright elements: shiny fixtures, bright lighting, large mirrors, skylights, etc. that otherwise brighten the space.

We’ve covered the most important factors in getting started painting your bathroom. From here you’ll want to also do the following:

  • Put drop cloths over the floor. Open a window to improve ventilation. Turn on the bathroom fan to draw fumes from the room.
  • Tape the edges of your molding, sink, and tub with painters tape.
  • Paint the ceiling and the trim first.
  • When the ceiling and trim dry, tape the edge to leave a clean line before painting the walls. Use 2” or 3” painters tape to give you a buffer for an oopsie with the roller.
  • Cut in the edges of your walls with a 2” paintbrush. Don’t forget corners, top and bottom edges, and around doors, windows, tub or shower, and other fixtures.
  • Roll the walls with your wall color, covering thoroughly. Do not overload the roller with paint your you will get drips.
  • Reinstall your toilet, fixtures, window coverings, lighting, etc.
  • Enjoy your new bathroom!

If all this sounds like too much work, then contact the pros at Select Painting. Bathrooms can usually be completed in a single day, depending on the job. Contact us today for a free estimate, and soon you’ll be on your way to a brighter bathroom.