Interior Painting Tools You’ll Need

For a DIY painter, there’s nothing more frustrating than getting an interior painting project underway only to realize you forgot to buy a vital tool needed for the job. Before you even take the lid of your can of paint, make sure you take an inventory of the tools you will need. The list below provides a summary of the most common tools used in interior painting situations. 


Start off by buying the right type of paintbrushes for the project at hand. You’ll likely be using a water-based paint, meaning you should choose paintbrushes with synthetic filaments (i.e., nylon, polyester or nylon-poly blends). If your project involves oil-based paints, stains or varnishes, your paintbrush of choice should be a natural bristle brush.

Choose the best brushes for the best results. Top-of-the-line brushes have SRT (Solid, Round, Tapered) filaments. Solid filaments are more durable than cheap, hollow filaments, and the tapered ends pick up and lay down the paint with better precision and control. 

Also determine whether you need angular brushes (used for narrow areas, cutting in, painting corners and ceiling lines) and/or flat brushes (used for more open areas, such as walls, doors and cabinets).

Paint Rollers

The most common sizes of paint rollers are 9-inch, for general painting, and 4-inch, for narrower areas, like doors, trim, cabinets, and hard-to-reach areas. Use smaller nap lengths (like 3/16-inch or 1/4-inch) for smooth or very smooth surfaces and longer lengths (3/4-inch and 1-inch) for semi-rough and rough surfaces.

Choose the fabric to coincide with the paint you are using. Knit fabrics—available in polyester, wool or poly-wool blends—are best for flats, eggshells or satins. Woven fabrics work well for smoother lint-free finishes, making them ideal for high-gloss paints. Microfibers are becoming more popular for use with all paint and enamels since they provide a uniform, even finish.

Paint Pads

Paint pads are a versatile painting tool that provides smooth painting application. These tools allow the painter to achieve a smooth, straight line, making them idea for painting trim, along ceiling lines, in corners and in other tight areas.

Painting Accessories

In addition to brushes and rollers, make sure you have the required accessories. You’ll definitely need a paint tray, and you may want to buy some disposable tray liners to make cleanup easier. Another painting accessory that many DIYers can’t do without is a paint cup. Lightweight with easy-to-grip handles, these cups often have a magnetic clip to conveniently hold your paintbrush. Other handy paint accessories include paint can openers, paint stirrers, pour spouts, and extension poles. 

Surface Protection

Keeping things neat is an important consideration in interior painting projects. To protect floors and furniture, use drop cloths—available in either canvas or disposable plastic. And don’t forget the painter’s tape to protect baseboards and molding.

Prep Products

Before getting your painting project underway, consider the various surface prep products you might need. Among them are spackling compound, patching kits, sandpaper, sanding blocks and putty knives.

You also might need a screwdriver for removing switch plates and outlet covers. If so, consider buying a multi-functional painter’s tool, which not only will provide you with a screwdriver but also typically includes a nail remover, putty knife, paint can opener, and caulk smoother. Imagine the convenience: Rather than searching around for a specific tool, you’ll have all of these tools together—in one handy product—exactly when you need them.