Bathrooms have surpassed kitchens as the most frequently remodeled room in the house. Replacing the tile or fixtures calls for a professional, but if you just want a new look, a coat of fresh paint can do the trick. Because bathrooms are exposed to moisture and high humidity, there are a few tricks to getting a good paint job, including using a paint that resists mildew. Depending on the size of your bathroom, you may want to paint it a lighter color to open it up or a darker color to add intimacy. But whichever color you choose, make sure you pick the right paint and prep the room properly.
Pick the right finish
Interior paints come in flat/matte, satin/eggshell, and semi-gloss finishes. For a bathroom, satin or semi-gloss paints are a good choice. Semi-gloss paints, commonly used for trim, are generally the easiest to clean, and formulated to stand up to stains. But they reflect light, may highlight imperfections in the wall, and are more likely than satin to become dull when they’ve been scrubbed. If you’re painting an area that will be scrubbed a lot, or you’ve patched any cracks or have sheetrock seams you’d rather not accentuate, consider a satin finish.
Wash the walls
Whether you see it or not, mildew may be on your walls and can bleed through the new paint or prevent it from adhering properly. Before painting, clean the walls with bleach and water. Then rinse clean and wait for them to dry completely before painting.
Use self-priming paint
With many of today’s paints, you can skip applying separate coats of primer and paint and use a one-coat self-priming paint. But don’t overspread the paint. If you use a roller, you should be able to cover about a 2-foot-square section of wall before dipping the roller again.
Protect areas you don’t want to paint
With all the nooks and crannies, small bathrooms can be a challenge to paint. Apply painter’s tape to the edges of areas you don’t want painted. Use a sash brush with a tapered tip. Unlike those on a flat brush, the bristles are cut at a diagonal, making the brush easier to control.
Apply and let dry
Regardless of some manufacturers’ claims, you should give any newly painted bathroom a full 24 hours to dry before using the shower. Otherwise, the paint may become soft and run.