1. Prepare the surface
Doing this properly is vital to getting a good result. Clean all paint flakes, dust and grime from the wall or surface you're painting. A surface in good condition might need no more than a good wash with sugar soap, but a surface with flaking paint or serious grime might need treating with a scraper, wire brush or paint stripper first. Fill any holes or cracks with a suitable filler and smooth the wall with fine sandpaper.
2. Follow the directions on the paint can
It may seem obvious, but like asking for directions when you're lost or reading an Ikea flatpack instruction manual, people often overlook this step. It's always best to check the drying time and any other recommendations.
3. Clean any dust and debris from the can
This will help to prevent dirt getting into the paint and ultimately ending up painted into your wall.
4. Stir the paint well
Use a flat paddle – there should be no thick bits left at the bottom when you've finished. Give it an occasional stir while you're painting too, to ensure consistent colour and density throughout the job.
5. Start at the ceiling
Paint walls from top to bottom to avoid splashing areas you've already done.
6. Avoid painting in extreme temperatures
Extreme heat, cold and humidity will affect how well the paint dries.
7. Keep enough leftover paint for touch-ups
Any excess should be sealed in a can and disposed of according to your local council guidelines, not poured down the drain.
8. Clean up
Remove water-based paint from your brushes by wiping off the excess on old newspaper, then soak them before a final rinse.