When you want to paint the rooms in your home, you don't need a professional painter. As long as you have a little know-how and the right tools, painting a room is incredibly easy and can give your home an instant lift. Once you finish one room, you might not be able to resist doing them all.

Interior painting is a project that provides over a 100 percent return on investment, especially if you save money by doing the work yourself. If you're keeping an eye on resale value, paint color is an important aspect of staging your home.

Consider Color

Before you buy supplies, you need to choose a color. Many Realtors steer sellers away from white paint and recommend neutrals for home interiors. Shades of light to medium brown work well, as do warm creams and khakis. To make a small room appear larger, choose a cool color like a bluish gray, which makes the walls appear to recede. Conversely, a kitchen or living room feels cozier in a warmer shade like a buttery cream, which makes the walls appear closer and envelop the people in the room.

Painting Materials

Once you've chosen a color, head to the hardware store or a specialty paint dealer for the following:

• high-quality latex paint in the color of your choice

• a flathead screwdriver, hammer and nail

• 2-inch wide blue painters tape

• a large drop cloth

• 2.5-inch angle sash paintbrush with synthetic bristles

• a roller pan

• a roller with an extension pole

• a polyester roller cover with a 3/8-inch nap for standard drywall

Painting Process

1. Be sure the surfaces in the room are clean. For most rooms, all you need to do is dust the walls; for kitchens, a light scrub to remove any grease is a good idea.

2. Use painters tape to mask off window and door trim. You can also tape along the ceiling and floors to protect them. Cover the floor with your drop cloth, and secure the corners with tape or a weight.

3. Before opening, vigorously shake the paint can up and down for 30 seconds, then back and forth for 30 seconds. Use the flathead screwdriver to pry up the lid.

4. Use the hammer and nail to punch eight to 12 holes in the rim of the paint can. This allows paint to drip back into the can instead of collecting in the rim, which makes the lid harder to replace and reopen later.

5. Dip your angled paintbrush about one-third of the way into the paint. Drag one side of the brush along the edge of the can to remove excess paint.

6. Begin in one corner of the room and paint a line along the top edge of the wall where it meets the ceiling. For the smoothest line, be sure the "tall" edge of your angled brush is along the ceiling as you paint. When you run out of paint, reload and continue the line. When you get to the opposite corner, make a 90-degree turn so that you continue the line along the corner to the floor. Continue your brushwork until one wall has a rectangular outline in your new color.

7. If needed, use the brush to outline any doors and windows on the wall.

8. Fill your roller pan with paint and dip in the roller. Run the roller up and down along the tray's slanted ledge to cover the roller evenly.

9. Use the roller to make a large "W" on the wall, then gradually smooth out the paint to cover a large section. Blend the roller color into the wet paint outline you made with your brush. When the roller is out of paint, reload and repeat until one wall is completely filled in.

10. To complete the remaining three walls, repeats steps 6 through 9. Allow paint to dry for at least four hours before applying a second coat, then allow to dry for another four hours before carefully removing the painters tape.

It's that easy. Painting a room takes only a day, though you should allow the paint to cure completely for three days before replacing any furniture or artwork that touches the walls.