7 Tips to Refresh Interior Walls

Written by Angie's List staff
Updated March 31, 2017
living room, colorful carpet
Contrasting wall colors can give a room some interest. (Photo by Jessica Anderson)

The walls in your home can do more than just hold up the roof. Make them a point of interest.

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Ready to spiff up the interior walls of your home? Here are a few suggestions on how to make any wall look wonderful.

1. Pick your paint

“If you have children, go with a satin or semi-gloss paint,” says Bob Fine, office manager of Fine Painting in Indianapolis. “Flat isn’t washable.” However, it is less reflective and can help hide imperfections. “If the walls are made of plaster, the shinier paint will catch every one of those bumps,” he says.

2. Fight fungus

"Never paint over mold,” says Kris Collins, owner of Partners in Painting in Greenwood, Missouri. If the problem is small, she recommends treating the area with a solution of three parts water to one part bleach. Large mold problems should be left in the hands of a remediation expert.

3. Get rid of the grime

Greasy buildup and food splattered on kitchen walls is unappetizing. Using a sponge and any general purpose cleaner, make a circular motion, overlapping cleaned areas to prevent streaks. Repeat the process with a clean sponge and water, Collins says.

4. Going to market?

If you’re getting ready to sell your house, present prospective buyers with a blank palette. Remove wallpaper and paint the walls off-white.

“I’ve had real estate agents recommend that many times,” Fine says. And ask for environmentally friendly paints as an added selling bonus.

5. Knock on wood

Still considered groovy, wood paneling is one of the quickest ways to transform the look of any room. Comprised of a variety of materials, such as bamboo, wood wall paneling now comes in many updated styles and finishes. Disco ball is optional. The cost to add paneling to your walls runs about $7 to $40 per square foot, depending on what type of panels you choose.

6.Be sure to prepare

Properly prepare walls by repairing any damage and making the area as smooth as possible. “When I spackle before painting, I like to use a product called DryDex,” says Robin Brookins of Robin Brookins Designs in Golden Valley, Minnesota. “It goes on pink and dries white when it’s ready to sand.”

7. Beware of lead paint

When remodeling, patching or painting a home built before 1978, hire a certified lead abatement specialist to inspect for hazards. Any lead paint that’s discovered will need to be addressed before your project can begin.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on January 30, 2012. 

Have you recently refreshed your walls? Tell us what you did in the comments section below.

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