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How to Paint Baseboards: Pro Painter Tips

When you admire a beautiful painting, you usually don’t pay much attention to the frame. However, that doesn’t make the frame unimportant. Just imagine what the painting would look like without it! In the same way, our baseboards are never items of individual beauty, calling attention to themselves in a significant way. Nevertheless, they provide borders and framing for our rooms, improving the overall appearance of the space. That is why painting baseboards deserves our attention!

Choosing the Paint for Your Baseboards

For most baseboards, use a high-quality, interior semi-gloss paint. The semi-gloss is durable to hold up against scuffs and scrapes, and it is washable, so you can easily clean off dust or grime. Additionally, the semi-gloss has a nice shine to it, adding visual interest to your room.

Choosing a paint color for your baseboards is usually a no-brainer: white! While it may not seem original, there is a very good reason people keep choosing it; it looks fantastic with everything! It is clean, attractive, classy, and it helps make rooms feel bigger (dark colored trim would make the room feel smaller).

Because your baseboards don’t require a lot of paint, you can probably get just a quart if you are doing one or two rooms, or a room and a hallway. For the best interior painting experience, go with a zero-VOC interior acrylic/latex paint.

Choosing a Brush for Your Baseboards

While a higher-quality brush will only cost you a few dollars more than a cheap one, the difference it makes is priceless! Get a good brush about 2 inches wide, with an angled end on it. It doesn’t matter if the handle is wood or plastic, but you want one where the ferrule (the metal strip that holds the bristles to the handle) feels sturdy and the bristles look straight and smooth. Make sure you get one that says it is for latex paints, or for all paint types.

Protecting Your Walls and Floors

Use blue painter’s tape or green Frog Tape to create a straight, even border between the baseboard and the wall. Make sure the tape is pressed firmly against the wall, so it doesn’t leave room for the paint to seep underneath. On the floor, lay out plastic or a tarp to protect the surface, and put tape there also.

If the baseboard is over a carpet, use a wide strip of painter’s tape, and use a putty knife to edge the tape a little way under the baseboard. It may help if you push down the carpet a little to create a gap.

Clean the Baseboards

A dirty surface does not hold paint as well, and the texture of the dirt or hairs will show through the new paint. Take a minute to clean the surface with a damp rag or sponge, and make sure it is dry before you begin painting.

Apply the Paint

Now the fun part! Dip your brush about an inch into the paint (after stirring the paint, of course), and then wipe off the excess paint on the interior rim of the paint can. Then, use a smooth brushing motion to apply the paint to the baseboards in long strokes. Start in the middle, then do the top and bottom, gradually working your way from one end of the wall to the other. Be careful not to let the paint stay in globs on the tape, but use your brush to pick them up.


Wait until the paint is fully dried (usually 4-6 hours) before pulling off the tape. Doing it too soon could cause the paint to pull off the wall. Also, don’t wait more than a day before pulling it off, or the paint will be too cured. If you see that the paint is coming away with the tape, use a sharp blade to score the edge so that the tape can come away cleanly.

Or, Do It the Easy Way!

If your baseboards could use a new coat of paint, Southington Painting would love to be of service! Our professional house painters can get the job done quickly and easily, saving you a lot of time, and guaranteeing fantastic results.

Southington Painting serves Connecticut and the surrounding New England states, offering quality house painting services such as interior painting, exterior painting, drywall repair, popcorn ceiling removal, wood staining, and much more.

Call us if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule an estimate, or you can request an estimate online. We look forward to hearing from you!

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