Building & Renovating

12 Tips for Painting the Walls of a 30sqm Apartment

Entrepreneur and DIY enthusiast Beam Mariano shares how she revamped the walls of her small space

Photography: Vincent Coscolluela and Beam Mariano

Homeowner Beam Mariano lives in a studio unit on the fifth floor of a walk-up apartment building. Since the place used to be rented by a group of male students that carelessly scribbled on the walls, Beam decided to give the room a much-needed makeover. 

Here are Beam's tried-and-tested ways to drastically change walls and immediately transform the rest of the home.

Choose wall colors and visit the hardware store

"A few weeks before I painted the space, I visited the beautiful island of Palawan. It was during this vacation that I finally decided on what colors to use for my wall, inspired by no less than the nature that surrounded me.

Here are the colors that inspired me:


  • The turquoise water against the creamy sand
  • The deep pinks of fallen Talisay leaves
  • The pink flowers with tiny yellow anthers


When I came back to Manila, I excitedly went to the hardware store and chose paint closest to my natural inspirations. Although I would prefer to buy the available paint, I had to ask the employees to mix the shade of pink that I wanted: salmon with a hint of yellow."

Opt for digital mixing services

"Before, paint had to be mixed manually. Now, they can be mixed digitally at certain hardware stores. Since manual mixing is a trial-and-error process and leads to too many inconsistencies, it is better to try digital paint mixing."

Clean the walls and cover areas with masking tape and newspaper

"Before applying paint to any surface, make sure that the surface is clean from dust and stray hair. Since the previous tenants of the unit drew on the walls with permanent markers, I also had to use bleach and other cleaning agents to remove the ink.

You also have to cover the wall surfaces that shouldn’t be painted like the wall borders, light switches, electrical outlets, window frames, and curtain holders. Masking tape will prevent accidental brush strokes on surfaces that you don't want to paint on. You should also cover the floor with newspaper."

Paint the main wall

"I knew I wanted to have several colors for my walls. I first painted the wall that should be covered in tealthe main color of the room. I like the color of teal that leans more toward the green hue rather than the blue because according to feng shui principles, green tends to bring in more money! 

I chose paint from the Davies Sun and Rain series (usually used for outdoor surfaces) because of the semi-gloss finish. This finish won’t be too glaring even if the sun shines on it everyday." 

Carefully evaluate the wall colors

"Even after you have chosen the wall colors, you should still carefully plan everything. While painting, I would often step back after my first coat of paint and decide if I am doing it right. Originally, I wanted that beige wall to be covered with wallpaper. However, since the wallpaper has a medium-sized pattern, I thought that it might make me suffer from dizzy spells. With this in mind, I decided to stick to a plain wall."

Stir glossy paint well

"I have noticed that when it comes to glossy paint, the darker tint often settles at the bottom of the can. In order to get consistent color, stir the paint well."

Pick glossy paint for the kitchen

"For the kitchen area, I opted to use a glossy pink paint despite my initial aversion to it. I had a change of heart because according to my research, matte paint attracts dust and will be more difficult to clean up.

Since the kitchen walls might be covered in oil splatters, I chose glossy walls that could be cleaned more easily."

Use wallpaper and install cornices and baseboards

"This wallpaper accent was a last-minute call after looking at the mirror right across this wall. I saw myself in the mirror and imagined myself with a floral background. That way, every time I look into the mirror, I’d feel prettier because of a flower pattern behind me!

I also installed cornices and baseboards as an affordable way to create a high-end look in my humble space." 

Appreciate the product of your hard work

Now that the hard part is over, you should take a moment to cherish the new look of your old home.

Click here to see more photos of what Beam's home looks like now!

This feature originally appeared on Project Beam. Edits have been made by the editors. To learn more about Beam and her projects, visit her website.

More on

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