How to Paint Bathroom Wall Panels

Updated April 17, 2017

Bathrooms can be challenging to paint because of all the built-in fixtures and features you have to work around. Although the wall area is smaller than in most other rooms, the bathroom requires a lot of prep work before painting. Determine what sort of surface your wall panels have before buying paint. Some surfaces, especially slick ones such as laminate, might require a primer to help the paint adhere properly.

Use a screwdriver to remove the face plates of all the light switches and outlet covers on the panels you will be painting. Put the face plates aside for safekeeping.

Use painter's tape to mask any trim or wall features that you don't wish to paint. Cover the floor and permanent fixtures, such as a tub or toilet, with a dust sheet.

Use an angled brush or edging tool to cut in paint around the edges of the panel. Fill in the centre of the panel with a roller, working from the top to the bottom of the panel to avoid visible drips.

Remove the painter's tape carefully from the trim. Clean up any stray drips and uneven edges while the paint is still wet.

Allow the paint to dry completely before replacing the face plates. The natural humidity in a bathroom might cause the paint to take longer to dry than usual.


Choose paint formulated to inhibit mould and mildew, two common problems in humid bathroom conditions. If your paint isn't available in this formulation, ask for an additive to be mixed in with it at the paint store. If the bathroom panels require another coat of paint, let the first coat dry completely first. If you're painting a light colour over a darker one, apply a primer before you begin painting. Use a disposable plastic tray liner for your paint roller. This makes cleanup much easier.


The small, closed space of a typical bathroom concentrates paint fumes. Leave doors and windows open, and take frequent breaks while painting to avoid exposure to strong fumes.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Painter's tape
  • Dust sheet
  • Angled brush
  • Edging tool
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • Tray liner
  • Cleaning rags
  • Primer (optional)
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About the Author

Denise Howard has been writing since 2004, specializing in home and garden, travel, music and education. A private music instructor and professional accompanist, Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts in music, studying both piano and voice.