DIY Painting the Water Closet Tips

It occurred to me as I prepped to paint my LEAST favorite area of the home that I may have a few tips to share. Sanity savers if you will- because I’ve been here done that too many times!

It’s a small area that’s simply awkward and takes way longer than you would expect. I hope a few ideas may help make it less painful for you.

*sidebar – I’m painting over the yellow to a blue called Offshore Mist. You may see some blue already on the left wall which was left over from the larger part of the bathroom in the pan. I rolled it out on a big surface rather than waste it. I’m just practical like that. Today I’m prepping to paint the small toilet area and sharing the proper steps.


Put on old clothes, some tunes and then clean and sanitize every inch of that space. You will be crawling all around that tiny room on your hands and knees. Try not to think about the unthinkable germs. So gross. Loads of paper towels, Chlorox bleach spray and a end with a crystal clean bowl. When you feel that’s it’s clean enough for you to be up close and personal with it all…proceed to the next step.


Remove the tank lid and slip a trash bag over the back of the tank. This alleviates getting paint all over the tank. Painting behind the tank is never easy and there doesn’t seem to be a uniform standard in the toilet placement. In this case the tank is so close to the wall I won’t be able to roll behind it which quite often you have the space to do. Toilet placement seems to vary house to house and even room to room within the house.


Remove light switch covers and any decor. I soak covers in a sink with some bleach, toilet cleaner or run them through the dishwasher. I’m sure the job would be 100% easier if you could remove the toilet too but that’s not happening here.


If you like to tape now is the time to do so. My preference is Frog tape when I use it (which is only on kitchen cabinet jobs). I don’t tape when painting walls because I feel it can bleed under and create more work later. It’s a preference thing so you do you.

I prefer to use paper towels and a Mr Clean handy for immediate clean up.

If using quality paint it’s thicker and you have less dripping and running= less clean up. I’m using a Behr color which is typically mixed at Home Depot. I had them color match at Lowe’s and had it mixed in a one coat primer and paint Sherwin Williams line. So many options out there- just skip the cheap stuff. You’ll thank me later!


Protect your flooring whatever it may be. I like the canvas drop cloths which are like $10 at Lowe’s and can be reused for eternity. As you can see mine are well loved. Once dry you can toss in the washer for the next job. Fold or spread out as you wish.


Edge the entire room first then roll. I love a 2″ angled brush. I take good care of them and replace as needed. I nice brush produces clean lines and less clean up! When painting behind the tank use a brush and cut in as far as you can from every angle humanly possible. That’s really all you can do and if you look close that’s what someone did before you if it’s been repainted after building it!

Using a paint cup can be helpful for trim up high. You can pour into a plastic cup or buy one of these reusable babies with a handle. I usually put a cup inside it vs buying their liners. Today I had neither so I lined it with a gallon bag and then just sealed it when done. I’m going to keep the bag with some leftover paint handy for a few days in case I see any touch up needed. That will be quicker to access than a opening a paint can and then I can toss it. Easy peasy.


Roll large areas then put Humpty Dumpty back together! Install switch covers, pull the bag off the tank and replace the cover. Voila.

Some of the screw for the light and electrical covers were pretty worn.

I used a little liquid paper aka white out on the screws to brighten them up. May do another dab but it’s better already!

I rehung our official bathroom art before the paint even dried! That caricature is from Key West circa 1996 back in my hubby’s flight school days. Proof we try to keep it real around here. No fancy decor in the potty over here !!!

In 2 hours or less I outta there and survived the most unpleasant area to paint. I’ve officially completed 3 of the 4 bathrooms in this house. Eventually I’ll tackle that last one….

Hope this was helpful~


About Laurel Dane Designs, LLC

Making our final house into a home one room at a time. This is our 11th and final home so it is unique. Every detail in this home is aimed at creating our FOREVER home. I've worked on many of my homes and clients homes so theres plenty of inspirational for all home styles here!

4 Responses

  1. Desperate Craft Wife

    Thanks!!! The color is the same as on my parents ceiling in the sunroom. So soothing!

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