I'll do my best to cover any possible questions...
The first thing I did was go to my local Benjamin Moore paint store. Matt and I always used Benjamin Moore with excellent results, and have a great rapport with the owners of our local store. It's Aurora Paint Pot in East Aurora, NY, in case anyone is wondering - they're awesome! (Benjamin Moore has a built in primer, goes on smoothly, and tends to dry quicker making it possible to apply a second coat sooner.)
Choose the paint colors you would like to use in the room(s) you would like to paint. This may take some time - you want to be sure of your decision because you're only gonna want to paint once. Bring swatches home, and if you really like a color, you can get a bigger swatch or even get a paint sample. Look at it in different lights. Too dark could make a small room seem smaller, too light could be blah. Be a little daring - color is fun! (After Matt and I built our house, every room was painted "bone white" until we could decide what colors we really wanted. Matt was afraid of color until I finally went over his head and made Jacob's new big boy room fun with color, and then he wanted to re-paint every room in the house!)
Next, get all the supplies you will need:
Paint (the store will give you stir sticks when you buy the paint)
Painter's tape (I highly recommend the green Frog Tape - it seems to be better at not letting paint seep underneath, and it comes off easier without ripping)
Paint can opener
Good angled brush for cutting in
Rollers and disposable roller covers
Roller tray with liners
"Handy" paint pail with liners
Damp rag for quick clean up of goofs
Drop cloth or old sheets for covering up furniture/floors
and if you're doing ceilings, an extender pole (you can actually use the pole from your push broom if you have one - the head will unscrew from the pole, and the pole and paint rollers are compatible sizes)
Don't forget some good music!
Because I didn't want to keep putting all the paint supplies, etc. away every time I did a room, I decided to keep them out and paint all the rooms I intended to paint, one after the other. It was about a two week process, but with the mess that comes along with painting, it was worth it to have two weeks of mess and then clean up for good, then to drag out the process. I keep everything in a large Rubbermaid bin.
DOWN TO BUSINESS...
Depending on how much time you have, you may want to do your paint prep the day before the actual painting. This process can be more time consuming than actually painting, but it's up to you.
Mix the paint and put some in the handy paint pail. Start cutting in with the angled brush - take your time! This is one of the reasons I tend to paint the ceilings the same color as the walls... (If you want to leave one wall in a room the same color and paint a different color on other walls, you can tape the wall you're not painting, and it makes a perfect line.) You may need two coats where you're cutting in, so go ahead and apply a second coat if needed. If you have to walk away from your project for a few moments while in the middle of it, put your paint brush in a ziplock bag so it doesn't dry out. If finished, clean off brush immediately.
Once the cutting in is complete, pour some paint into the tray and get your roller ready. Don't go too fast with the roller or you'll splatter more than necessary. Once you make your way around the room, you'll be ready for the second coat (another great thing about Benjamin Moore). If you're painting your ceilings, I would do them first to get them out of the way. Also, in case you splatter the walls with paint from the ceiling, they'll get covered up when you paint the walls.
When you're all done, carefully remove the tape. If the paint is dried over the tape, use a razor knife to make a slit so the paint doesn't end up peeling off when you pull the tape off.
I was going for an old-fashioned Mediterranean plaster look on the walls in my downstairs half bath. I researched it online, and several sites suggested using some expensive Venetian plaster with multiple steps, and requiring skill. I neither wanted to spend that much money (paint is expensive enough!), nor did I have that kind of time or those kinds of skills, so I wasn't willing to go forward with that plan.
I ended up getting sand-based texture paint (also Benjamin Moore) in the half-bath, and it turned out AWESOME. I found using a brush as opposed to a roller gave me the desired effect. I did up and down strokes, then went over them with side to side strokes. It's VERY messy, so use a drop cloth or sheet that you're willing to just throw in the garbage when you're done. Trying to use a roller will result in a bigger mess. Mix the paint VERY OFTEN - the sand settles quickly.
Whatever color you would like your textured walls is what you will paint them OVER the textured paint, and after it has dried (the textured paint might not have been 100% dry on my walls before painting them the desired color, but it still turned out good). The paint will provide a protective covering over the texture, making it also easier to wipe your walls when needed.
Well - I think that about covers it!! If anyone has any other questions, feel free to ask away! Happy Painting! =)