How to Prep a Room for Painting: Step by Step Guide for Beginners

how to prep a room before painting

Nothing beats the fresh aura of a newly painted room. That’s why many homeowners are looking into painting or repainting a room. Although this can be achieved by simply hiring a painting company, you might prefer to paint your room. By doing that, you can save money and learn a new skill. Completing the project would also be very rewarding on your part. However, the DIY painting could be easier said than done, especially if it is your first time painting a room. The process can be tiring and time-consuming. But it isn’t that hard to do.

To help you get a satisfactory result in painting your house, we have interior painting tips below. This can guide you on how to prep a room for painting, what to paint first in a room, and other steps to follow that can guarantee the success of your painting project.

Remove all the furniture from the room

Before you start, see to it that you remove furniture and furnishings from the room. If you are painting the walls, move them to the middle of the room. If you are painting the ceiling, move them to a place far from the area you are working on. Or you can move all the furniture to another area in the house.

This is an important step to avoid messy accidents. However, if the furniture is in the same room where you are painting, cover tables with cardboard and place chairs on top. You should also set your sofa upside down to avoid getting paint splatters. Arrange all your furniture in one area and cover them with plastic.

Prepare tools and materials

painting tools and materials

It is impossible to complete your painting project without the supplies needed to paint a room. The tools and materials you will use may vary depending on the condition of your walls and the type of painting you are planning to do. That is why you should make a list of what you need to paint a room. Here are the basic painting tools that you must prepare:

High-quality paintbrushes: Choose your brushes well in terms of size and quality. This can significantly affect the outcome of your painting project.

Paint rollers: Choose the size of your paint rollers, which would depend on the perimeter of the area you are working on. It is recommended to choose rollers with a lock to avoid slipping.

Paint trays: If you are using a roller, you would need paint trays. This is where you pour out your paint prior to painting.

Extendable roller pole: If you prefer not to use a ladder, add an extendable roller pole to your paint rollers so you can reach higher areas.

Painter’s tape: This is used to cover hardware and mask off accessories that cannot be removed from the wall or the surface you are painting.

Wooden paint stirring sticks: Stirring sticks are used to mix colors before you use it. It is important to stir the paint to blend its components because separation is common when it sits for a long time.

Cotton rags: No doubt, you would be doing a lot of wiping to avoid a messy outcome. Use these rags to wipe excess paint and drips.

Drop cloths: These are used to cover furniture and other big items in the room to protect them from paint drips and splatters.

Ladder: Get one or more ladders that you can use to access hard-to-reach walls and ceilings.

Cover the floor and carpets

paint tarps to prep a room for painting

Apart from the furniture, you should also cover your carpets and floors to prevent paint from getting into it. You wouldn’t want to spend time removing paint from your carpets and floors, which would be a tedious job.

For carpets, use canvas drop cloths or paint tarps, which easily spreads out. Since these are expensive, you don’t have to buy a lengthy cloth. Instead, you can purchase a long runner and drag it as you continue painting. Runners are also great for covering carpeted stairs, but you would need to fasten it with small nails so it will stay in place.

Be careful in painting baseboard trims where it adjoins the carpet since this could end up really messy when done wrong. Use 2-inches wide masking tape along the carpet with about half an inch extending on the baseboard.

Instead of using drop cloths, you can use rosin paper to cover hardwood floors and other types of flooring materials like vinyl and tile. Drop cloths will be slippery when laid over this type of floorings. Hence, it is recommended to use rosin paper or old newspapers. Tape them together to cover the floor. Whatever type of cover you will use for your floor to shield it from splatters, it is wise to always wipe up heavy spills that may soak into it.

Tape Over Switches and Outlets

It would look really messy if your cover plates will get paint on them. Take off all the cover plates of your switches and outlets then place a 2-inches wide painter’s tape over them. Apart from this, don’t forget to remove picture hooks, curtain hardware, and others. If there are accessories or hardware that cannot be removed, cover them with masking tape as well. For sensitive wirings like your phone jacks, unscrew the plates and mask them off with tape. Don’t forget to tape the terminals inside the plate to protect it from drips. If there are other wires, use electrical tape to wrap it and avoid exposure to paint.

Protect Doors and Windows

Apart from those mentioned above, you should also protect your doors and windows from paint. Place a plastic to cover the windows and tape at least 1/2 inches from its trim. You can also use light plastic to cover your doors but see to it that you can still open and close it.

protect doors and windows before painting

Clean walls

This is a crucial part of the painting process because if you fail to clean the surfaces, there would be lumps on it instead of the usual flat look. It’s also possible that the paint’s color will be affected once mixed with dust and grease.

Before you begin painting, make sure that you prepare the surfaces, so it is free from dust, grease and other debris. Clean the surface and use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust. If the wall was previously covered in paper, remove the paper marks and cut around glue spots using a utility knife. Check for holes and cracks then fill them with drywall or filler compound three times. Flatten the compound on the surface using a putty knife then sand it. You can avoid sanding if you do not overfill the holes. For cracks, fix it with joint compound and mesh tape, then sand once did.


After this preparatory work, it’s time to paint a room! Just pick the perfect paint color palette, and you are good to go! However, you should take note that choosing the right paint color is an important part of the process because you have to achieve the kind of look you want. In selecting, don’t just consider your favorite shades but check if these will look great with our existing furniture, fabrics, and furnishings.

Once you have decided on the perfect color palette, then start painting and enjoy the process! This is a fun DIY project that could turn out totally great once you did the preparatory steps the right way.


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