Most of the work in every great paint job lies in the preparation. That's where we'll begin.
1. Move Anything You Don't Want Painted
You can't paint a room without space to move around. If you're going to be painting the ceiling in the room, then you have only a few items to move at this point; you can skip to the next step.
But most people who want to know how to paint a room usually are starting with the walls.
- Furniture - Move the furniture away from those walls. Move everything out of the room (if possible), but at the very least, move everything to the center of the room.
- Pictures - You'll also want to remove all pictures, wall decorations, etc.
- Plates - Take a small screwdriver and remove all the switch plates and outlet covers, leaving the screws screwed in place by a few threads after removing the covers. If you remove the screws, you'll be sure to lose one. Place the covers into a bucket or drawer. If the covers were looking dingy, place them in a solution of soapy water to clean them while you're painting. As for cracked or broken face plates, completely replace them.
- Taping - Place a bit of blue masking tape on the outlets and switches. You don't want to paint those by accident. If you don't have blue tape, you should get some, or simply use regular masking tape.
2. Cover with Plastic
- Use your painter's plastic or a large tarp to cover all your furniture.
- Tape up the plastic so you don't have any paint drips waiting for you when the job is done.
- Drape tarps or rosin paper on the floor. Rosin paper works best on hardwood floors, as painter's tarps make for a slippery surface. Rosin paper comes in rolls at the hardware store, and you can also get inexpensive builder's paper. Rosin paper is thicker, in case you spill, but either will get the job done. If using paper, tape it down.
3. Mask the Room
Be sure to run tape and paper over your door frames to protect your doors from drips. Creating a little "hood" with paper and tape can save some headaches in the future with a stray drip.
You may also want to run a 2" strip of tape along any baseboard or apply a paper masker. At your hardware store or home improvement center, you will find several products that dispense either paper or plastic with just an edge of tape. This will help prevent drips or splatters from polka-dotting your baseboard as you paint.
After you paint, remove the masking once the paint is dry to the touch. Just be sure you didn't paint heavily over any tape. When you remove it, it may peel off your hard work. If you do notice that the paint is trying to peel from the wall, score the tape lightly with a sharp box cutter blade.
4. Repairs and Primer
- Repairs - If your surface needs some repairs, do this before painting; paint does not make surface imperfections disappear. Any mistakes visible before paint will be visible after painting.
- Stains - If there are any stains such as marker or ball point pen, then these will need to be primed with an oil or shellac-based primer. Look for primers that specify "stain blocker." Keep priming these areas until the stain disappears; do not rely on your paint to do this.
- Wash - Wash the walls with a product called TSP, a cheap painter's detergent used to remove surface oils and dirt. These prevent professional grade results. Get the no-rinse variety and save yourself a step.