Project Guide

How to Prepare a Room for Paint

Clear the Room
Woman removing rugs in preparation for painting.
  • Remove all small furniture and rugs from the room.  
  • Place furniture sliders underneath the legs or base large items. This will make it easier to move the furniture around the room and away from the area you are painting.  
  • Remove all wall decor, switch plates, vents and electrical outlet covers. 
  • Place hardware in individual plastic sandwich bags and label them. 
  • Place all the bags of hardware in one spot outside of the room. 
  • Cover any large pieces of furniture with drop cloths
  • Spread out dropcloths to completely cover any exposed flooring areas.
How to Clean Walls Before Painting
Dusting top corners of room in preparation for painting.
  • Using the duster, thoroughly clean the walls to remove any dust or cobwebs. Start in the upper corners of the wall near the ceiling and brush downward. 
  • Run the duster along the all baseboards in the room or use rags and cloths
  • If painting in a kitchen, some dust may have mixed with oils, making it harder to remove. Stubborn spots might need to be scrubbed by hand with a painter’s rag.
How to Prep Walls for Painting
Spackling walls in preparation for painting.
  • Locate any holes or cracks in the wall surface. 
  • Use the putty knife to pack spackle into the cracks and breaks in the wall. Let the layer dry a few minutes. You may still have a small indent. 
  • Repeat twice more until you have built up the layers of repair compound. The repair needs to be flush with the surrounding wall when it has dried. 
  • When the last layer of spackle is dry, use the sanding sponge to smooth out the repair so that it is blended with the surrounding wall. 
  • For any hole larger than a fingertip, you will need to use a drywall repair kit. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions in applying the adhesive patch. Then apply spackle as instructed and allow layers to dry. Sand to smooth.
Tape off the Room
A woman taping off a room in preparation for painting.
  • Apply painter’s tape in foot-long strips. This will keep the tape from stretching and allows it to protect the surface better. 
  • Overlap each strip by a few inches to prevent paint bleed. 
  • Apply tape over trim areas at the floor and ceiling, frames around windows and doors. Electrical boxes, door handles and other fixtures will also need to be taped.
  • Apply tape flush with the painting surface, but be sure not to mask the surface itself. 
  • Use a putty knife to press down on the tape as you apply it so that it seals to the surface. This prevents the paint from seeping under the tape. 
  • If you are painting multiple surfaces or using several colors, you must give the paint enough time to fully cure.  Proper curing time takes two to three days. Then, it's safe to tape to the surface again.

Putting in the time and effort to properly prepare a room before you paint will make the job easier and faster. Shop The Home Depot online for all your paint supplies. We deliver online orders when and where you need them.