Tips for Interior Painting Preparation

Paint supplies
Prepare properly and have all your supplies handy!

A successful painting project has a lot to do with careful planning and preparation. Painting your home is just one of those projects where you can't take any shortcuts. Preparing to paint properly will also help you save time, since you won't have to run out to the paint supply store for an extra brush or paint. You also won't have to stop in the middle of painting to move the chair that is in your way.

Simply follow the tips and tools below to help ensure the success of your painting project. Are you more interested in letting the professionals do the work for you? If so, find local, professional, licensed painters.

How Much Paint Do You Need?

Figuring out how much paint you need is pretty simple. According to, "You can expect 1 gallon of paint to cover about 350 square feet. You need slightly more than a gallon if the walls are unpainted drywall, which absorbs more of the paint. You also need to consider whether to paint more than one coat. If you're painting walls that are unfinished, heavily patched or dark in color, plan to apply two coats of paint." Click the link to to read more about ways to calculate the square footage of your room and how much paint you'll need for your painting project.

All painting projects need tools and supplies. Make sure you keep the checklist below in mind — or even bring it along to the paint supply store:

Supplies & Tools Checklist

Part of preparing properly is ensuring that you have all the tools that you will need to complete your painting project. If you are unsure about which tools you will need, consider asking while you are at the paint supply store to find out what you'll need. Just describe your project and if you need any special tools, the staff will be able to direct you.

  • Roller
  • Brushes
  • Bucket
  • Screen
  • Roller tray
  • Stirrer
  • Roller cover
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Hole filler
  • Spackling
  • Sandpaper
  • Screwdriver (for removing hardware)
  • Sponges
  • Primers
  • Putty knife
  • Razor blades
  • Rags
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Canvas drop cloth

Once you have gotten the supplies and tools out of the way, it is time to prepare the room you will be painting:

Room Preparations

  • Move out furniture (or cover it). If you will have enough room to paint with the furniture still in the room, it may be a better choice to cover it up rather than take it out and have to bring it back into a freshly painted room and risk scratching or nicking any fresh paint. Tarps do a great job of covering furniture.
  • Open a window. Fresh air is important while painting. Some paints and primers can have strong odors, so opening a window will bring clean air into the room for healthier breathing.
  • Remove curtains and drapes (and blinds, if necessary).
  • Cover light fixtures or remove them.
  • Remove hardware and electrical outlet covers.
  • Cover floors with tarps and make sure to tape them down to prevent them from moving around while you work in the room.
  • Prepare your tools and supplies and keep them strategically placed, such as in the center of the room.
  • Prepare for cleanup before you start painting.

Wall Preparations

The condition of your walls, their surface and what kind of painting you will be doing will all influence the ways in which you need to prepare the walls for painting. In general, the following steps need to be taken for all painting projects:

  • Remove nails
  • Caulk and patch any holes or imperfections as needed
  • Sand the walls or use an abrasive cleaner for surfaces that are glossy or nonporous
  • Wash the walls. You know best whether your walls need a washing. It's a good idea to at least wipe down the walls with a damp cloth in order to remove dust or other dirt. It will make the paint look better and even make the application easier.
  • Place blue painter's tape around moldings and other areas such as doors and windows
  • Prime walls. Primers are good for covering up pre-existing wall problems such as discolorations, blocking out uneven surfaces and even help with blocking out odors.
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