How to Paint a Room

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required
  • Vacuum
  • Screwdriver
  • Neon circuit tester
  • Work light and
    extension cord
  • Putty knife
  • Taping knife
  • Caulking gun
  • Angled sash brush
  • Paint guide or edger
  • Safety goggles
  • Step stool or ladder
  • Paint roller, tray and
    roller cover
  • Brush/roller spinner
Materials Required
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Plastic and canvas
    drop cloths
  • Painter's tape and
    pre-taped drop cloth
  • Joint compound
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • Rubber sanding block
  • Spray can of stain killer
    primer sealer
  • Interior latex paint
  • Roller sleeves
  • Paint stirrer sticks

Before You Begin

The steps involved in this project are listed below. If you don't have the time or desire to paint, you can find a local painting contractor who has the skills and tools to do it right. Click Home Advisor and find a painting contractors in your area to do the job.

  • Step 1 : Clear the room

    Empty the room

    Move whatever you can out of the room and what remains into the middle of the room, covering it with a plastic drop cloth. Protect wall-to-wall carpeting with heavy-duty canvas drop cloths. (Plastic is too slippery to walk on.) Remove art or other objects from the walls and their fasteners. Remove any light fixtures and switch and outlet covers, and cover them with painter's tape. Tape the light switch in the "off" position before your remove the fixture and twist off the wire connectors. Use a neon circuit tester to verify there is no power to exposed wires; shuting off power at the circuit breaker if you need to. You can usually just remove or lower the trim of a ceiling fixture and leave the wiring untouched. Wrap a chandelier or other ceiling light fixture in a plastic bag to protect it from paint spatters. Paint during the day so you have good light from windows and use a work light powered by an extension cord from another room for additional light.

  • Step 2 : Clean the surfaces

    Vacuum the entire room, wipe off cobwebs, and dust the tops of window and door trim. This is a good opportunity to wash the woodwork with detergent and water. If the walls and ceiling are greasy (as they might be in or near a kitchen), wash and rinse them. Use plenty of old towels at the base of the wall as you wash to protect your floors. Small black spots that don't easily wash off may be mildew, which is a common problem in damp areas (bathrooms) and may occur on walls behind furniture where air circulation is cut off. To remove (and kill) mildew, use a solution of 1 part household bleach to 3 parts water with a non-ammonia detergent. Apply the solution with a sponge and let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it well with clean water.

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