Preparing a room for painting is very much the same for most of the rooms in your home. Some areas may need more set up others will require less. Even so, when it comes to painting, your valuables should be protected.

Below, I give a step by step process for covering all those expensive (and maybe not so expensive) goodies.

Once you have all of your preparation info the wall prep (or fill those holes, cracks and divots page that follows) would be your next step in getting paint rolled onto your walls.


Remove any plug or light switch plates and then completely tape off the switches or plug-ins (being careful not to shock yourself when doing so). I place everything in a pail so as not to loose anything.

When preparing a room for painting remove items from the room making your project that much easier to maneuver. Of course, heavier difficult to remove furniture should be left covered in the room.

  1. On the other-hand, when painting an entire home, you may not need to transfer furniture etc., to different areas or rooms. In fact, the only time to move items is so they can be to easily covered or when pieces are in the way of your painting process.

  2. With that said, you will need to transfer movable furniture to the center of your room.

    Furthermore, walls behind heavy objects (a piano or filing cabinet for example) can be coated using a small speed roller attached to a short extension if needed.

    Another option is to paint only those surfaces that will be visible. Be sure to save paint just in case that big bulky item ends up being moved at a later date.

  3. When ceilings are being coated you will need to protect or remove lights and ceiling fans. Remember to do so prior to filling the middle of your room with a bunch of objects.

  4. Before painting a bedroom, place the bed into the center of the room and then carefully stack as many items (while thinking of the game tetris) onto the bed as possible. This includes dressers, end tables and toy boxes etc.

  5. Where kitchens are concerned pull the appliances out and paint the wall behind them. While the paint is drying place items under or on-top of tables (in the center of the room) and the counter top (leave room on the counter top if your going to need it when cutting in or edging). Cover areas as suggested below then repaint (the dried paint) behind the appliances once again. You can now push your fridge or stove back into place where they will be out of the way when painting the rest of your kitchen.

    In the living room (if possible) place your love seat upside down on top of the couch cushions with the love seat's back at the front of the couch toward the floor (as if the couch where an L and love seat a 7 or L7). Chair backs should face each other unless they can also be stacked. With that done place all those knick knacks onto the center of your couch, chair or love seat ensemble.

    Items that are movable yet to big to stack can be butted up against the furniture that's in the center of the room. Place these larger objects so that there is easy access to the walls or ceilings being painted. Don't stack things to high your not trying to make the leaning tower of Pisa.

    Once everything is moved cover it all (using painters plastic, drop sheets and masking tape) to protect fabric or woodwork etc., most especially if your preparing a room for painting with a paint sprayer.

  6. Excess items or items that will be in the way of your ability to paint need moving to other sections of the home. If you're in the kitchen for example, transfer that big old hutch to the hall or living room.

  7. Don't forget that some items such as dressers or end tables can be placed into an uncluttered closet or a bathroom. Also, remove window drapes (and blinds) including their hardware and move them to another room or under beds and couches.

  8. It's time to protect the baseboards. I like 1-1/2" wide blue Scotch brand painters tape other tapes will work fine, I just prefer the blue.

    When taping, the fastest way is to leave the sticky strip on the roll then stretching it out as far as you can attaching tape as go along. An easier technique (may leave a sloppy paint edge and takes more time to apply and remove) is to tear off as long a piece as you feel you can handle, three or four feet in length for example. The shorter it is the simpler it will be to apply (much slower going though). You will need to decide what works best for you.

    When the tape is attached it should butt up to the wall yet not be bent or sticking to anything other than what your trying to protect.

    Move around the room sticking your blue tape onto the top of those base boards, door casing and window trim etc.

    Once done, do not bend the tape over. When tape lays flat as if it where still on the roll it will stop any paint drips or spills from getting onto your woodwork.

I prefer to use old bed sheets or heavy window drapes for covering things (purchased from motel managers). Since sheets and drapes have weight they don't move or slide around as much as plastic does.

Canvas drop cloth or doubled up bed sheets work best on floors. Plastic tarps will also catch drips and spills but can be sticky or slippery when walked on. Whatever you use as a covering be sure not to bunch them up as hills of fabric may cause you to trip and fall.

After all the furniture moving you should now have a three foot wide (or more) path around the room with everything including the floor covered by plastic or drop sheet.


After preparing a room for painting I will spray the doors, wood trim and casings first, followed by cutting (edging) and rolling of the walls. Some painters spray everything while others prefer not to use a paint sprayer at all. Either way, be sure to properly mask, tape, cover and drop in accordance to the paint application process that you are using.

A paint sprayer (in the right hands) is by far the fastest way to paint and gives the best results. Prior to doing so though, everything in the room will need to be taped and sealed off much tighter than just doing a cutting and rolling project.


As professional painters are preparing a room for painting they will protect the baseboards with tape. Doing so stops splatter on your board when the walls are being rolled. Some painters won't apply tape to casing or other woodwork unless spraying of paint is involved.

For the majority of home owners I would recommend covering your trim with tape.

If your intention is to get better with your brush work then once the tape is on practice. Do so by not brushing paint onto the tape. In time you will eventually be cutting in or edging like a pro.

You can now proceed to cutting in (brushing/edging). If you're not comfortable with using a brush between the ceiling and walls then protect the ceiling with two inch wide Duct Tape. Duct tape has a larger stickier surface area so it'll adhere to stipple better. Having the extra sized tape will also help you to not hit the ceiling with the wet roller cover.

Otherwise any surface not textured or made of concrete should only have painters tape applied to it. If the duct tape doesn't stick properly try a metal painters edger.

Wall paint that gets on the ceiling around the duct tape will need to be touched up (artist brush) by taping the wall (with low tack tape).

As a final note, after preparing a room for painting apply your first coat. While that coat is drying set up another area of your home to be painted. Once you're done setting up the next room go back and finish your painting of the previous room (read the paint label for sanding and drying time between coats).

Of course preparing a room for painting includes filling all of those nasty holes, cracks and divots that your surfaces might have.

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