Difficulty: 1 of 5


Preparing a room for painting will save on cleanup time and will make the finished job look professional.


Use goggles, gloves and protective clothing when cleaning and painting a room.


– Bleach
– Brushes
– Bucket
– Drop cloth
– Gloves
– Goggles
– Industrial cleaner
– Masking tape
– Paint
– Paint roller
– Primer
– Putty knife
– Sanding block
– Sandpaper
– Spackle
– Sponge

Step 1: Clear and cover the room.

Move as much furniture out of the room as possible. If a piece is too heavy to remove, move it to the center of the room, away from the walls. Cover any remaining furniture and the entire floor with drop cloths. If you use vinyl tarps, tape them together so they don’t slide when you walk on them.
Cover the floors with drop cloths.

Step 2: Clean the walls.

The walls must be clean to allow the paint to bond properly. Use an industrial cleaner like Tri-Sodium Phosphate or TSP. Follow the directions to mix the TSP with water. Apply the solution with a sponge, rinsing as you go. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles. Once the walls are clean, rinse them with a sponge and clean water to completely remove the cleaner.
Use a sponge to apply the TSP.

Step 3: Remove mildew from the walls.

Mildew is unsightly and unhealthy. Mix one part bleach with three parts water and apply the solution with a sponge to any mildew spots on the wall. Be sure to determine the cause of the mildew to prevent it from returning.
Mildew shows up as black smudges or dots.

Step 4: Fill in holes and cracks with spackle.

Press pre-mixed spackle into picture holes, cracks and dents using a putty knife. Smooth the spackle until it is slightly higher than the surface of the wall. It will shrink slightly as it dries.
Fill in picture holes using a putty knife.

Step 5: Sand the walls for a smooth surface.

Use a sanding block or a piece of fine sandpaper stapled to a wooden block. Hold the block flat against the wall and sand away bumps, imperfections and paint drips. Sand the dried spackle until it, too, is smooth. If you are painting gloss or semi-gloss surfaces like doors or windows, sand these areas to ensure that the paint will bond.
Sand gloss and semi-gloss surfaces.

Step 6: Mask edges.

The edges of surfaces that are NOT going to be painted must be masked. Carefully apply masking tape right up to the edges where you are going to paint.
Mask right up to the edges where you going to paint.

Step 7: Prime the surface.

With the surface cleaned, sanded and dust-free, it is time to apply a coat of quality primer. Apply primer to the repaired and sanded surfaces. This will seal the wall and establish an excellent bonding surface for the paint. Any new wood surface should get a coat of primer as well.
Apply primer to the spackled and sanded areas.

Step 8: Paint the room.

With the primer dry, it is now time to paint the room. Use a roller to apply the paint smoothly. Make a “W” with the roller and then evenly spread the paint across the wall. Use a quality brush to “cut in” at the edges by sweeping the brush right up to the edge. Depending on the color used and the wall, you may need to apply a second coat. Once dry, the newly painted room will have the look and feel of a professional job.
Use a roller to apply paint to the walls.