8 Preparation Steps for House Interior Painting

Everything works so much better with a plan!

If you haven’t already, figure out why and what you want to paint. ; )

These 8 steps for house interior painting will make the job flow smoothly and easily.   It might even be fun!

Painter with supplies1. Gather all of your supplies together.   I’ve made a list of necessary supplies to help.

2. You want to protect all of the furniture and the floor.  I like to move the furniture into another room but it works to just cover it well with tarps or a drop cloth and move it all to one corner.  You can paint 2 walls and then when it dries you can move the furniture over and do the other walls.  I just paint a couple of walls in the other room while the walls in the first room dry.  If you are painting the ceiling as well, you will need to cover and protect the light fixtures and/or ceiling fan while you paint around them.  This is where the painters tape and newspaper comes in handy.

3. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation in the rooms you will be painting.  You should open a window or a door if you can, and a fan is a good idea too.

“A paint job is only as good as the tape job.”

An old painter once told me that.

4. Mask the areas you won’t paint yet.   To get the nice sharp lines use the blue painters tape and painters caulk around the top edge of the walls or ceiling, depending on where you are working, and cover all of the trim and baseboards.  This is where newsprint comes in handy.  You can avoid having to tape every bit of the trim if you use newspaper or the rolls of paper.

I’ve included a video tutorial just below to make this seem less confusing.

You want to tape lengthwise on just the edge of the paper leaving half of the length of the tape exposed so you can stick it to the baseboards or the trim that you want to cover, like doors and windows, etc.  Be careful to hold the tape fairly taut, but be careful not to stretch it when you place it so the lines are nice and straight.  The blue tape is low tack so it pulls off easily when the paint sets.  It’s easier if you get it off before the paint dries completely, like just when it is dry to the touch.

5. When everything is covered and taped off, check for cracks between the trim or baseboards and the walls.  You can fill these cracks with painters caulk.  Here’s a great demonstration on how to caulk.

Spackle and Prime

6. Now it’s time to grab the spackle and fill any small holes or dents.   Use the sandpaper to sand any minor imperfections, like previous patches or old drips, and smooth out the spackle if needed, once it dries.  As a precaution you can use tack cloth or a damp paper towel to quickly wipe away the dust so it won’t interfere with the paint sticking to the wall.  I’ve been lucky so far and haven’t had a problem with this.  The wall just needs to be sanded smooth enough so that the bumps from the repairs won’t show once you add the texture and paint.   If you have a large hole or crack that needs to be patched, here is a tutorial.


There are some cool techniques for texture that look amazing when finished.  We can get into those on another post.

Texture and Metallic Paint

Some of them are a little more effort, but very much worth the extra time they take.

At this point it’s a good idea to take a break and let the spackle and/or texture set and completely dry before you start painting.   I would wait overnight and paint in the morning, but look at the directions on the box because it might be dry enough within 3 or 4 hours.


When the spackle is dry we can start with the fun part!


7. Grab your paint brush, edging tool, or mini roller, not the large roller yet.  My favorite is the paint edger.

You are going to do the ‘cutting in’ with primer.   I pour a small bit of primer into a small square sandwich bowl with a lid.  It helps reduce chances of spills and it’s easier to carry around as I work.   If the walls are lighter than the paint color you have chosen, you can probably skip the cutting in part with the primer and just cover the majority of the walls and when that is dry, do the cutting in with the paint.  I start at the top near the ceiling and paint a 4″ to 6″ strip, just wide enough so that when I use the roller I won’t be bumping the ceiling with the color (or the wall, if you are starting with the ceiling).  On the walls, you will also want to cut into the inside corners with the paint.  The rollers tend to leave a small gap.  Then I do the same to the baseboards and the trim around the windows and doors.

Holidays on Wall

8. Now you’re ready to grab your large roller and paint your walls!  I like to hook a screen inside a 5 gal bucket, but if you don’t need that much paint, a paint tray with a screen works.   The screen helps keep the roller from having so much paint on it that it runs down the wall.  I learned to paint using the W technique.  It helps to reduce the thin spots that are called holidays.  You just want to make sure you have even coverage.  I’ve found that two coats works the best.  If you put the first coat on too thick it takes forever to dry and there’s a higher chance that it will run when you aren’t looking.  This video below is a great example of the W technique.  You don’t have to use it, but if you do you’ll find that you get a more even coverage more easily.


Clean up, put your furniture and decor where you want it, enjoy!


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