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6 Easy Steps To Prepare Walls for Interior Painting

If you’re like most homeowners, at some point you’ll want to freshen up the look of your home by painting the interior walls with a simple and inexpensive DIY interior paint job.

Whether you just moved into your home and you want to make the space yours, or you have been living in your home for years, a fresh coat of paint is a great way to breathe new life into your home.

Interior painting might seem pretty straightforward, but there are several steps that you need to take before you can apply new paint to your walls.

Cleaning walls, dusting off baseboards, and laying down drop cloths are just a few things that you should do before you start painting in order to ensure that the job goes smoothly and the finished product looks good.

We’ll give you tips on how to clean and sand your walls, and we’ll also talk about priming them before you start painting.

Why Should You Prepare Your Walls Before Painting?

One of the most important things that you need to do for any interior painting project is to prep walls for painting. Not only does prep work ensure your paint adheres to the wall surface, but it also reduces the chances that your paint will streak from dust and other particulates that could mix with the paint as it dries on your walls.

This process will add an extra 30-45 minutes to the overall project for each room, but this extra time can save you a lot of time in the long run with a home improvement project and it ensures the room looks amazing when complete.

Prep work might seem like it adds unnecessary time and effort to your DIY project, but by doing prep work you will be able to work faster and the new paint will adhere to the wall surface better compared to if you had not done any prep work before the painting project.

6 Steps To Prepare Your Walls Before Painting

Painting is one of the simplest and most effective ways to freshen up a room, but in order to achieve professional-looking results, it’s important to prepare the walls properly beforehand. Skipping this crucial step can lead to a paint job that is streaky, dull, and full of imperfections.

Let’s look at 6 steps of prep work that you can follow to prepare your interior walls and trim to achieve a great-looking DIY interior painting project today!

1. Remove All Furniture And Other Objects From The Room

The first thing that you need to do is remove all of the furniture and other objects from the room. This includes things like picture frames, furniture, and other items away from your wall so you have at least 3 feet of space cleared in front of the wall surfaces that you want to point.

Basically, anything that is not attached to the wall needs to be removed so you don’t have to pause the painting project to move items in the room.

Not only will this give you more space to work, but it will also prevent your furniture from getting covered in paint fumes or dust.

If you can’t remove all of the furniture from the room, try to push it into the center of the room and cover it with a drop cloth to prevent drips from drying on your furniture and floors.

This will ensure that you have a clear area to set up ladders and other equipment around your home, plus it ensures you don’t accidentally splatter paint on your furniture while working.

2. Wash The Walls With Warm Water To Remove Any Dirt, Dust & Grime

The next step is to wash the walls with warm water to remove any dirt or dust that has accumulated on them. You can use a damp rag to remove dust from baseboards and other trim and let the wall surface dry for at least 15 minutes before you apply new paint to the area.

This is an important step because you want your paint to adhere to a clean surface and you don’t want dust or dirt to mix with your paint as it dries on your wall surface.

You can wash your walls with a sponge or cloth, but we recommend using a hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner. This will make the job go quicker and it will also remove any spider webs that may be lurking in the corners of your room.

Depending on how dirty your walls and baseboards are, you might need to use a light detergent. If you use a detergent just be sure to rinse them off with clean water to remove any soap residue to ensure your new paint adheres to the walls. Then, allow the surfaces to dry completely before moving on to the next step of patching holes or cracks in the walls.

3. Patch Any Holes Or Cracks In The Wall With Plaster Or Spackle

The next step is to patch any holes or cracks in the wall with some spackle and filler. This will help ensure that your paint job looks smooth and professional after you complete painting since the areas will be free of any rough spots.

Many times you will find small holes where pictures were once placed on the walls, or you can find larger holes where doorknobs frequently strike the wall behind a door. In these areas, you can use a scraper to remove excess debris before applying the filler to smooth out the area.

While prepping the wall before painting, you need to pay special attention that you don’t apply too much filler or spackle to the area. This is because too much filler or spackling can capture moisture that will compromise how well your new paint adheres to the wall surface.

Be sure that you apply the plaster or spackle to the hole or crack, and then use a putty knife to spread it evenly over the surface. Make sure the spackle is smooth and covers the cracks or holes completely before you begin you apply paint to the wall.

Once you have patched all of the holes and cracks, be sure to sand them down so that they are flush with the rest of the wall. Depending on the amount of spackle you applied, you may need to wait a few hours to let the spackle dry before you begin adding paint to the area.

4. Sand Down Any Rough Patches On The Wall

The next step is to sand down any rough patches on the wall. This will help create a smooth surface for paint, and it will also help the paint adhere better to the wall.

If you have a lot of rough patches, you may want to use an electric sander to speed up the process. Pay special attention to baseboards, door frames, and other areas that see lots of foot traffic and constantly get hit throughout the day.

You may not want to use an electric sander, so you can use a sanding block with fine-grit sandpaper to even out rough spots around your home.

Along with smoothing out areas around the trim, baseboards, and wall surfaces, you will also need to remove any loose or flaking paint from the areas that you want to paint.


This can be done with a putty knife or sandpaper. Once the loose paint has been removed, it’s time to fill in any cracks or holes with spackle or joint compound. These materials need to be given time to dry completely before painting can begin.

Once you have finished sanding, be sure to wipe down the walls with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris to ensure the paint sticks to the surface.

5. Prime The Walls With A Primer If Needed

The next step is to prime the walls with a primer-sealer, if needed. This will help prepare the surface for paint and it will also create a barrier between the wall and the paint.

If you are painting over a dark color or if you are painting directly on a fresh section of the drywall, we recommend using a primer-sealer to help ensure even coverage and minimize the number of coats of paint you need to apply.

You will also need to use a primer if you are painting on bare wood, but the good news is that many interior paints come with primer mixed in so you won’t have to apply several coats of primer and paint to the wall.

Using interior paint with primer mixed in will save you lots of time and money in the long run, so keep an eye out for your favorite brand of interior paint with the primer mixed in already to ensure you achieve a great-looking finish that lasts for many years to come.

To prime the walls, simply apply the primer-sealer with a brush or paint roller and then allow it to dry completely before adding a layer of paint to the area. We recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions on how long to wait before adding paint so that you get the best results possible.

6. Paint The Walls With Your Desired Paint Colors

Now it’s time to paint the walls with your desired color of paint! We recommend using a paintbrush or paint roller for best results and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how long to wait before adding a second coat of paint.

If you are painting a light color over a dark color, you may need to apply two coats of paint to ensure even coverage.

Once you have finished painting, be sure to clean up any brushes or rollers that you used so that they are ready for next time.

You can also use this opportunity to touch up any areas that you may have missed while painting. Congratulations, your walls are now ready for interior painting! Thanks for following along.

Prepare Your Walls Before Painting For A Great Looking Home

Painting your home’s interior can be a daunting task. But by following these simple tips, you can make the process much easier – and the finished product much more beautiful.

Have you painted your home’s interior recently? What tips would you add to this list?


Hi, I'm Chris. I'm a professional painter with over 10 years of experience. I want to show homeowners tips, guides, and advice to save them time and money when painting their own home. I know it can be daunting to take on a painting project yourself, but it doesn't have to be. With the right information and some guidance, you can easily paint your home and save money in the process.


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