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Cantor’s Corner: Painting Preparation and Planning Tips

Cantor’s Corner: Painting Preparation and Planning Tips

by Gregg Cantor
Resident Expert, Home Pro Show
President, Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel

Painting is an easy and inexpensive do-it-yourself project that will give your home a fresh new look, and Labor Day weekend is a great opportunity to paint your home. Here are my painting preparation and planning tips to help make your project go as smoothly as possible:

Starting your painting prep

Before visiting the paint department, I recommend creating a plan.  Make a list of all the areas/rooms you plan on painting including color, size and finish, and inventory any supplies you already have. When you get to the store, you’ll know what you need.

Choosing colors

When choosing colors, don’t be afraid to put some paint on the wall. Existing furnishings and lighting can affect the color and paint chips may not be a true representation of how it will look in your space. If you are unsure about a color, buy a pint can and apply some paint to your wall to see how it will really look before committing.

Quantity: Length X Height X 4

A quick and easy way to calculate how much paint to buy for a room is to multiply the area of the wall by 4. Using the measurement of the longest wall, the formula is Length X Height X 4. If you have existing plans, bring those with you to the paint store. For larger jobs, if you don’t have blueprints an appraiser’s plan works or draw a simple sketch with rough dimensions.

Patch & Repair

You should always patch, sand and wipe before applying any paint. Use tack cloth or a Swiffer duster to make sure there is no residual dust on your surface. For existing painted walls, use degreaser or TSP.


Always use painters tape and tamp it down with a putty knife. There is no need to tape windows, you can safely scrape glass with the appropriate tool. For easy removal, always score tape between walls and baseboard or crown molding.

Protecting Floors

Canvas drop clothes work best for protecting floors and can easily be moved around. Plastic is slippery and paint doesn’t allow the paint to dry, which often causes a mess. Don’t worry about covering the entire room unless you are painting ceilings, usually about 4-5 feet out from the wall is sufficient.


Don’t buy cheap brushes and rollers. Good quality tools will save you time, and the finished product will look noticeably better.


Finish rolling one wall and cut-in the ceiling before moving to a new wall. To keep an even finish, don’t over load your roller or brush with paint.

Once you’ve done your painting prep, I recommend getting your supplies at a professional painting supply or hardware store with a paint department over big box stores. You will get expert advice, quality materials and everything you need the first time.

And if the do-it-yourself route isn’t for you, there are great professional painters. See who the Home Pro Show recommends.

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