How To Protect Your Furniture During Painting

July 19, 2019

Interior painting can give a room an instant lift. It is cheaper to do than say, replacing your black sofa with a fuchsia velvet one, because that is the hottest color right now. Painting walls also lets you experience the colors that you would otherwise be afraid to try, because after all paint is easy to remove and replace. Does that hold true for paint spills on furniture?

You finally finish your paint job and you stand back to admire your handy DIY work. Not bad, except for that paint smudge on your armchair or that stain on your wood flooring. For most homeowners, finding paint on their most prized furniture is an absolute nightmare. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize mess and spills during painting.

1. Remove and Cover Furniture

Tight spots and cramped corners make for poor working conditions that are prone to messy accidents. Move all your furniture away from the room, if you can. If it is not possible to remove it altogether from the room, move it towards the center of the room instead. Cover it with plastic, making sure that the plastic does not move around by taping it with masking tape. If it is a huge paint job, your painting contractor might ask you to temporarily rent a storage unit to keep all your furniture.

A generous workspace of at least 3 feet should be maintained. Test out the space by getting your ladder and roller and see if you can comfortable reach the ceiling and top of the walls.

2. Protect Your Flooring

Do not just rely on newspaper, get drop cloths and rosin paper. For carpets, canvas drop cloths are the best covers and will stay put even without tape. Some contractors would often suggest an underlay of plastic sheet before putting the canvas drop cloth on top for extra protection against heavy spills. Canvas drop cloths can be expensive, but you do not have to cover the entire floor. Use it close to the areas where you are painting and drag it along as you move on to the next area.

For hard floors, like polished concrete, rosin paper is better and will not be slippery. Just tape it to the floor and it is good to go. One layer is sufficient but wipe up any spills before it soaks through the paper.

3. Remove Wall Fixtures and Paintings

You would think that spots behind paintings are inconspicuous and avoid painting it until it shifts a little and exposes the bare spot. It is always better to take down what you can for a better paint job. If there are more permanent wall fixtures like mirrors or a cabinet that is screwed on to the wall, cover the edges with a masking tape. For baseboards, instead of covering the whole of it, put a wide masking tape and let it overhang to serve as a “roof” for paint drips.

4. Remove Electrical Outlet Covers

Painters do not try to cut into little corners. They completely remove the covers and switch plates of electrical outlets and switches. You also have to be careful as a little paint in the wrong places can mess off wiring. Mask off sensitive wiring and tape it to the back of the plate and slip it into the junction box. Make sure that the power is off before trying to touch any electrical wirings.

5. Remove and Hang Ceiling Light Fixtures

Painting a ceiling is easy until you run into a light fixture. Again, ensure that power is off before touching any delicate wiring. Remove any part of the fixture that you can, for most pendants and chandeliers, you can easily unscrew it from the plate and slight the fixture down. Use a hanger wire to hook to the lighting fixture and the other to the junction box and then cover the lighting fixture with plastic.

6. Set A Staging Area For Your Supplies

Keep a separate staging area for mixing paint, storing your brushes when you end the day’s work and for pouring paint into your gallon. Keep this area well protected. If you are planning to mix paint, you can place it in a paper bag while mixing it to avoid splatters getting everywhere. Use pie tins as base for your paint buckets whenever you set it down on a surface.

Doing Damage Control

Sometimes, even with great care, a few paint spills still manage to get onto your furniture.

For wooden furniture: If it is a small spill, just let it dry down and scrape with a plastic paint scraper or putty knife. Do not scrape too hard, as you can scratch the wood. Do not apply any paint thinner unless you know what finish was used on your furniture.

For countertops: Use olive oil to gently rub away the paint. You can also use a scraper, but wrap a rag around it to prevent scratches on the surfaces. If the paint spill is too stubborn, use a small amount of paint thinner to remove the stain.

For fabric sofas and armchairs: A simple blot and wipe with water can easily remove paint stains from sofas followed by spraying it gently with a mixture of water and laundry detergent. For more stubborn stains, you may use a paint thinner, but do test it out on an inconspicuous area first. Paint thinner emits odors and pose a danger to respiratory systems so remember to air it out or neutralize if needed.

The easiest way to prevent paint from staining furniture is to quickly blot away any spilled paint as soon as you can before it gets absorbed or dries and hardens up. Blot and do not wipe, since wiping can just spread the paint even more.

The more preparation you take in covering and protecting your furniture, the more you can minimize accidental spills and stains when you do your interior painting.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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