How much space do painters need around furniture? This and other paint-prep tips

Whether it’s you or a professional paint crew doing the painting, there should be at least 2-3 feet of space between all the walls and any furniture or obstacles.

We’ve seen and learned, from our customers over the last twenty years, all sorts of space-saving tips to move your furniture and decorations efficiently around a room to paint.

Before we begin, one technique applies to any room: divide your paint project in two. 

Think about your house in two halves and do one half one month and the other half the next. If your schedule can tolerate it, it’s a great way to cut your upfront work in half and spread out the time. Some customers do an upstairs in one paint job and bring us back for the ground floor a month or two later.

Unlike many painting companies, we don’t charge a setup fee or have some other cover charge. One gallon of quality paint costs what a gallon of quality paint costs, and our painting process is just as solid now or in the future. Whether you want to paint the whole house in one go or not is up to you.

Rearranging bedroom furniture for painting

Bedrooms are often the trickiest rooms to paint because they’re small, often have a huge bed that takes up most or all of the space, and other furniture like dressers are heavy.

There are some steps to take to tuck things away:

  1. Get some boxes and load them up with all the small knick-knacks, wall hangings, and decorative items in the room. You don’t have to pack them as well as you would for moving since, in all likelihood, you’re just moving them somewhere else in the house. Closets, attics, or any room that’s not being painted is a great place to tuck boxes for the time being.
  2. Move your bed into the center of the room. We’ll cover the bed with a tarp, so leave an old pair of sheets on there. This will help with step #3…
  3. Put smaller furniture on top of the bed. Small nightstands, shelves, blinds, hampers, etc., can all go on the bed. With a sheet on, you’ll protect the mattress from excess dust or debris on the bottom, and we’ll cover all of it with a tarp if necessary. Don’t worry about the weight unless the total weight begins to exceed about 350-400 pounds for a queen-size bed.
  4. Stack up as much as you can in the closets if you’re not getting those painted. Many people choose not to paint their closets because they’re less seen, usually covered up, and often painted white (which helps brighten up otherwise dark spaces).
  5. If there’s space under your bed, tuck stuff under there, too.
  6. Depending on where your curtain rods are mounted, if any, you can leave those in place. Just wrap the curtains up over the rod, so they hang away from the walls.
  7. Unplug electronics, lamps, clocks, etc. Just don’t forget to plug it back in later tonight, or else you’ll wake up late to a dead cellphone battery.


It’ll be a bit of chaos for the day of the painting, but it’ll all go back into place quickly. And moving all the stuff is a good excuse to dust, sweep, and vacuum in areas you might not be able to reach often.

A good painting company will take care of removing all the outlet covers, light switch plates, and taping for you. Woodiwiss Painting can even help you move a few things if you can’t by yourself.

Prepping the bathroom for professional painters

Bathrooms are usually easy to prepare for painting.

  • Remove all the towels and shower curtain hardware.
  • Remove all the rugs, since they’re easy to move.
  • Take all the decorative stuff off the walls. If you’re going to re-hang things in the same spot, let us know and we can paint over the nail so you don’t have to re-hammer it.

We’ll tape up any tile, towel rods or fixtures, lights, and handle protecting porous surfaces like grout. 

If your painting company isn’t talking about how they’ll do the same, give us a call at (925) 595-3081.

Maximizing space in your living room or hallways for your painting project

Living rooms and dens are usually the most generous spaces.

  1. Move the couch and chairs into the center and stack stuff up in them. Books are a common thing that need to get removed from shelves and sit nicely on the couch.
  2. Take down all the photos, art, and shelves on the wall.
  3. Clean up the corners of dust and unplug all the electronics. We’ll handle the plates and outlets.

Hallways are tight since both sides of the wall need painting, so don’t rely on them for storage.

If you need a spot to store more small items, plants, and boxes, put them in the bathtub. Just make sure it’s dry. Unless the plants are tropical, then they might feel right at home.

Prepping outdoor spaces for your paint job

We’ll take care of almost everything, but there are two things you might want to do:

Other considerations like pets, fish tanks, and more

  • Fish tanks that need moving can be a chore. The best way to handle them is to drain as much water as you need in order to be able to move it (carefully) right before your crew arrives. For fifteen or twenty-gallon tanks or smaller, you could drain them the same time the crew arrives. This protects the fish the longest. Let your crew know where it’s going back to and they can prioritize that wall, room, or space to get it done the fastest. Remember to retain some of the drained water in extra bowls or containers. Replacing an entire fish tank with freshwater can be a shock in temperature, chemicals like chlorine, oxygen levels, and the tank’s bacterial biome. Saving a few gallons in excess containers lets you replace the water with some of that original water later. Check with your veterinarian or pet store for the best guidance on treatment.
  • Let the crew know which bathroom is best for them. They will likely be there all day.
  • It’s a big help to vacuum up large piles of dust or debris that can collect behind furniture. Vacuuming it in advance means it won’t get stirred up by movement and cling to the walls later as the paint dries.
  • Find a spot for dogs, cats, or other pets. Fido might bark all day, but that’s normal. Depending on the weather, maybe you both can work outside in the backyard while the crew works inside.

Let Woodiwiss prep your next paint job

You can have us move most of your furniture for a small extra charge and our team is more than capable to handle it. However, we still recommend you handle most of your personal belongings and items.

Give us a call at (925) 595-3081 to receive a paint job that makes the entire process easy for you, from prepping to cleaning, we have all ends covered..