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You’ll have to start early, but here’s how to paint a room by bedtime.
1. Cover up: Protect the floor, and any furniture you can’t (or don’t want to) move, from paint splatters and spills. For the floor, choose fabric drop cloths instead of plastic ones, as plastic can be slick under your feet or, worse, the ladder.
2. Start fresh: Paint won’t adhere as well to a dirty surface (think fingerprints, soot, dust, cobwebs), so use a Swiffer-type mop to dry-dust the walls first. Swab down any extra-grimy parts with a wet sponge or cloth; you may need a ladder to reach up high.