First, let me describe the appartment -- it is a two-bedroom appartment on the 11th floor, in a building mostly occupied by university and college students. The previous renters were young males, and they smoked. The ceiling are made of lightly-textured stucco, with the floor covered by carpeting.
Most of the cleaning took place before I really got involved, since I went to get the paint while this was going on.
To make a long story shorter, here's a few tips to make things go faster and less expensive:
- If you want colors, decide on them before going to the paint store. Selecting the right colors can take time, because the selection is huge.
- Buy the paint and other supplies the day before. That way, when you get there to begin working, you can do so right away.
- Get more supplies than you think you'll need. This is particularly true for primer, ceiling paint, and semi-gloss paint for the closets, doors and door frames. You can return usually any unopened white paint without any problem. Colors cannot be returned, though, so you should calculate surface you have to paint and plan 20% more. Having to go back to buy more paint while you are working is inefficient, particularly when your time is tight. Things you will need in addition of the paint: rollers, brushes, masking tape.
- Other things you need. Screwdrivers, plenty of rags, plastic bags, small plastic containers to hold paint. At least one stepladder is a must (2 or 3 steps high).
- Clean all surfaces before you start painting. When they leave, the previous tenants probably won't care how dirty the place is. Paint will adhere much better to a clean surface. Water and a general cleaning product will do.
- Empty a room before painting it. If you can, get all the furniture out of a room before you paint it. Always bumping into someting is frustrating, wastes your time, and can be painful. If you cannot empty a room before painting it, cover everything.
- Cover the floors. Paint will splatter, that is unevitable. All painting stores sell rolls of this plastic to cover the floors. They are worth it, unless you want to spent hours cleaning the floors after you finish painting (and when you are already exhausted).
- Prime everything. A coat of primer will save a lot of time and paint, provided you want a nice finish. This is particularly true if there were different colors than the ones you want. Primer dries very fast compared to regular paint, so you'll be able to apply a second coating within an hour after priming. The paint will adhere much better to primer than to anything else.
- Ceiling should be white. White ceilings reflect more light. White paint is also less expensive.
- Clean your tools frequently and carefully. Don't let your brushes dry, clean them right away.
Enough for now. Let me know if you have more painting tips!