Before you begin, remove hardware and fixtures from the walls and ceilings with a screwdriver. Remember to turn off the breaker or fuse for the room before working with electrical components. Remove electrical switch plates, cable TV outlets, phone jack covers, curtains and decorations and cover edges with painter's tape. It's best to move any furniture you can to another room. If that's not an option, move your furniture to the center of the room and cover it with tarps or drop cloths.
Wash the wall surface using a damp cloth, mild detergent and water. Patch any holes and wall damage with spackling compound. Scrape off flaky paint using a putty knife.
Use synthetic brushes, such as polyester or nylon, with latex paints. Natural bristle brushes work best if you're using oil-based or alkyd-based paints.