The biggest tip I can give to anyone when painting their own home is to purchase drop cloths! These specific ones actually have rubber bumps on the bottom to prevent sliding. They are perfect for staircases or just to run along wood floors. This allows you to paint safely without having to worry about getting paint on the floor or on furniture. They can be thrown over anything to protect it and are especially good at saving your butt when accidents happen.
These cover grip drop cloths were purchased right at Home Depot and you can also buy them on Amazon.