Decorating, changing how a room looks and being able to put your personal stamp on it is one of the most enjoyable aspects of homeowning. But be warned, if you’re a first-timer because decorating it can be a potential nightmare if you don’t do your homework first. You risk either starting and then giving up half-way through, or doing a botch job. So if you’re thinking of finally taking on that magnolia coloured living room, here’s some advice.
Before you start
Don’t forget your tools and materials. Buying an initial stock of supplies can be pricey so shop around at places like B&Q, Homebase and Wickes. Remember you don’t necessarily need to buy top brand paint. You will need, at the very minimum:
- Dust sheets (or you could use old bed sheets or curtains)
- A roller and tray (or you could try a paint pad)
- A selection of paintbrushes
- Paint – emulsion for the walls, gloss or eggshell for woodwork
- Masking tape to put round sockets and skirting boards
You may also need
- Filler and a filling knife
- Safety goggles
- A shower cap or a head scarf
- A radiator brush and roller
- White spirit
- A roller extension
- Undercoat / primer
- Sugar scrub
- Paint stripper
You might not envision it being a big job, however it’ll certainly take a chunk of hours out of your day. Painting takes longer than you think, so set aside a decent amount of time in which to do it. If you’re painting a large area, it may prove useful to break it down into sections.
Don’t skip the cleaning and dusting. The walls need to be clean before you start applying paint, so don’t forget to get the duster out. Next, wash them using either detergent or sugar soap. Rinse afterwards and wait until they’re dry before you start painting. You may also need to fill in holes and cracks.
Don’t leave your furniture unprotected. In fact, try to clear the room as much as you can. If anything can’t be moved, cover it with a sheet. You should also cover the floor. It’s surprising how far paint can travel.
Don’t wear your favourite clothes and don’t leave your hair uncovered. Getting paint out of your hair or off your favourite top is tricky, so cover up.
Don’t just slap some paint on a random part of the wall. Work systematically from the ceiling, to the walls and lastly the woodwork.
Don’t assume that one coat will do. Unless you’re using a product like Dulux Once, you will need at least two coats, and then it depends on what colour you’re painting with. Leave plenty of time for the paint to dry in-between coats. Don’t keep the windows and doors shut; the fumes and smell are quite pungent, so make sure you consider ventilation.
Don’t leave the paintbrushes and roller tray to dry solid. Clean them properly and store them in a safe place for next time. Admire the view.
Pat yourself on the back, sit yourself down and admire your work. Sometimes it feels like it takes longer to do the preparation than it does to do the actual painting, but it’s worth it in the end.