Painting and decorating dos, don’ts and insider tips


Whether you’re bringing in professional decorators or considering a DIY freshen-up, there are important things you can do to make your next home improvement project a smooth process. In this article, we’re going to look at ways to manage the cost of painting and decorating, and avoid common errors and mishaps!

Practical insights

Let’s explore some of the basics first.

• Never skip wall prep – including removing dust and filling in cracks. If wallpaper is damaged, remove it before adding the new layer.
• Choose paint types with care – look closely at labels to check it’s a suitable product for that surface.
• Don’t paint straight from cans – you reduce the risk of creating a mess if you decant paint into a suitable container.
• Paint lightly and in good light – don’t overload your brush or roller to speed things up, as this causes splashback and uneven finishes. Paint or paper in a well-illuminated room for the same reason!
• Decorate top to bottom – start with the ceiling and work down to skirting boards.

Structure and light factors matter

It goes without saying that you must measure rooms carefully before embarking on any kind of home improvement project. It tells you how much wallpaper and paint you need, and therefore the budget for decorating that room.

However, something that gets easily overlooked is the structural make-up of the space and whether its ‘look’ changes according to times of day or seasons. For example, a subtle colour theme may look bland and washed out in very light, bright spaces.

Before you rush off with your home decorating shopping list, make sure your goals are realistic. Fiddly wallpaper trimming around lots of fitted furniture or unique layouts is frustrating and time-consuming!

By varying the colours and types of wallcoverings and paints you use, you can make the entire room look cohesive but also bigger, brighter and more inviting.

Decorating compact rooms

One of the best ways to make a compact space airier is to paint the ceiling a lighter shade than the walls.

In small living rooms, you could have a statement wall – in a creative and eye-catching design – and other walls in a more neutral effect. This also helps make rooms feel more spacious.

It is best to avoid dark colour schemes, that can ‘draw in’ the walls and make the space seem smaller and constricted.

Another trick is to use mirrors or mirrored tiles to trick the eye into thinking a room is bigger, which is especially handy for decorating small bathrooms.

Can you live with your design theme?

With such beautiful and diverse paints and wallcoverings available, it’s easy to get carried away. Magazines and TV interior design programmes are also a great source of inspiration and can have you rushing around to introduce the latest interior design trends in your home.

It’s important to take time to consider this project while sitting in the room you are decorating. You will have to live with this new room theme for some time, so really consider your aesthetic and think about whether it will stand the test of time, or start to get on your nerves too quickly!

Lots of people use sample pots of paint and wallcovering pieces to get a ‘feel’ for the planned changes. Mood boards are also a handy way to iron out your goals, preferences and top design ideas.

The big questions you need to ask include:

• Does your planned change match the architecture and light qualities of the room (see above)?
• Is it too busy, and overwhelming?
• How will the decorating theme match existing or new furniture and furnishings?
• Does it suit your lifestyle?
• Will your favourite wall art look good against this backdrop?

When decorating a living room, some people start with the sofa and chairs, as they are central features. Then, move on to colour scheme considerations and any supporting patterns or designs to highlight that all-important seating.

Hard to reach places inside and out

If there’s one time you should hand over your home improvement project to professional decorators, it’s when it comes to giving your stairwell a new décor or freshen-up. So, you may as well get a quote for a full hall, stairs and landing ‘do-over’.

It is shocking how many people think it’s simply a question of balancing a plank or using standard ladders to reach up into stairwells. Painting and decorating professionals are careful, well-equipped and properly trained. They can also get a smooth, consistent result in challenging areas.

The same risk management priority applies if you need outside painting done at your property, or if you have rooms with high ceilings. Even with someone holding your ladders, completing projects at height without proper training and equipment are dangerous.

Put it this way, each year there are around 6,000 preventable deaths in UK homes. The price tag put on general accidents in the home in the UK is an eyewatering £45.63 billion!

What is the most common accident in the home? Falls. Which explains why we highly recommend professional painters and decorators for hard-to-reach places and especially stairs.

You don’t always have to play it safe

That is not a painting and decorating tip that contradicts the last one!

What we mean is, modern manufacturers, offer wonderful opportunities to get creative. In fact, the sky is the limit when it comes to choosing colours, patterns and finishes for your home decorating. This is your chance to stamp your personality and preferences on your home.

There are some great online articles to help choose a colour scheme, including ones that explain different colour meanings and effects.

This is also a good time to bring in professional decorators. They provide good advice on combining bold colours or creating stunning statement walls, and the latest trends and products to make the best of every room.

Do you know which value-for-money home decorating products are most durable, or particularly robust for family homes? They do! The professionals can also give you insights on the cheapest paint and wallcovering options to achieve your interior design goals.

It will still be about personal choice though, and making your home as aesthetically pleasing and wonderfully welcoming as possible.

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