How to paint your home

You might not be painting the Mona Lisa, but the walls of your home definitely need as much attention when you’re redecorating. Whilst many may assume repainting your home is a complete doddle, there are plenty of common mistakes that you could make along the way. It’s a big job, but with our help you’ll be on your way to a newly painted room in no time!

1) Clean your walls

This may sound like an odd first step, but it’s imperative that you ensure there are no leftover marks. Wax crayon left behind by toddlers or hard-to-see oil splatters that lurk on the walls of your kitchen could impact the overall look of your finished wall.

Use a little warm water and diluted dishwashing soap to gently remove any dirt that may be hiding along the walls. Even dust and cobwebs could get caught up in your paint and interrupt the smooth finish of your paint.

2) Fill in cracks and holes

When you’re cleaning your walls, you may notice a few hairline crack or chips that need filling in. Doorways are a notorious spot for such anomalies, but you should keep a close eye on your walls in general. Finding a chip halfway through painting could lead to a tricky situation, as you’ll have to stop and fix it, allowing the paint to dry and potentially causing paint ‘tide marks’.

Depending on the size of the chip or crack, you may have to wait a while before painting so that the plaster/filler can dry. If it’s a large space, you could wait up to a month for it to dry. We’ve written more about decorating over plaster in a previous blog post.

3) Cover your carpet

It may seem like an obvious point, but many people miss this vital step or don’t put adequate covering down to protect their flooring. Plastic sheets or a specifically designed adhesive carpet protector are your best bet, thin old bedding simply won’t do! It seems so basic, but you’ll be amazed how many people cause irreversible damage to their new three-piece suite because they thought they didn’t need to cover it. It doesn’t matter how neat you are, there’s always a chance that specks of paint will land in places they shouldn’t be.

4) Tape 

Using tape on the edges of your walls is a handy way to ensure you get a straight and tidy finish. However, you should be cautious as to what tape you use. Choosing one that is too strong could cause damage to your walls, particularly if it’s on wallpaper. Do your research and choose a recommended brand that has been specifically designed for decorating. The last thing you need is strong tape peeling away parts of the wall that have already been painted.

5) Brushes

When it comes to redecorating, many of us already have tools leftover from the last time we decided to revamp our home. However, the buckets and brushes that once served us well have been left to rot and dry out.

Looking after paint brushes ensures you get the most use out of them and the best finish possible from every stroke.

You might be tired from all of your DIY decorating, but make sure you clean your brushes at the end of the day. Dunk the bristles in warm soapy water and gently run your fingers through them to remove paint trapped in between the bristles. Don’t soak the whole brush in the water as doing so will rot the glue that binds the bristles to the brush, leading them to fall out mid stroke!

If you’re worried about paint drying out the bristles overnight, wrap the brush in cling film to keep the air from allowing the paint to set. This is a great tip that really saves you a lot of hassle!

6) Choosing the right colour

When you’re finding the right colour for your walls it all depends on the lighting and mood of the room.

Think about what your room is used for. Perhaps you’d think twice about acid bright yellow in the bedroom and opt for a deep relaxing blue instead, or maybe you’d trade in a safe magnolia for a warm red in the living room. It’s all about unleashing the potential that lies between the four walls of your room.

Remember that not everything in your room needs to be colour co-ordinated. You can use the colour on your walls as an accent shade in your soft furnishings for a much more subtle finish.

7) Creating ventilation

Before you start painting, ensure that there is adequate ventilation throughout the home. Paint fumes can linger long after you’ve finished your project, so make sure you’re doing your best to remove them for the home during the revamp.

Open all windows even if the cold weather makes you consider otherwise. A slight chill isn’t going to do as much harm as the fumes you breathe in, particularly if you have asthma. Not to mention the smell doesn’t really evoke the sense of an inviting environment which is ultimately what you are trying to achieve.

You could also put a fan near the door to help draw air in from the rest of the house and circulate around your room.

8) Primer / Sizing

Do I need an undercoat before painting my walls? It’s a frequently asked question and the answer really is based on circumstance.

If you’ve recently plastered your walls, you’ll need to apply a sizing solution as a base before painting. Failure to do so could lead to your paint cracking as the moisture is absorbed by the plaster.

Generally, on walls that aren’t freshly plastered, you won’t need a primer when using our high-quality paint. However, if there are dark marks that need covering, it’s probably worth applying an undercoat.

9) Cutting in

Cutting in is a vital element of painting a room and refers to the act of painting around the edges of a wall, before filling in the rest of the wall with a roller. If you try to paint your wall with a roller only, you’ll find that there is only so far you can go with this tool. To get a better finish on the edges, you should make sure you’re cutting in first.

However, be cautious when you use this technique. If you paint around the edges of the whole room before getting started, you’ll find that the paint dries at different times and you could create overlapping waves of paint, leading to patches.

Don’t be hasty! Cut in a little section at a time as you go along. You can either use a brush to cut in or a special square pad that can be purchased from most DIY stores.

10) Wait before you apply a second coat

You might be tempted to finish your project swiftly, but putting another coat on too soon could ruin the finish. If you try using your roller on partly-dried paint, you could pull away the film that sits on top of wet paint. This will drag along the wall and create lumps. If this happens there isn’t much you can do to recover, so be careful and give your paint time to dry!