If you thought it was simply a case of buying some paint from Homebase and a few strokes of the brush, think again. Painting a room is deceptively difficult and if you want to keep your sanity (not to mention your relationship) in tact, we recommend preparing yourself for what’s to come. But before we impart our words of wisdom from an actual decorator, be warned – painting is a serious undertaking that you should consider carefully before starting. If you do decide to ‘DIY’ without hiring a pro – here is our four-step guide to make sure the entire exercise – including your walls – runs smoothly.
You might be surprised to learn that when painting a wall or room, most of your time will not be spent painting at all. That’s because the preparation of the walls is crucial to making sure it goes well. If you have wallpaper up already, we recommend you beg, steal or borrow an electric wall stripper, which makes light work of the task.
Then you’ll need to make sure the walls are as smooth as silk before going near them with a paint brush. That means running your hands over them and looking closely for any left over bits of wall paper, paint or rough plaster. Wherever you see anything uneven or feel any lumps or bumps, you’ll need to sand them down. Word of warning here – it’s a pretty physical, labour-intensive task. On the plus side you’ll really develop your biceps.
Using masking tape (available in all good hardware or DIY stores), tape along the edges where the wall meets the ceiling and skirting boards – these are usually a different colour. The purpose is to allow you to paint with gay abandon and not worry about dripping or splodging paint somewhere you don’t want it.
Undercoat and priming
At this point, you need to make sure the wall is ready for your new lovely paint colour. If necessary, fill any gaps in the wall with filler (sorry, but you’ll need to sand that down again). Then cover in an undercoat. It depends what you are planning to paint with but usually white it the colour of the undercoat. This basically gives the finished wall a more even look.
It’s finally (we told you it was a lengthy process) time to put your new colour on the wall. Start by using a paint brush on the edges of the wall, next to your masking tape. Then use a roller in the shape of a ‘W’ at first before filling in the rest. Once you are confident you’ve covered the whole wall pretty evenly, wait for it to dry. Drying can take up to 12 hours so if necessary leave overnight and do a second coat the next day.
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