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How to make decorating easier

Redecoration doesn’t have to involve calling in the professionals – it’s surprisingly easy to spruce up your home with a little planning

Decorating materials in a Carlisle house
Our latest blog explains how to make decorating easier

There comes a time when even the most well-tended house starts to look a bit tired. From faded paintwork to peeling wallpaper, the signs slowly become impossible to ignore. Eventually, even the Queen of Gleam team will find themselves unable to give certain spaces the sparkle they once enjoyed.

At this point, you generally have three options. You could move house, which is the most radical solution. You could call in professional decorators, which is the expensive option. Or you could make some improvements yourself. Don’t be too quick to roll your eyes instead of rolling your sleeves up, because decorating becomes much easier when you plan it properly. At a time when households across England are struggling with soaring bills and repayments, the savings achievable with DIY decorating can seem compelling. All you need to do is prepare properly…

Create your vision in advance

A decorator will arrive with a specific brief – this paint here, that wallpaper there, twin mirrors to go on opposite walls – and methodically work through each step. That’s what you should aspire to do. Use Pinterest or Juxtapost to pin ideas for prints, wallpaper and soft furnishings. Visit home interiors stores looking for inspiration, and remember to consider ceiling lights, table/floor lamps and even sockets. Simply replacing plastic switches with chrome ones can transform a room’s character.

Choose your materials carefully

Decorating is bad enough the first time, but it’s really frustrating if you have to redo previous work. Ensure every roll of wallpaper is from the same batch to avoid colour variations, and do the same for multiple paint tins. Use tester pots or samples ordered online to ensure you’re happy with a particular shade or pattern – it’s amazing how often an attractive shade doesn’t really work in situ. From curtains to cushions, accessorise around core colours rather than the other way around.

Buy the appropriate tools

DIY is always harder if you don’t have the correct tools, and decorating is no different. Spending ten pounds on a wallpaper trimming edge can transform the neatness of cut lines at the bottom – simply push the edge against the skirting board and run a sharp knife blade below it for a perfect trim. Paint rollers save time compared to brushes while paint trays catch excess drips; a folding ladder negates the need to balance on a chair; a plumb line ensures wallpaper hangs vertically.

Prepare the ground

If you prepare effectively, the post-decorating tidy-up can be minimised, while remedial work is almost eliminated. Start by putting floor masking paper down to protect carpets and tiles, before running masking tape along edges and around corners. If gloss paint gets on the ceiling, you might have to repaint the entire surface to achieve a consistent finish. Throw dust sheets (or old bedsheets) over large items of furniture, or relocate all furnishings to another part of the house.

Focus on the easy wins

Some DIY jobs are daunting, such as retiling a floor or taking off skirting boards. Where possible, make life simpler. Paint over windowsills rather than scoring off old paint, and use satin paint – it doesn’t yellow over time as gloss tends to. Recoating doorframes and skirting boards gives a room a fresh smell and a brighter appearance, but doesn’t take as long as doing all the walls. Oil door hinges to stop them squeaking, and use graphite powder to silence noisy floorboards.

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