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DIY, painting and decorating - a beginner's guide

Helpful how-tos to get you started.

Pots of coloured paint and paint brush.

How to prep a room

Before you start anything, it’s a good idea to prepare your walls as any holes, bumps or uneven surfaces can affect your final finish. Take some time with these first steps…

Person washing down wall with sponge.

Clean your walls

With a sponge and soapy water, remove any dust, dirt or marks. They can affect the quality of your paint and leave stains that could show through.

    A metal scraper scraping wallpaper off a wall.

    Remove old wallpaper

    A steamer or scraper will make it easier to remove old wallpaper, or flaky paint that’s too thick or too bright to paint straight over.

    Man using a sander on wall.

    Smooth your surfaces

    An even surface is the perfect canvas for painting. Use enough filler to fill any holes or cracks until they’re level with the wall. Then sand down any rough areas.

    Person painting white damp paint onto a wall.

    Apply a damp seal

    Clean up any damp or mould before you start. Then opt for specially created paint as a basecoat – this’ll help prevent the causes of damp and reduce visibility.

    How to paint a room

    Once you’ve prepped the walls, you’re ready to go. Not sure which order to paint a room? Our step-by-step guide will walk you through…

    Bedroom furniture covered in dust sheets.

    Step 1 - cover up

    Start by moving or covering up any furniture with dust sheets, as well as the floor where you’re painting. Use masking tape around skirting boards, door frames, windows and light switches – any fixtures you don't want to be painted!

      Woman on step ladder painting ceiling white with roller.

      Step 2 - start with the ceiling

      Grab a ladder (to reduce neck and arm ache), a paintbrush and roller. Paint a 2-inch border from where the wall meets the ceiling. Pick a corner and use a roller for larger areas. If you have artex ceiling, paint in different directions to ensure full coverage.

        Man cutting in white paint around doorframe.

        Step 3 - cutting in

        This helps achieve those crisp lines where walls meet, and rollers can’t quite reach. An angled brush is best to paint a 2-inch border around the edges of your walls. Don’t have too much paint on your brush and move smoothly from top to bottom.

          Person using a roller to paint a wall yellow.

          Step 4 - the walls

          Ensure your walls are dry before you start. If you’re covering a strong colour, use a basecoat first. Use a roller for an even finish and work from ceiling to floor.  Paint in squares, overlapping them slightly to keep track of where you’ve painted.

            Person painting white gloss onto a skirting board.

            Step 5 - skirting boards

            A white gloss or satin finish are popular choices for skirting boards as they hide imperfections, are easy to clean and give a shiny finish. With a narrow paint brush, apply small amounts of gloss and take smaller strokes for a cleaner look.

              Woman using white paint on a doorframe.

              Step 6 - windows, doors & radiators

              Again, use a smaller brush for these areas. For the main surface of the door, you can use a gloss roller. Paint from top to bottom, using minimal gloss and smaller strokes to avoid paint drops. Allow to dry fully before applying a second coat (if needed).

                Decorating checklist..

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                How much paint do I need?

                Don't waste a drop

                On average, 6L of paint can cover 4 walls of a traditional living room or bedroom. However, this does depend on the colour of paint as you may require more than 1 coat.

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                Kitchen and bathroom paint

                The right paint for every room

                Kitchen and bathroom paint differ because they’re tough and durable - specially designed so moisture, grease and dirt won’t absorb into the surface. It’s easy to wipe clean and usually has a shiny finish.

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                Top tips for painting and decorating...

                Woman using a roller to paint a wall duckegg.

                Paint like a pro...

                • Mix the paint – before you start, give your paint a good stir for the best consistency.
                • Don’t saturate your roller – too much paint and it’ll spray as you roll.
                • Don’t press too hard or roll to fast – this'll create an uneven finish.
                • Clean your tools – wash and dry them thoroughly so they’ll last longer.
                • Reseal your paint – ensure leftover paint is sealed securely so it doesn’t dry out.
                • Don’t leave masking tape on too long – it’ll be harder to remove.
                • Have a damp cloth nearby – for any little spillages.

                  Different types of paint

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                  Garden paint

                  Person painting a fence brown.

                  Wood stain

                  It’s recommended to treat your wooden exteriors (sheds, fences, decking) at least once a year. This’ll strengthen and protect them from extreme weather and help retain the wood’s natural look.

                  Son and father painting a fence yellow.

                  Wood paint

                  A layer of paint can also help protect your wooden structures. This paint usually offers a matt finish and is weather resistant. It’s also an easy way to give your garden a refresh.

                  Person painting a wall blue.

                  Masonry paint

                  Designed to tackle coarse and difficult surfaces, masonry paint provides durable decoration and protection to house walls, garages and garden walls. Or use it to revamp dated paving or patios.

                  Woman spray painting a fence brown.

                  Helpful tools

                  A paint sprayer is an easy and quick way to cover large surfaces. Just be careful about the tops of your fences and hitting your neighbours! Use a ladder too, for any taller walls and fences.

                    DIY projects...

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                    Command hanging solutions

                    Photo frames stuck onto a wall.

                    No holes needed...

                    Discover the easiest (and cleanest) way to decorate your walls. Command’s transparent hooks subtly disappear into your decor, whilst the super strong strips safely secure frames, pictures and posters to your walls.

                    Beginner's toolbox essentials

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