10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU DECORATE
We moved into our flat just over a year ago. It was a real fixer-upper, with no proper flooring, Magnolia splashed walls and an extremely old bathroom and kitchen. As soon as we got the keys we set about starting the work, which was mostly decorating after the Kitchen and bathroom had been done. We wore really cool overalls like in the picture above and pretended we were out of Breaking Bad. Unfortunately, because we hadn't really had loads of experience decorating (apart from the odd bedroom as a kid, and I'm sure I wasn't that helpful!) we ended up doing things in the wrong order and sometimes 2 or 3 times before it was right.
Here's my list of what we did wrong and how to do it right, so that you won't make the same mistakes that we did!
1. START FROM THE TOP DOWN
I mean it's a bit bloody basic but this only dawned on me after I got excited and started painting the walls... the ceiling needs to be done first! Why? Because it will drip, doofus. Do the ceiling, then walls, then skirting. If you are putting new flooring in, do that last. If you have nice floor cover it up with big plastic sheets, which you can get from most DIY shops. Tape it to the skirting, just in case it moves under foot and you get paint under it.
2. DON'T BOTHER WITH MASKING TAPE
Ooh controversial I know! We spent money on getting some fancy-ass 'frog tape' which was supposed to not make any smudges or pull the paint etc... guess what? It didn't work. The amount of time I spent touching up bits meant that I should have just cut in by hand in the first place and it would have saved loads of time. Maybe we did something wrong but in general, cutting in yourself saves time, I think.
3. GET GOOD BRUSHES
Especially for cutting in. Ask the guys in your local homeware shop which ones they recommend for which job. For cutting in they will be tapered at the edge and as long as you have a steady hand you'll be fine.
4. USE ONE COAT PAINT FOR SKIRTINGS, RADIATORS ETC
At first we used a standard white paint because it was cheap, but it needed a good few layers to look properly white. Then we invested in Dulux 'once' and WOOOAH, life changed. One coat, covers all, job done.
5. USE THE RIGHT PAINT
If you're doing a bathroom, use bathroom paint. A kitchen? Use kitchen paint. We went against this rule in the bathroom because we wanted a totally matte black finish. It's not been that bad, but it does get a lot of condensation and I have to wipe it down every couple of months to make sure it doesn't get funny condensation patterns. For the kitchen, we forgot (DUH) to get steam-proof and washable paint. Therefore when Marley is throwing her food about it marks the wall and then when I wipe it that marks the wall too. Do you sense my frustration here?!
6. DO TAPE OFF YOUR WINDOWS
We decided (then undecided) to paint some of the bars on our windows white. The paint was emulsion and got on the windows. We are STILL scraping it off and it's such a tiresome job.
7. DO THE RIGHT THING, PREPARE THE WALLS
I was so excited to get colour on the walls that I shortcut properly preparing the walls. After the initial excitement died down I now am noticing bumps and old lining paper lifting away. I should have been more patient. I will never bloody learn! Remove paper, send, fill holes, wash, line if you have to... you know the drill.
8. I'M AFRAID YES, YOU WILL HAVE TO SAND
I was excited and didn't bother with sanding down the doors or skirting properly in places. It's so fucking long winded right?! Well, yep, no getting around it, it's bloody dry and boring. But it needs to be done. Same as no7, I'm now seeing things that I wish I had sorted at the time and doing them now will be even more hassle. Longting.com.
9. BUY MORE PAINT THAT YOU THINK YOU NEED
You never have enough. If you happen to have some left over, keep it stored away for when you accidentally drop spaghetti against the wall or if mould or condensation makes funny marks.
10. TAKE TIME TO PROPERLY CLEAN YOUR BRUSHES AND ROLLERS
We couldn't be arsed to keep cleaning them so just kept chucking them away and buying new brushes and rollers. Dumb move. Obviously this is wasteful and will cost more money in the long run. Wash water based paint off just with water, and oil based emulsion paints with white spirit. wash till they run clear (long I know, but saves you getting a funny colour mix on your walls) and make sure they are REALLY dry. Water will dilute down the paint and give a funny effect that you'll then just have to go over again.
So those are all the things I picked up from decorating our first home, I'm pretty confident that next time we could get it done in half the time. Oh, PS, it will usually take twice as long as you think. Don't let that dishearten you though! I know all you eager beavers like me are desperate to splash that colour up on the walls but I promise you, take my advice and it will be worth it in the long run.
Peace and love,