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“A lick of paint” is a phrase that has been used as short-hand for taking simple steps to make a room look great. But, when you’re a newbie, there are some things about actually painting a room that you need to know before you embark on the project. This is especially true when you’re painting an older home.

So, when faced with the prospect of painting an old room in an old house, DIYer and writer Alex Johnson found out some simple truths to make the job easier, albeit by finding out the hard way.

Here’s his story …

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I have recently been lent a house for a little while – no rent, just as a favour. Sounds great huh? Think of the money I’ll save! The catch? Well my part of the deal is that I have to fix it – we’re not talking a full renovation, but enough to make it liveable (which right now it is not, believe me).

So anyway, this whole exercise is about saving money, which means I wasn’t going to pay someone else to paint a couple of rooms that I could paint myself was I? Anyway, I am a complete newbie when it comes to this stuff, and in all honesty, there’s more to it than I had expected. So here is a lesson to all the other newbies out there – a few simple tips to learn from me:

1: You have to prepare the wall first

Turns out you can’t just paint it. Wall paper stripping is the worst, but you might also need to scrape off a layer of plaster, maybe sand down a few bits, fill holes etc. Things to keep at hand include: Polyfilla, Expanding Foam (for big holes), Sponge & warm water (to soak wall paper), Medium glass paper (and a sanding block, trust me).

2: Cheap paint just isn’t worth it

Cheap paint sucks, seriously – even if it’s for the base layer. Get decent ish paint, it’s thicker, goes on easier, you won’t need as many coats (making it quicker and saving money) and best of all there is much less chance of it dripping on the carpet – which will quickly negate the cost savings afforded by the cheap paint.

3: Pads save time and are less mess

I’m sure many decorators would disagree, but for a clumsy man with little fines paint pads (Google them) are better than rollers for a few simple reasons: They hold more paint so there is less dipping in the paint tray, you can go right into the corners which reduces the need to edge with a brush, they don’t splatter paint on your face (much).

4: Put down sheets and masking tape

Seriously, I know it’s tempting to just dive in and start slapping the paint on (especially after 10 hours of scraping wall paper), but put down sheets first and mask of the bits you don’t want to paint. This will give you a safety net and allow you to be that bit more ham fisted – it saves time and again will prevent you ruining the carpet.

5: Rope in your friends

Ok so it’s not exactly a decorating tip – but trust me it is well worth the cost of a few portions of fish and chips if you can make a day of it. If you’ve got no friends I can’t really help you (I’m busy this weekend)…

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Thanks, Alex!

Alex is from Mesa Garage Doors, Thanks for reading!

Cheers!

Rob.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.