Revamping your walls is one of the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to redecorate your home. A fresh coat of paint or some new wallpaper will instantly clean and refresh your property as well as transform its style – here are some top tips to get you started.
To get the best, most professional results, it’s important to prepare your walls before you start redecorating by following these tips:
Check for lead paint
This was commonly used in properties up until the 1960s before the health risks of inhaling lead dust became know. Exposure to lead can cause general illness or in extreme cases, kidney and nerve damage, so hire a professional to check for and remove lead paint if you suspect it may be present in your property.
Remove old paint or wallpaper
This can be a time consuming and tedious task, but it’s one that will pay off in the long run – starting with a bare, even wall surface will ensure the best finish. Use scrapers, scourers or even a pressure washer to get rid of old wall coverings, but try not to cause any damage in the process.
Sort out any damp problems
Damp is a common household ailment which can cause mould to grow on your wall coverings. If you spot damp while preparing your walls it’s important to find out the cause and sort it out before you continue redecorating – otherwise damp and mould will simply destroy your new wall coverings as well.
Drywall or filler, if necessary
Once you’ve got down to the bare walls you’ll be able to see just how even their surfaces are. Any holes or cracks should be smoothed over with a coat of plaster before you apply new paint or wallpaper. Plastering can be deceptively tricky, so hire a professional if you’re not sure and always make sure the plaster is completely dry before moving on to the next step.
Protect your woodwork
If you have wooden window frames, doors, or skirting boards, it’s important to protect these while you’re redecorating. You can do this by applying masking tape or covering them with plastic. Wood needs regular sealing to prevent it from rotting or warping, so it could be a good idea to repaint or varnish your woodwork while you’re decorating your walls.
How to Choose the Right Color for your Walls
Use color wisely. be aware that dark shades will make surfaces come towards you, while light colours create the illusion of space. So for example, using a dark colour on a high ceiling will make it appear lower, while white can help make a small room feel more spacious. Colors also influence mood, so consider this carefully:
• Red is often associated with danger but certain shades can also be warming or passionate
• Blue can be used to create a calming, soothing feel
• Green relates to nature and is easy for the eye to adjust to
• Yellow can have happy, positive connotations, provided you choose the right shade
• Purple is traditionally associated with wealth and luxury
• White creates a fresh feel, but can also look clinical when used in excess
It’s a good idea to break up large areas of color with neutrals such as beige or cream to allow the eyes to rest. When choosing colours be aware that light can change the way they look; it’s a good idea to paint a few different shades of one color onto the wall so you can test which works best.
The best way to achieve a perfect paint job is to hire a professional painter; this will also save you time and hassle. If you decide to choose a professional, make sure you choose someone local who has valid insurance and good references.
Choosing the right type of paint
There are a variety of paint types to choose from; primers are good for sealing porous materials, while emulsion is often used on ceilings because it’s thick and easy to apply. Traditional, solvent-based paints contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are given off over time and can make you feel unwell. These types of paints are slowly being replaced by natural, water-based options, which are sometimes referred to as eco-paints. If you’re painting wood you might want to use gloss, while special bituminous paints are available for metal surfaces.
Be sure to avoid these common painting problems:
• Peeling and blistering – make sure that paint is completely dry before adding new layers, blistering is often caused by trapped moisture
• Flaking – this can occur if you haven’t properly prepared your surface before painting
• Brush marks – use a good quality brush and make sure you don’t apply paint too quickly to avoid brush strokes
• Grinning – make sure to remove old wall coverings before you start so that they don’t show (‘grin’) through your new paintwork
• Cut and measure strips of paper carefully before you begin
• Clip wallpaper to a table before you apply paste to keep it steady
• Mix up small amounts of paste as you go
• Move furniture out the way and protect your flooring with a sheet
• Calculate how much wallpaper you need by measuring your room
• Be careful papering around electrical sockets; turn off the electrics at the mains first
• Clean excess paste off wallpaper as you go before it dries and creates shiny patches
• Leave paste to absorb into the paper for 10 minutes before applying to the wall
• Never try to wallpaper around corners
• Use a good quality, wide brush to spread paste
Author disclosure: This post was written on behalf of home improvement website ServiceMagic in the UK; who connect homeowners with local tradesmen.