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Painting and decorating tips, tricks and advice

A room looks fantastic with a new coat of paint. However, painting a room yourself can be very time consuming. That said, it can give you with an enormous sense of satisfaction once you have completed it. If you have the time and you're determined that you're going to paint the room yourself, you may find these tips and tricks useful.


You'll enjoy the job more and get the job done quicker, if you get everything together, right at the start. Make a tool station in the middle of the room you're be working in. Get your paint, brushes, rollers, hammers, screwdrivers, plastic bags, plastic wrap, rags, paint can opener and drop cloths and place them in tool station.

Painting tips

Plan a Day for Preparation

Don't try to get everything done in one day - you won't achieve it anyway. Take a day before you start the painting to move furniture out of the room. If you can't move all the furniture out, place the furniture and any lamps etc into the middle of the room and cover them with a good drop cloth. Now, tape the cloth around the furniture. Put a second plastic cover or old sheet over everything. It's worth the extra time. It will save you rubbing off paint splashes with white spirit at the end of the job!

Painting tips

The key to a good finish is the detail

This is where the amateur falls down. They never prepare the walls properly. Everyone is too excited to get the paint on the walls. If you want a professional finish - this is where you need to spend the time. This is where professional painters and decorators spend their time! Now, start by putting painter's tape around doors and windows - it's a chore, but it's better than getting paint off windows! Cover the wall and ceiling lights with large plastic bags.

Painting tips

Remove the door handles

It may seem easier to paint around door knobs or light switches, but unless you're a very talented amateur or a professional painter and decorator, you're almost certain to get drips on them. So take the door handles off and cover the switches with tape. Unless you're an electrician you shouldn't remove the light switch face plate yourself. Put the handles in a bag and re-attach them after you've finished.

Painting tips

Check the walls for holes and cracks

The walls are key. Now, examine the surface you're about to paint carefully. Although you probably won't notice on a day to day basis, but there are usually cracks, small holes and dinks in every interior wall. A coat of paint won't correct or cure these surface flaws, so you have to address them before you start the painting or you won't get that quality finish you've been after.

Painting tips

Fill the holes and cracks

For holes and cracks, you'll need to fill them. Goto a hardware store and ask them their advice for using the best filler. B & Q have a large range. If you can find a member of staff in there, and if they know anything about painting and decorating, you can ask them. If not, follow the instructions on the tube. Push the end into the hole and push the filler in. Take off the excess with a trowel. Do this for all the holes and cracks on all the walls in the room. Leave it to dry. You'll have plenty to do when you come back!

Painting tips

Sanding down the walls

Sanding is just about the most important preparation you can do for a great finish. Don't skimp here. Sand down all the walls with progressively finer grade sand papers. Starting with a coarse paper, then medium, and finally a fine paper.

Painting tips

Clean the walls

OK, things are now on track. Get a vacuum cleaner and duster and clean out the area. Dust is bad for your paint finish. Now, wash down the walls with a damp cloth to get any dust that has stuck to the walls. If you've had fungus problems, now is the time to treat the walls with an anti-fungal solution. Leave the area to dry out thoroughly. Close the door so that no other dust enters the area.

Remember! Proper surface preparation will take much longer than the actual painting. The key to that excellent finish you are looking for is in the preparation.

Painting tips

Prepare Yourself!

Unless you want to look like you are painting and decorating a room when you're in the pub - cover yourself up. No matter how hard you try, you're bound to get paint on whatever you're wearing. Take off jewellry and watches. Put your 'throw away' clothes on. (Charity shops don't take them anymore anyway!). Put on old shoes or socks and take them off when going into other rooms. This way you won't need to take as much paint off yourself in the shower.

Painting tips

Select your paint

OK, it's now time to select your paint. You'll need undercoat. Whatever you do, do not buy cheap own brand undercoat. You will regret it when you're on the 3rd coat! Buy the best undercoat you can. Dulux or Crown make very good paint and if you can afford it Farrow & Ball. Why take a chance with anything else? The same applies for the topcoat - Dulux and Crown. By all means use specialist paints if you want. But when you need to touch an area up, remember, you can get Crown and Dulux anywhere. (No, we're not Crown or Dulux re-sellers!)

Painting tips

You're ready to paint!

Apply the first coat of undercoat. You might need two if you are changing the colour of the room. Especially if they are strong, prime colours. If you are painting onto new plaster, water down the undercoat with water and apply a coat. Fresh plaster sucks up liquids readily, so you'll waste a lot of undercoat if you don't dilute it. Now use a roller to paint the walls.

Painting tips

How to paint it

  • 1. Pour some paint into the paint tray
  • 2. Roll the roller slowly into the tray
  • 3. Now, roll it back and forth it's evenly coated with paint
  • 4. Roll onto the ridges in the tray to remove any excess paint
  • 5. Roll the roller up and down in nice, even, strokes
  • 6. Now roll in the other direction for an even finish
Painting tips

Applying the top coat of paint

Finally, you're almost there. Make sure the undercoat surface is dry and dust free. Apply your top coat of chosen colour to the walls with nice, even strokes. Leave it to dry. If there are patches you'll need to apply another coat. Beautiful. A great job!

Painting tips

You've nearly finished - the clean up!

Put your door handles on and remove the tape. Replace the furniture and take the plastic bags from the lights.

Protect your brushes. Now you're an expert, you'll need those brushes again. Clean them thoroughly with white spirit and rinse with water. Allow them to air dry. Store them in their original wrapper or paper-wrapped so that they retain their original shape.

Painting tips

Step back and admire - but remember your paint!

Wait at least two weeks before washing any newly painted surface. After that, clean with a mild household detergent and a soft cloth or sponge. Finally, save a small amount of paint for future touch-ups. To keep it from solidifying, place a small plastic sheet or bag over the mouth of the can and then put the lid on. Give the lid a good belt to make sure it's air tight.

Enjoy your new painted room!

Painting tips


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We pride ourselves on our open and honest pricing model. Our painting and decorating quotations are free, fully specified and give you a full breakdown of the costs involved, including materials and labour. The daily rate is usually cheaper if we undertake the work as part of a project over several days. If your job is smaller, we can usually supply a professional tradesperson on a daily rate basis, as shown below:

DAILY rate pricing

Border Service Price Border
PaintingPainting and decorating £180.00 per man per day
WallpaperingWallpapering £180.00 per man per day
PlasteringPlastering £15.00 per square metre
Wallpaper strippingStripping wallpaper £100.00 per man per day
QuotationsQuotations FREE

Points to note:

  • All prices exclude VAT
  • However your quotation will contain all the relevant information and prices

TestimonialI'm just writing to let you know what a fantastic job Hughie and his team did. They were tidy, which I really appreciated and they were always friendly and helpful. The painting has been done to a very high standard. It's a great job. I will be recommending you to anyone who asks for a really decent painting and decorating company. Please pass on my thanks to Hughie.

Joan Bakewell, Notting Hill W11


TestimonialI've had a great job done this afternoon. Henderson worked really hard and the front door looks great... [Painting the outside of a front door]

Duncan Francis, Chelsea SW3

TestimonialThanks for a very good job. It's really helped me out and the new tenants are moving in next week as planned. I will recommend you to the area manager for all our rented properties. [Painting inside a flat]

Jonathan Berry, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, Battersea SW11


TestimonialCan you please let Gerry know what a great job he did on my flat.... [Painting a feature wall]

Gemma Patterson, Islington N1


TestimonialFirst class project. Very professional. Finished on time - within budget. Most impressive... [Exterior house painting project]

Ronald Peters, West Hampstead NW6


TestimonialI'd be happy to provide you with a recommendation. Very good service and an excellent job all round. Thank-you very much. [Painting walls and woodwork]

Claire Stanley, Dulwich SE21


TestimonialYes, of course. I was very happy with the painting and decorating. The staff were very courteous and polite and they finished the work on time to a very high standard. I would be happy to use your services again. [Internal house painting]

Hannah Murphy, Muswell Hill N10


TestimonialA lovely job! Thank-you so much. You were highly recommended! [House painting]

Joanna Parkes, Shoreditch E2


TestimonialThank-you for being so patient with me. I know I can be a fusspot but I like everything just so. But you've managed to fulfill all my little requests and the house looks amazing! [Painting and decorating inside house]

Amelia Davis, Highgate N6


TestimonialThanks for a very professional job. The office looks great and the management is very happy. I will certainly have another project for you in the new year. Best Wishes. [Office painting and decorating]

Tom Gallagher, Clerkenwell EC1

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