How to paint like a pro

Rachel Greene-Taylor
Written by: Rachel Greene-Taylor
Posted on: 15 September 2015

What do you fancy? Pastel blue, vibrant pink or a neutral magnolia? There’s no doubt that a lick of paint is the quickest and most cost-effective way to refresh a room.

If you decide to revive your kitchen, upcycle a new wardrobe, or go for the full shebang and do the entire house, you’ve got to make sure it doesn’t become a deco-disaster. There are some simple tricks to keep in mind...

Testing testing

Don’t pick the first colour you see and go full-steam ahead — once you’ve done a whole wall, you might not be so charmed by the buttercup yellow.

Rather than painting straight onto the wall, it’s a good idea to paint tester-pot shades onto strips of lining paper and stick the swatches up with masking tape. That way, you'll be able to see the colours at different points around the room, as they will vary according to light distribution and where you’re standing.

All the gear

Woven rollers provide the best finish when painting walls and are available in short, medium or long pile. Short pile works best on smooth plasterboard walls, while long is better for brick or surfaces with a rougher texture.

Make sure you wash the roller before using it; any flecks or bits of fluff will be removed and prevented from spoiling your handiwork. And don’t forget, extension poles make painting ceilings a whole lot easier.

For tricky tasks such as cutting in – the technique of painting the join where the wall meets the ceiling – it’s worth buying an edging brush to ensure beautifully straight lines. Wonky edges are not a good look and will shout “botch job”.

For woodwork, use a decent brush, particularly if you’re using gloss paint. Cheaper brushes leave brush marks, so spend a little extra on a good natural bristle brush to give a finish that even a pro will envy.

Pouring paint into a tray

Pouring paint into a tray

Picking a colour with paint swatches

Picking a colour with paint swatches

Cover up

Box up your knick-knacks and remove as much furniture as possible. Move larger pieces to the centre of the room and cover with dust sheets — you can buy these from most DIY shops. Also, look out for rolls of self-adhesive decor protector, which is great for floors as it doesn't move.

Be prepared

Wash down dirty or oily surfaces with sugar soap and leave to dry. Fill any cracks with a fine filler and sand lightly once dry. Score woodwork so that the paint has something to adhere to: a light rubdown with sandpaper will do the trick. If the timber has been painted previously there’s no need for undercoat.

Keep leftover paint; you may need it for future touchups. Once the can is securely closed, tip it upside down to create an airtight seal, which stops skin from forming

Order order

Paint ceilings first, then walls, and finally radiators, doors, frames and skirting boards. Leave each coat to dry before applying the next. To prevent splashes when painting pipes, place a piece of card behind them.

Tricks of the trade

If you’re not finished in a day, wrap rollers, brushes and trays in tinfoil or plastic bags, so they’re as airtight as possible. It keeps the moisture in and saves paint and time. Plus, they’ll stay fresh for up to a week. But don’t forget to wash everything with hot, soapy water once the job is done so that they can be used again.

Not many oil paints are used these days, but if you are using one, rinse brushes in clean spirit then pour the residue into a lidded jar and dispose at your local council waste centre.

Keep leftover paint; you may need it for future touchups. Once the can is securely closed, tip it upside down to create an airtight seal and prevent a skin forming, then label and store it upright in a frost-free environment.

And there you go - you’ve just saved yourself a few hundred pounds and given your home a makeover.

Our Magazine sections

Our Magazine sections

directline logo
Do you have any  insurance policies  with Direct Line?
Close ×
directline logo
Do you have any  insurance policies  with Direct Line?

Things you need to know about Over 50s life insurance:
Premiums stop after your 90th birthday but you still enjoy cover for the rest of your life. In the first year, if you die from natural causes we will refund any premiums, or if you die as a result of an accident, we will pay your cash sum. After the first year regardless of the cause of death we will pay your cash sum. Depending on how long you live, the total sum paid in premiums may be more than the cash sum payable on death. If you stop paying your premiums before the end of your policy your cover will stop 30 days after your missed premium and you won’t get anything back. This isn’t a savings or investment product and has no cash value unless a valid claim is made. Inflation will reduce the buying power of your cash sum in the future.

Close ×