There can be no doubt about it but when it comes to decorating a room – preparation is King, or Queen if you prefer. Regardless of whether you’re painting or papering you must have a good surface to work on. The very first thing to do is to clear the room of as much furniture as you can, then cover whatever is left as well as the floor covering. Next, get the surface ready to decorate; rub down the surface and get rid of any loose or flaking material, then fill in any holes or cracks and finally make sure the surface is clean.
Another stage in your preparation is making sure you’ve got all the tools and materials that you’ll need. I’ve done this myself before now; gone out and bought the paint, got the room and surfaces ready, opened the tin of paint, gone to get a paintbrush, and – Oh! I forget to clean it properly after the last time I used it.
When it comes to painting a ceiling or wall I always prefer to use a brush. Today there are numerous pads and rollers that you can alternatively use for painting. Regardless of to which method you prefer always buy the best quality that you can afford. There’s nothing worse than having to keep stopping painting to pick bristles or bits of foam off the surface you’re working on. Also, if in the room you’re decorating you are going to paint the ceiling, do that first. If you’re painting the walls it’s much easier to paint along the edge of the wall to the ceiling rather than vice-versa. If you’re papering the walls, a bit of ceiling paint on the walls won’t matter.
Paints today are far more advanced than they were even five years ago and one coat emulsion paints really will work in one coat. However, I’d always have a look at a wall or ceiling surface the next day, when fully dry, just to make sure another coat isn’t needed. If there’s any glass or wood you don’t want to paint, make sure the edges are at least taped over to avoid any paint dribbling on to them.
If you’re papering a wall, depending on whether you need to paste the paper or the wall, you might need to size the walls first. (Plaster walls are incredibly absorbent and will suck the moisture out of any paste very quickly.) Make sure the lengths of paper you cut have a bit spare – top and bottom – for fitting it and be patient. Getting the first drop of paper right is essential, make sure you have a good plumb vertical line to fit against and don’t try and start in a corner. Ideally, take the width of the paper and start just inside that width near a corner.
Finally, presuming you’re decorating in your own home you still need to be vigilant about your own health and safety. It really isn’t worth it standing on a chair, that’s balanced on top of a table, so you can reach the ceiling – only to fall off it and break an arm, leg or worse. The few dollars you might spend on a step ladder could be nothing compared to the medical bills and lost earnings. Also, if you’re decorating around electrical fittings turn them off at the fuse box and never disconnect or meddle with a gas fitting.