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Home Decorating Basics

Home Decorating Basics

Following the Christmas break, many people decide to refurbish and remodel their home for the new year. Depending on how much money you have to spend this could be a complete overhaul with new furniture and a new bathroom suite or simply a bit of wallpaper and paint and perhaps some new curtains. If you are thinking about home decorating, no matter what time of year it is then there are a few basic things that you should bear in mind before you begin changing your surroundings.

What changes you decide to make and how you go about making them will depend very much on what sort of budget you have for the job. If money isn’t a problem then you might want to hire a professional to do the job. However, in the current economic climate, more and more people are deciding to do things for themselves. This is entirely understandable but do be realistic as to your skills and experience. We have all seen the DIY SOS type programmes on the TV with an endless parade of botched and indeed downright dangerous DIY projects!

Before you start, be sure to measure everything up. There is nothing worse than getting to the final corner of a room and realising that you have run out of wallpaper or paint, dashing to your local DIY store only to find that someone else has had the last roll or the last can of paint. In practice, you should allow at least 10% as a margin of error to cover walls that may absorb more paint than you anticipated or of course those torn sheets of wallpaper.

Be realistic when it comes to colour schemes. Bright and neutral are the main guidelines. That dark mushroom may have looked fantastic on a property ladder programme but that was perhaps in an enormous room with a ton of windows. Put it in your downstairs WC and everyone will just feel claustrophobic and depressed. Neutral colours are particularly important if you are considering selling your home. That beige bathroom suite may be your dream but someone else’s nightmare.

Back to less esoteric matters. When you are choosing the decorating materials that you need, don’t forget practical items such as turpentine, masking tape and other cleaning materials. You can save money here by buying “own brand” white spirit and the like as this will be just as effective as more expensive branded products. If you don’t intend to take up the carpets when you are painting then you will need some plastic sheeting to cover the floors and any furniture that you can’t move out of the room. Most people now use paint pads or rollers to cover larger areas but you will still need brushes to cut into the corners and round the windows. Much as your budget may be under pressure, don’t be tempted by the cheap brushes: you will end up picking hairs out of the gloss work and doubling the time it takes to complete. Bite the bullet and go for reputable brands with a no-loss guarantee.

Now this may sound silly to an experienced decorator, but if you are new to decorating then you should know that gloss paint is meant for the woodwork such as skirting boards, cupboards and doors and you should use emulsion on the walls and ceilings. Use small brushes for cutting in at the corners and use a piece of cardboard to catch the drips when painting the skirting board.

There are two schools of thought when painting window frames. Some prefer to use masking tape to cover the glass and create a clean edge. The issue here is that paint has a habit of seeping under the edges of all but the stickiest masking tape, particularly on older windows where there may be rough or uneven putty around the edges. Others prefer to paint onto the glass and to create a clean edge once the paint has been dry (for a week or so to avoid smearing when scraping). Both are perfectly valid approaches and will be determined by your own preferences and the type of windows you are dealing with. If you are using masking take, be certain to remove it as soon as the painting is complete. Otherwise you will spend hours scraping it from the glass and potentially ruin the effect.

If you are buying wallpaper it is better to settle for an uncomplicated design than get yourself in a muddle over matching up a complex pattern. If you do decide to buy paper that does need matching up then you need to ensure that you have accounted for the extra paper needed to align the pattern correctly on each drop.

If your plans involve relocating or updating any light switches or electrical sockets, do remember that under new legislation, all work must either be conducted by a qualified electrician or at least inspected and certified afterwards so you will need to factor this into your budget. Failure to do so is not only illegal but you may run the risk of invalidating your house insurance.

Finally, you can save still more money by planning ahead and buying online. Indeed as pressure mounts in the DIY industry, you may well be able to find an online voucher code for at least some of the materials and equipment that you need, further reducing the price of items that are in many cases cheaper online.