There's nothing quite like a lick of paint to completely refresh a room, whether you opt for a total whitewash or a dramatic burst of colour.
But if you're something of a decorating novice, or you're tackling a particularly large or tricky space, it's all too easy to lose your nerve and call in the experts. Painting is, however, about the easiest DIY job out there – it's all about confidence.
With that in mind, we asked experienced Design Soda blogger Ruth Matthews for some advice. She said that after painting 30 rooms in eight years she picked up her own set of tried and tested golden rules for a good finish and light work. Rollers at the ready!
1. Prep your walls
"Before getting stuck in, all walls and ceilings should be dust-free, smooth and completely dry." Says Ruth. "Try washing them down with sugar soap which will remove any grease or dirt clinging to your walls."
2. Sample paint colours on paper
Ruth says: "The size of your sample really matters, the bigger the better. Using an A4 or even A3 sheet of paper allows you to move samples around the room and follow the light. Paint will look different in different corners of the room according to the way that light floods or shadows it so it’s a good idea to move your shade around a bit before deciding on your choice."
3. Select the right paint for you
"One thing I have learned over the years is that colour is everything, and true colour means quality over cutting corners," Ruth said. "A lot of people and companies will tell you that what I’m about to say is a fallacy, but in my years of painting houses, I believe that unless you are painting in dead flat white then it makes all the difference what you use. If you read my blog regularly then you will know that I am all for creating dash with as little cash as possible in my home but when it comes to paint I just won’t budge."
When you have chosen your paint, remember to give it a very thorough stir (you can use a wooden paint stick or long-handelled spoon). If you're using more than one gallon of paint, consider combining both cans in case there's a slight variation in colour.
4. Cover your furniture
Make sure valuables and furniture are protected before you start transforming your walls. Dust sheets are always handy to lay down or chuck over your furnishings. Keep your windows open for ventillation, or have a fan going to help your walls dry as quickly as possible.
5. Paint one way
No one wants to sit back, and admire their hard work only to realise you can see all the lap marks. So make sure you roll the full length of the wall and wait for it to dry before you go back over it.
6. Be confident when you cut in
Ruth said: "Cutting in (using a paint brush to paint areas that are too tight for rollers) and painting up to cornicing is a confidence trick, the more confidence you have to be natural, the straighter the line and better the result. The quicker you go the better; it’s so counterintuitive and I wish I’d known this years ago. I’ve spent painstaking time on cutting in, but when a builder complimented my cutting in recently he told me that speed and confidence are the advice given on decoratoring courses. So have faith in yourself and follow your hand; it works."
FrogTape can come in handy for painting with confidence. The painter's masking tape is treated with a clever technology that reacts with emulsion paint and instantly gels to form a micro-barrier that seals the edges of the tape, preventing paint to bleed.
7. Choose your rollers wisely
When it comes to paint rollers, buying cheap may actually be better - as Ruth says: "Expensive ones hold more paint and give better coverage but they are heavier and therefore harder work, it’s far easier to paint one area twice with a light roller than once with a really heavy one (especially above head height with arms extended)".
8. Stockpile the wet wipes
"Wet wipes are a godsend to decorating. I wish I’d known this during the years before having kids as they make light work of slips and spills in a way that a simple cloth and soap can take hours and tends to bleed."