A beginner’s guide to interior painting

I bought a nice pair of dungarees for my week off to paint. Had visions of looking all cute like Demi Moore in Ghost, playfully flicking paint at my fiancé, him chuckling away with adoration oozing from his eyes…In reality – I wore my old grey tesco joggers all week. Paint was ALL OVER my greasy hair and tired face and we bickered the ENTIRE time with hate oozing from our eyes. In retrospect it is hard work. Hire someone if you can afford to.

But if – like me – you choose to ignore that advice and think ‘I can do it!’ then here’s thing or two I learnt about painting along the way…

Before and after…

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Choosing your paint

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Choosing paint colours is hard. There are literally so many shades out there. It is overwhelming.

Paint looks completely different in certain lights. Find out which direction the sun hits your room before you paint it and always test it first.

North facing rooms tend to bring out cool tones in paint whereas south facing rooms will enhance warm tones.

Go for colours which aren’t going to be too trendy or faddy.

Don’t be scared of dark paints – they can look beautiful and add warmth and depth.

Consider your house and its character. Don’t try to turn it into something it’s not.

Prep is key

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Cover everything with dust sheets or newspaper. Paint. Gets. Everywhere.

Strip any existing wallpaper with warm soapy water and a scraper.

Wash your walls thoroughly with sugar soap and warm water to remove any paste or grime.

Fill any small perfections with filler.

Sand the walls, skirting, coving and anything else you’re painting. A proper rotary sander was one of best things I bought. Walls, wood, floorboards. It’ll blast through. Get coarse and fine disks to make it look great.

Finally and most importantly, frog tape up your barriers. This is how you get nice straight lines and avoid painting your furniture.

All about base

Primer goes straight on top of plastered walls and undercoat goes on top of existing paint. We painted one coat of undercoat to neutralise the turquoise/ purple walls and allow the true colour of our paint to come through on top.

Paint finishes

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So many. So confusing. I googled so many things and I still don’t understand. I think it generally depends how shiny you want your walls. The most common interior paint finishes are matt, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss.

We went for Home of Colour (Homebase) eggshell on all woodwork, which looks beautiful and not matte or glossy (I hate gloss) and Farrow and Ball Estate Emulsion, which gave us a chalky matt finish on our bathroom and bedroom walls.

The paint

After months of agonising over the Farrow & Ball colour chart I finally decided on the below combination:

Bathroom

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Farrow & Ball Cornforth White
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Farrow & Ball Inchyra Blue (new)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farrow & Ball Pale Powder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other then Farrow & Ball, these guys also have great paint colours:

Little Greene
Annie Sloan 
Zoffany
Dulux Heritage

Little tip: Like the designer paints but can’t afford them? Take a swatch down to B&Q and they’ll colour match it with their Valspar service.

We used one 2.5L tins of Inchrya blue and one 2.5L can of Cornforth White in the bathroom and two 2.5L tins of powder blue in the spare room.

The technique

Start at the top and work your way down – ceilings go first, then walls, then coving and skirting. Use a roller with an extension poll and roll away.

Cut in by hand with a paint brush – paint around all your corners and edges first  – all the places a roller can’t get to.

The first coat looks a bit shit and patchy but don’t worry. When you roll on the second (we also went to a third) it suddenly looks amazing.

Wait at least 4 hours for paint to dry before you go in for another coat.

Take off your frog tape when it’s still wet.

Get a truckload of decorator wipes to hand – they’re really handy for erasing mistakes – especially when you drop paint on the floor – like I did – a lot.

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