Decorating Tips, Help & Advice

The team at Heather's Commercial Decorators have put together some useful decorating tips, advice, frequently asked questions and answers to help you achieve the best results…

Decorating Tips, Advice and FAQ's

Decorating is what we do best, we have a specialist decorator who deals with design and is always on hand should you require additional help with making dreams a reality. We are also connected to the very best in the industry. So whether you need a tradesman from another sector such as a plumber, electrician, joiner etc; (you name it), we would be happy to put you in touch with our contacts – all of whom are fully qualified.

We work NATIONWIDE, with a strong data base in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, Sheffield, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire.

Visual affects with the use of Accent / Feature Walls

An accent wall is a wall that is painted in a different color than a room’s other three walls (or wallpapering one wall to create a feature). Typically, an accent / feature wall is in a dramatically different color than the other walls, which creates a stunning visual effect.

When selecting the accent / feature wall color, consider consulting a color wheel. Color wheels are available online and at home improvement and home decorating retail stores.

Try for a change, selecting colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel, like green and purple, which are referred to as complementary colors. Bear in mind themes and complimentary furniture colour schemes which can also influence accent / feature wall color choices.

Decorating a Hallway - Playing with colour

Hallways that have lots of twists, turns and different levels can be really fun to decorate because there are plenty of opportunities to be creative with bold colours. Be brave with shades that have personality and help to emphasise small areas that deserve attention while keeping the rest of the walls neutral.

If you have a hallway that is a complicated shape but don’t want to highlight its difference, use tones of one colour to create visual balance. Deeper tones advance and paler ones recede, so use slightly deeper shades of a colour to make walls appear closer, and paler tones of the same colour to make walls appear further away. By using this visual trick you can balance each wall to make them appear as if they are all on the same level, and suddenly a higgledy-piggledy space appears calm and much more spacious.

What's the best way to paint skirting boards?

Before painting, you will need to prepare you skirting boards. A bare wood skirting board needs to treat with a knotting solution and wood primer first. If they’re already painted or varnished though, you will need to thoroughly clean and abrade the surface using wet and dry paper with a mild detergent. Before you start painting, run a strip of masking tape along the floor

For the decorative coat, use any paint designed for wood and metal, such as gloss, satin and eggshell.

Start painting across the top, use the edge of a 2 inch brush to cut in with long sweeping movements. Now move onto the flat side. Load your brush and introduce it to the board, making a short vertical movement, before a long sweep with the flat of the brush along the length of the board.

Work in easy to manage sections. When moving to the next section, start at the far side and brush into the section you just painted to ensure an even finish.

Remove the masking tape before the paint dries to prevent any from peeling away.

How do I paint a radiator?

Make sure the radiator is switched off and allowed to cool before you get to work. Place a dust sheet on the floor and slide paper or card between the radiator and the wall. Now sponge down the surface with warm water and mild detergent before leaving to dry.

Look for any paint designed for wood or metal such as gloss, satin or eggshell.

For best results, a radiator should be painted in a specific order. Using the edge of a 2 inch brush, paint the edges first, before moving onto the face. On the front, work in small sections, start with the mouldings, painting the top, and then bottom before bringing the two together.

When the mouldings are done, paint the bottom and top edges in long sweeping movements. Carry on across the radiator in a similar manner, slightly overlapping the previously painted section. Make sure you paint into the previous section to help give an even finish.

A great tip for painting a ceiling!

Paint the coving first
If the room has coving, it makes sense to start painting this first as this will help to ensure a neater finish when you paint the ceiling.

A wide oval brush is ideal for painting coving as the shape of the bristles will hug the curve of the coving more efficiently, giving you a consistent, neat finish first time.

When painting the top of the coving, allow the brush to overlap the edge so that it paints the edge of the ceiling as well. When the job is complete. The ceiling and coving will blend smoothly.

What do the different kinds of paint finishes mean?

These terms indicate the sheen or gloss level, or degree or light reflectance, of the paint. Basically, these are terms that are used to describe paint’s shininess.

Where to Use: Kitchen and bathroom walls, kitchen cabinets, banisters and railings, trim, furniture, door jambs and window sills. More durable, stain-resistant and easier to wash. However, the higher the gloss, the more likely surface imperfections will be noticed.

Where to use: Kitchen and bathroom walls, hallways, children’s rooms, playrooms, doors, woodwork and trim. More stain-resistant and easier to clean than flat paints. Better than flat for high-traffic areas.

SATIN OR SILK (Range overlapping eggshell and semi-gloss)
Where to use: Similar characteristics to semi-gloss and eggshell. Similar characteristics to semi-gloss and eggshell.

Where to use: Can be used in place of flat paints on wall surfaces especially in halls, bathrooms and playrooms. Can be used in place of semi-gloss paints on trim for a less shiny appearance. It resists stains better than flat paint and gives a more lustrous appearance.

What to use: For general use on walls and ceilings. Hides surface imperfections. Stain removal can be difficult. Use for uniform, non-reflecting appearance. Best suited for low-traffic areas.

The best way to remove old wallpaper

Probably the least favourite job around the home, I am sure it is because people equate the task to a steam stripper, which surely has to be the worst ever invention for most wallpaper removal tasks.

Take it steady with a bucket of warm soapy water, a sponge and a brutally efficient 4″ long-handled razor scraper – bliss!

Can't stand the smell of fresh paint?

If the smell of fresh paint gets to you, cut an onion in half and leave it in the room. It will take away most of the smell. Please don’t ask how that works but we would be pleased to hear from anyone who knows!

Also a teaspoonful of vanilla essence stirred into the paint helps remove a lot of the odour without affecting the colour.

A great and simple tip to avoid a messy roller tray

Before you start, wrap your roller tray in cling-film and just roll it up and throw it away afterwards.

How to Cover Water Stains

If you have a watermark on the ceiling or wall (First check that the leak is fixed!) do not try and cover it with emulsion.

Emulsion is a water based paint and the mark will just bleed through. Use some oil based undercoat or gloss first if you have some (they can be mixed if you have a little of each in the shed) or a proprietary stain covering spray or paint can be purchased from your local diy store.

General Advice in Decorating your home

Decorating is probably one of the most popular home improvements, due to the way you can change the appearance of your surroundings relatively easily and quickly without too much cost.

When deciding on a new look, bear in mind wall coverings tend to follow trends and fashions, with styles and designs constantly changing and being updated. Also remember to choose a paper that is appropriate for the location.

If it’s for a children’s bedroom for example, then you wouldn’t normally pick a delicate silk or foil type paper. If it is going in a kitchen, take into consideration the possibility of heat and steam where a vinyl would be better.

Spend some time planning your new look, it is better to spend half an hour deciding what look and effect you want to achieve, rather than spend hours removing newly fitted paper due to a wrong choice.

Remember preparation is paramount when it comes to decorating, the quality of the finished job, can be adversely affected with poor or rushed preparation.

Storing Paint

Buying a large amount of paint can save you money, but only if you know how to store it properly.

As paint deteriorates over time, it won’t keep indefinitely – although solvent-based paints do have a longer storage life than water-based ones. If you only have a small quantity of paint, you can store it in an airtight jar. Choose a size that leaves as little air in the jar as possible, always label it with the code number, name and type of paint and note the room it was used in. When you store paint in the tin, you can stop a skin forming by turning it upside-down for a few seconds (first making sure that it’s shut tightly) to ‘seal’ the lid with paint.

Alternatively, you cut a round of foil to the size of the lid, and press it down onto the paint to get rid of any air.

Best way to paint a wall

Before painting your walls, make sure that they are clean, smooth and completely dry. Stick down any loose wallpaper before washing them with a mild detergent, rinsing with clean water and letting them dry.

Depending on your surface, you may need to use an undercoat. If you are painting onto vinyl wallpaper, you will need a coat of Multi-Surface Primer to create a base for the paint to sit on. If you are painting over a strong colour, Crown Basecoat will prevent it from showing through the finished job.

Cutting In
Use a 2 inch brush to cut in at the edges. Use the brush on edge, working in long sweeping movements across door frames and skirting boards etc.

Finish the job with a roller and tray, dampen the roller to make it easier for it to pick up the paint. Start in one corner and work across the wall in sections. Work the roller in a W motion and fill in the spaces as you go, as demonstrated in the video below.

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