Paint your room in a day!
I recently helped a friend paint her son's bedroom transforming it IN ONE DAY from a yellow nursery into a stylish grey boys room that he can grow into in. It quickly became clear that the preparation needed was more time consuming and difficult than the actual execution and act of painting. If you've never done it before (and you should because it will save you a heap of money and it's actually really fun and satisfying) it can be hard to know where to start. I don't usually write 'how-to' posts but I felt that I had to share these top tips to make it easy for you if you want to give it a go! A little side note is that the reason we achieved all this in one day was that the prep work described below took place before the painting day and also we didn't paint the skirting boards (you can read my ideas for skirting boards here), window frames, architrave or ceiling. These were all in good enough condition but to add this on to the workload would only take another day really, the main issue being the drying time between coats.
1. Go shopping
You’ll be surprised how much prep any DIY task needs so do it advance so you don’t waste half a day running around to various shops or turning the shed upside down (I'm talking from experience here). Get everything together and do your shopping the week before. Then you’ll have a really productive full day. You don't want to start and then realise that you've forgotten something so get your kit together in advance - dust sheets or sticky floor protector, roller and tray, brushes of various sizes, frog tape (my favourite masking tape), an old fork to open the paint tin and stir, sandpaper and block - Oh and the paint! (I need a whole other blog post on this on how to choose a colour and brand of paint!). You will probably also need a step or ladder for reaching up high. And don’t forget old clothes that you don’t care about. I love that my DIY clothes have splashes of all the colours I’ve ever used!
2. Clear the room
I'm aware that this is blindingly obvious but bear with me as I explain why this point might take longer than you think and why it's important. Are you putting furniture back into the room or are you buying new things? Either way take EVERYTHING out of the room if possible. You'll be able to move around more easily to paint and you won't be anxious about drips and splatting paint from the roller. Sell old beds or furniture on a local Facebook group or on Ebay or even giveaway things on Freecycle or give to your local charity shop. In our neck of the woods if we put things outside our front garden they'll be gone in minutes! Use this as an opportunity to declutter. If there's something you can't imagine in the new scheme then find another place for it or get rid. You have no idea the mental clarity, relief and joy that comes from throwing out what isn't necessary anymore. And you'll feel great! You can probably tell that I've been reading a little bit of Marie Kondo so if you want to read more on decluttering take a look here.
3. Remove wall fixtures
You really don't want to paint around things if you want a sleek line. The key is painting behind it. So remove any fixtures such as plug sockets, light switches, kid's monitors etc. Remember to switch off the sockets at the fuse box and check using a electrical screwdriver before touching. Don't forget the blinds and curtains too if you're painting some wall sections near the window. This was almost our undoing on this project!
This depends on what fixtures are going back in again and the condition of your walls. However use polyfiller for filling the walls and something like decorator's caulke for corner edges or spaces between the walls and architraves or skirting. My top tip for using caulke is to use a damp cloth to smooth off the edge to get a flawless finish. After using this stuff for a while now (and getting it wrong) the best strategy is to squeeze it out gently into the gap and then use a damp cloth on the top of your finger to smooth it off. Don't use your bare fingers unless you want your hands to be like sandpaper for weeks. It's really hard to get off and you'll go through hand-cream like there's no tomorrow!
5. Prepare the Walls
Wash the walls with soapy water on a damp cloth to remove grease. You want them to be as clean as possible so that the paint can adhere properly and sing like it's meant to. Another part of prepping the walls is applying frog tape. In this case where we weren't painting the ceiling and woodwork it meant we had to really protect these areas. My top tip with using masking tape is that you need to remove it BEFORE the paint dries. Again, I've learnt this the hard way!
If you're going for the whole room you'll want to paint the ceiling first (remember it doesn't have to be white), then the walls and then the skirting and woodwork. This way you won't splatter paint on the areas you've already put the hard work into.
6. Protect the floor
Skip this step if you're putting in new flooring otherwise use dust sheets or I've used old bedsheets in the past. But better than both of these is the sticky roll stuff which offers the best protection as it won't slip out of place.
7. Enjoy yourself!
Now all the hard work is over it's time to have some fun! Stick on your favourite music and enjoy the process. It's so satisfying seeing room be transformed but the real magic comes when you start to dress the room and eventually use it.
Use brushes to paint the corners and edge of the walls and then roller the wall and blend to the edge as much as possible to get rid of the brush strokes. Use a smaller roller for behind the radiators, smaller strips of wall or small areas like the the inside of windows. A small roller is the best way to make the wall look as smooth as possble at the edges
You might be interested in the starting point for Claire with this room. She wanted her son to have a grown up bedroom rather than a nursery for when he started school last month. It became clear that some photographs taken in Namibia (Claire's son is half-Namibian) by her brother were going to take centre stage in the space and so choosing the paint started from there. She wanted grey and one with real depth rather than an off-white. After a few testers she ended up with Elephant's Breath (nice coincidence considering the African safari photographs) by Farrow and Ball. She LOVED the result and so does her son!
The room isn't completely dressed yet and the new furniture isn't in place but I promise to share the full reveal as soon as I can!
There you have it! Let me know if you have any specific decorating questions or if I've missed anything important! I'd also love to see how your projects turns out on my Facebook page so feel free to post your finished room on there. It's such an amazing achievement to add personality and mood to your home by your own fair hands and I've never looked back from that first room I painted myself 9 years ago...