Useful Information


We hope you find the information and tips below useful if you wish to carry out your own painting and decorating or if you can use some extra advice. The page contains many sections on the practical side of decorating your home and is designed to be informative about the practical issues that should be considered before you get started.

Pro Wallpapering Tips

First the room has to be stripped if there is existing wallpaper in place. There are no magic solutions that I have ever come across that can beat a steamer and good old fashioned elbow grease.

Some wallpapers come off very easily and a room can take only an hour or two to strip, others can take a day. Any decorator will have to price in advance of finding out how difficult or easy the job is so we have to err on the side of caution. A quote may include a full days labour to strip an average sized household room.

Pro Tip

Modern properties are often dry lined. This means there is no plaster on the walls, just a dry lined plaster board with filled joints, which is then painted. If you are removing paper from these walls, take care. A small mistake with the scraper and the wall is damaged. Even worse, the scraper could get under the plaster board coating and you will accidentally pull away the lining.

Pro Tip

Save money and carefully strip the room yourself.

Bedroom Decor

Once stripped, the walls have to be prepared. Smooth flat dust free walls are needed for any wallpaper. Paste residue is removed from the walls whilst holes and cracks are filled, and finally the walls are sanded down and washed.

The walls are then marked out using a spirit level to ensure vertical strips and maximum usage of paper. Finally the walls are sized by applying a paste solution ready for decoration.

Sometimes a lining paper is used horizontally to ensure a flat surface to hang the paper on.

On average we will get just over 2 meters or 80 inches width to every roll of paper on an average height room. However a pattern match with a large variable will increase wastage.

Pro Tip

Cut from two rolls at the same time alternating between them. This often helps reduce the wastage. But allow an extra roll for every 10 rolls.

Pro Tip

Some expensive paper may be difficult to work with. Some designer papers may be printed on very thin paper. If it feels thin when on the roll, imagine it soaked in paste! Often a decorator will want to hang lining paper first to ensure a flat and even finish.

Painting & Decorating

Pro Painting Tips

The most common mistake is to make the paint flow easier by thinning it. Adding water to emulsion weakens the colour, it will flow easier off the brush but the loss in colour and the poor mixing is not worth doing. The only time we will add water is to do a wash coat.

A wash coat is used as a base only on bare or newly plastered walls. In the trade it is known as a wash and two. That is a wash coat to seal the plaster and give a key for two full coats.

Thinning oil based paint for easier flow will result in the surface not being as hard wearing and white gloss may turn yellow over time.


Pro Tip

Would you expect great results with poor tools? A good brush for cutting in walls should be heavy and about 75mm wide. I have many brushes; not one of them cost less than £8, many being over £10.

Finally, the rules:

Prime first if bare wood, then undercoat, then rub down the undercoat, then clear all dust and finally gloss. The more painted coats and rubbing down between the coats, the better the finish.

Eco Painting

Theming Your Room

To theme your room space, first think of its use. Is it a home office, bedroom for a couple, child or is it a wet room like a kitchen or bathroom. Once use is established, talk to the people who will use the room most of the time, and ask them what colours they like. This maybe your property, but the room may be their life!

All colours come from nature and consequently this can be used to help promote the ambience of the space. Meadow colours, like light green and yellows reflect a light and airy relaxed feeling, sunset colours, like reds and orange promote warmth and romance. The arctic colours of white and blue reflect crisp clean and sometimes cold and clinical. What mood do you want to create?

If lots of colourful objects are going into the space then a neutral colour might be needed. For example, think of a field of wheat or barley, its magnolia colour is surrounded by green trees blue sky white clouds even a red tractor doesn’t look out of place. Neutral colour is often a great compromise.

Finally if you are not changing carpets and curtains, will the chosen colour work with your existing furniture and soft furnishings? Look at the colours in the carpet and the curtains and more often than not the chosen colour will be there somewhere.

Tips on Choosing Colour

Primary Colours

These are colours that can not be manufactured from other colours. For paint, they are Red, Yellow and Blue.

Secondary Colours

These are the result of an equal mix of primary colours.

Blue and Yellow produce Green
Blue and Red produce Purple
Red and Yellow produce Orange

Tertiary Colours

By mixing two parts primary with one part secondary you produce tertiary colour.

For example, two parts blue to one part green produces a pleasant blue-green.

Pro Tip

Obtain some magazines and look through to find examples of the colour and rooms you like.

We can usually replicate any colour from any picture, using magic eye laser technology.

While there are no rules governing your choice, popular colours at the moment are neutrals, black, grey, beige and white. Magnolia is back with a vengeance.

Colour Wheel

Sometimes a complementary colour theme can look excellent – especially if worked out using a colour wheel. Colours have their ‘opposite’ or ‘counterpart’ colours and opposites look very nice together if chosen carefully. This is where the importance of a colour wheel comes in. When used together, they bring out the best in each other and the finished look is cleaner and brighter than if either were mixed with neutral colours or a shade of the same hue.

The colour wheel is an essential tool for paint professionals and is constructed to aid correct colour and hue relationships. Using a colour wheel can help you understand how to best theme, for example, a warm colour with a cool one, maintaining a harmonious room theme.

Depending on the mood you want to create, order a colour wheel here or colour card or colour cards and notice the warmth of the yellows oranges and reds, and the coldness of the blue, purple and green. The warm pink for a young ladies bedroom and the blue for the all action boy, the neutral magnolia for the business like office.

Pro Tip

A colour that is difficult to get looking good if you're doing the project yourself......Red. Generally even professional painters don’t like using red. We will keep certain brushes and rollers just for red. This colour will reflect any repairs you have done. You will need more coats to get a solid finish. And if you change your mind buy stain-block (water based) to paint it over then apply your 2-3 coats of new colour. Black is easier to obliterate than red.

What Finish Coat to Use

A few years ago a shiny silk was the only way to get a washable surface. This has now all changed and most paint companies offer washable matt paint. It is not a good idea to paint a shower ceiling with a non-waterproof paint. Your steam droplets will be white...

Pro Tip

Shiny silk paint reflects any repaired surface underneath it. Patches will show, even with 3 coats. If you have used filler or effected repairs, use a matt paint first, and only use the silk as the top coat. The matt colour will flatten the surface, leaving the silk to reflect only a perfect finish. Do the same procedure to flatten and hide filler etc when using red paint.

Likewise with gloss;- oil based gloss was the only trusted and known hard wearing surface. Now, not only are water based glosses popular and dry quicker, they give a great finish and are hard wearing. Gloss need not smell or be oil-based, matt, silk and satin top coat finishes offer a trendy and more turned down or softer effect.

How to Calculate Areas

Wallpaper Calculation

How Many Rolls?

To calculate how many rolls are required for your room carry out the following (use metres):

Height of room
Width of room
Length of room

Add the width and the length and multiply the total by 2

Now multiply that total by the height

You now have the square metre-age of all the walls.

One roll of standard width paper is 5.3 square metres.

Divide your total by 5.3

This is the number of rolls required.

Paint Calculation

How Much Paint?

Paint coverage varies but on average a vinyl matt will cover 10 square meters per litre. The paint shops may claim 12 but we work on 10. So a one gallon or approx 5 litre tin will cover 50 sq metres with one coat.

To calculate the wall area within a room:

Height of room e.g. 2.4m
Width of room e.g. 3.2m
Length of room e.g. 5.1m

Add the width and the length and multiply the total by 2

Now multiply that total by the height

3.2 + 5.1 = 8.3

8.3 x 2 = 16.6

16.6 x 2.4 = 39.84m2

You now have the square metre-age of all the walls.

To be the most cost effective, trade paint is best bought at a minimum can size of 2.5 litres. Usual sizes puchased are 5 litres and 10 litres and any excess is used for touching up.

(ONE COAT): 39.84 m2 for one coat at 50m2 per gallon = 1 gallon (5 litres)

(TWO COATS): 79.68 m2 for two coats = 2 gallons (10 litres)

(THREE COATS): 119.52 m2 for three coats = 2.5 gallons (10 litres + 2.5 litres)

The ceiling space is calculated by multiplying the room width by the length:

i.e. 3.2 x 5.1 = 16.32m2 equates to 2.5 litres or half a gallon per coat.

How To Save Money

Prepare the room for us, remove pictures from walls, move furniture, create easy access. These are all things we have to spend time and your money doing.

Strip the walls of paper.

Be ready for us, ensuring you are certain about your colour choices.

Plan so that the work can be completed in one continual visit.

Always check our site for offers. Often we promote free materials, not including wallpaper.

Wood Work

It may surprise you but doors have more surface area than you may think. The door itself is basic around 2m2 each side. However the frame carries a lot of working area. The height of the frame is for example 2m both sides of the door plus the 1m across the top a total of 5 linear meters; this is both sides so 10 linear meters. By an allowable frame width of 0.3 meters this equates to over 3 more square meters for the frame. So a door both sides gets an allowance for paint of 7m2.

Add the preparation and the undercoat and the gloss and there are 14m2 of painting needing 7m2 of preparation for just one door. An average house has 11 doors.

Pro Tip

Leave the door painting to the professional, the doors are the first impression of the room. There are certain ways to paint a door to ensure no drips and no brush marks. A good painter that has served an apprenticeship is easily spotted by the way they paint a door.

We will vacuum a room before we gloss to ensure there are no dust particles that are going to stick to the drying surface, we also lift all dust sheets and relay them to minimise any dust movement.

Water based gloss and undercoat can often be used on the same day and have very low odours.

Bare Wood

All bare wood such as beech or pine i.e. soft woods used for skirting and door frames will have knots. These knots over time will bleed through the paint and the result is a knot pattern in the paint work.

Pro Tip

Prevent a knot from bleeding by using knotting solution. Then use a primer followed by an undercoat and finally a top coat.

Oak and other Hard Woods

These woods can be returned to their natural beauty without the need for endless sanding. I use some very specialist cleaners that will remove varnish and grime to help minimise dust and sanding. The wood, once prepared, is then varnished or stained with at least two coats and normally three. The finish can be either super high gloss, satin or matt; it simply depends on your preference. By using varying grades of glass paper between coats we can produce a glass like finish if required.

External Windows and Doors

Safety first – ladders may need to be footed, i.e. a person standing on the bottom rung providing a firm foundation to minimise ladder movement. If you were thirty feet in the air at the top of a ladder you might also want it footed. This makes the water drainage and upstairs windows a two man job. The window also needs to be open because the edge of the casement is painted, as is the reveal. Leave open to dry. Never paint hinges or locks or brass.

Doors are the 'showroom items' - they are the first impression made and are painted last. We will want to remove iron works such as handles and door locks. They are the last item to be finish coated. As they need drying time we will paint them first thing in the morning.


Windows that have putty as the securing agent for the glass may well have a cracked and loose surface. This needs replacing so the window will be repaired first, the putty allowed to dry before an undercoat/primer can be applied. Once this surface is dry, then sanded and clean of dust, the top coat can be applied.

Fascia Boards and Soffits

The first job is the dusting down and the removal of lumps and bumps. Any rotten wood is replaced and usually hundreds of spider webs and wasp nests etc are dealt with. Wasp and bee nests have to be removed by relevant professionals. If this is needed it will be an extra cost to you on top of the agreed quote. However, some council offices offer a free service.

Health and Safety

Safety and Access

Potential dangerous scenarios are possible to overcome. We have used cherry pickers, scaffolding, suspended chairs and some very tall ladders. We are trained and hold safety certificates to do this work. But all this can often cost more than the painting itself. To scaffold and paint a hotel recently, 60% of the job cost was scaffolding. I will always give a breakdown of cost if required, but safety first, there are no shortcuts.

Commercially a risk assessment will be produced in accordance with the health and safety regulations. We will need to see asbestos certificates to ascertain dangers and procedure.

Why Trade Paint is Better

Sometimes a client will decide to buy their own paint and ask a professional decorator to use it. Whilst the client may think they are saving money, this is a mistake. If you want a quality finish you need more than a good decorator, you need quality materials. I have come across the situation where a client says “I tried to do it myself, I put on 4 coats and still it didn’t cover. What am I doing wrong?”. The answer is they are all making the same mistake - cheap paint.

I can understand the common sense in saving money, no one likes to pay more than they need to. A gallon (5 litres) of quality paint at retail prices is generally over £40. But not only will quality paint cover a greater area, it will do the job usually in just two coats.

This brings us onto Trade paint. As decorators, we spend thousands of pounds per annum with main suppliers. We therefore get some very good rates on materials. So if we are your preferred decorator, we will pass much of these savings on to you. Remember, on request we will give a breakdown of both material and labour cost. One of the ways to help be competitive is to supply materials at the price we buy them for. This means you are paying very little for great quality paint.

Quite simply, a great start to any job.

Get a free Colour Chart

Please go ahead and use the contact form to request a survey and get a free colour card or colour cards. We will post them or deliver them ourselves if we have been asked to survey your property.