How to Paint

Painting doesn’t seem like something that should need an instruction manual, but here are just a few bits I wish I had known from the start…

#paintproblems has 2,000 posts for a good reason, but just because your doing it yourself, doesn’t mean it has to look that way. Here’s a couple of tips to get you good looking results with minimal fuss:

Be patient – you will be rewarded. It’s crazy how different paint looks in different spaces and even within the same room. Get testers, paint multiple patches around the room, live with it for a couple of days and check it out at different times. Make sure you’re really happy before buying large quantities and roping in friends / family to help. ‘Thanks for all your help last weekend, we decided we actually hate the colour and immediately painted over it’ is not the way to get return helpers.

Choosing a brand – OK, so I’m not going to use this as a platform to hate on brands, but I’ve tried a ‘few’ and if you’ve followed me on Insta for more than 5 mins you’ll know I massively rate Little Greene. A mid-sized double room will set you back around £65, which is a lot, but if you can stretch to it, do. Their paints are deeply pigmented, provide amazing coverage and have a seriously sexy matt finish. Their Intelligent Matt Emulsion is suitable not just for walls and ceilings but interior woodwork too! Round of applause for Little Greene, no need to switch between emulsion and eggshell, multiple paint brushes, paint trays etc. The Intelligent Matt Emulsion achieves a seamless application from walls to woodwork and walls again – perfect for monotone vibes.

Get your quantities right – Most brands offer a paint calculator on their website, but as a quick reference point, a 5 ltr tin will do you two good coats of a mid-sized double bedroom.

Painting on plaster? – You’ll need a mist coat. There are some products out there designed specifically for this, but those in the know will tell you watered down emulsion works just as well. Mix 70% water with cheap as you like any old emulsion paint and go.

Where to start – At the top. Start with your ceiling and work your way down, covering any splatters from higher up as you go. Woodwork comes last.

Cutting in – Doing it properly gets you good looking results. Pre-house owner me didn’t even know what this was – its the process of dealing with those pesky bits you can’t reach with your roller. Load your brush, apply paint and then brush this paint outwards in a sweeping motion. Before it dries, use your roller to paint the surrounding area. Keep working like this in smaller sections as you move round the room so that your cutting in and rolled paint dries together, rather than doing all your cutting in first, letting it dry and coming back to it with a roller – you’ll be more likely to end up with unsightly streaks.

Frog tape – Love the stuff. I’m seriously impatient, but it’s so worth taking the time to do it. Once in place you can work 3 times as quickly, sloppy as you like and still get lovely clean lines. That said, straight lines can sometimes be a bit of a lost cause in period properties and you’ll just have to free hand it, but it’s still particularly useful for light fittings and glass.


Skirting – Unless your skirting is completely flush to the floor, you can save yourself some frog taping by slipping some glossy paper or card under it as you move around the room. Try to use long horizontal strokes, brushing paint into the direction you’ve been working from to avoid stop and start marks.

Obstacles – I’ve found that radiators or just about anything that you can’t move, but need to paint around can be sorted out with a bit of cling film. You can slip cling film between your rad and the wall and then use a super slim roller with a long arm to take care of the rest.

Don’t make it more painful than it has to be – In between painting (lunching / going to the pub / overnight) wrap your brushes in cling film. They’ll stay soft for days and cut down the cleaning / rebuying process. You can avoid washing your trays full stop, by wrapping them in kitchen foil. When you’re done, unwrap and dispose!

If you’ve got any #paintproblem solvers, then let us all in on the secret below!

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