If you’re new to DIY and decorating, it can be hard knowing where to start. What tools do you need? How long will it take you? What room should you tackle first? How do you choose the right colour scheme or interior style for each room?
Home decorating is a learning curve, and many people develop their skills and knowledge with experience. It’s often the case that once you’ve made a few mistakes, you’ll know better for next time, and you’ll grow your tools over time.
To help you get a head start, here are some of our top decorating tips based on our customers’ most frequently asked questions.
1. What’s the difference between paste-the-wall and paste-the-paper wallpaper?
When it comes to wallpaper, there are three main types to choose from. These all differ in the way they are adhered to the wall, so always check before you buy.
- Paste-the-paper wallpaper
This is the most traditional type of wall covering and requires you to apply wallpaper paste to the back of the wallpaper itself. You will need to leave the paste to soak before hanging the wallpaper.
- Paste-the-wall wallpaper
The second type of wallpaper is paste-the-wall, which allows you to apply the paste directly to the wall instead. This is often the preferred choice for DIY novices as it is less fiddly than paste-the-paper applications and makes it easier when wallpapering around light switches and plug sockets.
- Removable wallpaper
This is a type of self-adhesive wallpaper that is extremely easy to use, with no permanent effect or damage to the walls underneath. For that reason, it’s suitable for rented properties as it can be taken down at any point. It also makes the wallpapering process a doddle by allowing you to correct your positioning if it’s not perfectly aligned.
For beginners, paste-the-wall wallpaper is a popular choice and there’s usually a great range to choose from. However, other designs may only be available as paste-the-paper, such as some premium textured wallpapers or embossed wallpapers.
While paste-the-paper does require some skill, practice makes perfect. If you are not confident, hiring a trained decorator could be worthwhile.
2. How long to wallpaper a room?
If you’re keen to do the wallpapering yourself, makes sure you set aside enough time. Planning is important as this type of DIY project can be disruptive if it means having to vacate a well-used space. For instance, if you’re wallpapering the master bedroom, you’ll need to have somewhere else to sleep for a few days.
The average room could take 1-2 days to complete, but larger rooms or areas with more complications may take much longer. Remember to allocate time to stripping any old wallpaper, smoothing and filling any holes in the walls too.
When working out the total time, factor in the following:
- Are your walls fully prepped for wallpapering?
- How long will it take to move or cover furniture in the room?
- What is your wallpapering experience? (Beginners should allow a little extra time)
- What is the size of your space?
- Are there any complicated sections? (E.g. wall lights, mouldings, fireplaces etc.)
You’ll also need to think about drying time when figuring out how long to wallpaper a room. Allow between 24-48 hours as this is the case for most wallpapers. However, some coverings can take up to two weeks before the adhesive is completely set.
3. What wallpaper equipment do I need to buy?
Before you start any wallpapering project, make sure you have the right wallpaper equipment ready.
- Wallpaper paste (powder or ready-mixed)
- Bucket if you’re mixing your own
- Pasting brushes (the ones with handles are easiest to use)
- Good quality scissors (not cheap craft scissors)
- Wallpaper cutter or wheel cutter tool
- Plumb line measuring tool for measuring straight vertical lines
- Tape measure
- Masking tape (to protect wallpaper when painting door frames and ceilings)
- Pen or pencil
- Wallpapering table
- Clean cloths for wiping away excess paste
- Carpet protectors / furniture covers if required
4. How do I choose a colour/design for an accent wall?
Choosing the right colour scheme can be tricky, but one of our best decorating tips for beginners is to think about the mood and ambience you are trying to achieve. Soft pinks, light blues and pastels can be calming, while brighter hues such as yellow or orange can be uplifting.
Feature walls are also great for channelling trends (and can be easily updated year after year), so turn to different design blogs, social media accounts and magazines for inspiration on colours or wallpaper designs.
If you are wallpapering for the first time, the best advice is to shop with a brand that offers samples. Wallpaper samples are a low cost and easy way to explore a range of colours, styles and textures up close.
For tactile design concepts, wallpaper textures have to be experienced by touch as well as visually. So get as many samples as possible to help you make a decision. The same applies to paint colours. For rooms that combine both paint and wallpaper, putting those samples next to each other is key.
5. What are the best decorating tips for a small space?
When working with a small space, it’s important to consider function first. Establish the purpose of the room and make sure your design fits. You should also make the most of natural lighting to open up the space as much as possible.
Other ergonomic decorating tips include:
- Choose small furniture and features (skinny floor lamps, small tables etc.)
- Choose light-reflecting paint colours
- Choose wallpaper with a thin vertical design to elongate your walls and make the ceiling appear higher
- Place mirrors strategically around the room for better light distribution
- Make storage a priority to maintain a clutter-free aesthetic
6. What order do you decorate your house?
Another common question we get is ‘what order do you decorate your house?’. Our answer is simple and practical. It all depends on what fits in with your family life. For a lot of people, tackling one room at a time makes the most sense and this is something we advise for most homeowners.
You can choose the easiest, least disruptive rooms first such as a dining room if you are not ready to turn your lives upside down. Or you can start with the most important rooms, such as bedrooms and communal areas like the living room. By getting vital family spaces finished first, you can enjoy them as soon as possible.
When it comes to wall renovations, start with painting the ceilings first. Then move onto the wall paint or wallpaper. Then move onto the windows, doors and skirting boards.