Planning to give your rooms a dash of paint? For the walls and ceiling, emulsion is best: it is easy to use and available in a huge selection of colours. Look out for eco-paints, which are now widely available. To work out how much paint to buy, measure the room and check the back of the tin for how many metres it will cover.
To paint woodwork – skirting boards, doors, window frames and the like – you need a primer, undercoat and a topcoat. Instead of buying a separate wood primer and undercoat, you can buy a multi-purpose primer and undercoat in one tin. For the topcoat use an oil- or water-based eggshell or gloss finish – they are more hard-wearing than emulsion.
Before you start
Clear your room of as much stuff as possible: take down curtains or blinds, and pile furniture in the middle and cover with old sheets. Protect floors and floor coverings with dust sheets too.
Give the room a good vacuuming and make sure all surfaces are dust-free. Use a dampened cloth to remove dust from sills, skirting boards and door and window frames.
Wallpaper can be painted over, providing it is good quality and in good condition, but if you would rather remove it you need to scrape it off using a wallpaper stripper and/or a wallpaper steamer.
Once removed, wash walls thoroughly with sugar soap solution to remove all the old wallpaper paste.
If you are painting on already-painted walls, wash with warm water and washing-up liquid. For very greasy or dirty areas, use sugar soap. Fill in any holes and cracks. Prepare bare plaster with a coat of plaster sealer.
Preparing the woodwork
Skirting boards, doors and frames, and window frames need to be primed: their surface needs to be made slightly rough so that the paint has something to stick to. If the wood is in good condition, wash it down with sugar soap, which dissolves enough of the surface to create a rough surface, also known as a “key”.
However, if the surface is particularly shiny – if it had been previously painted or varnished – rub it down with fine-grain sandpaper or wire wool.
Seal knots in untreated wood with knotting solution and paint with primer to prevent resins in the wood leaching out, resulting in discolouration. Fill any holes and damaged areas with wood filler and rub with sandpaper when dry.
Doing it right
Start with the ceiling, which should be painted using emulsion. Use a two-inch brush to paint around the edges of the room and around light fittings – i.e. areas where a wide brush or roller won’t reach (this is called “cutting in”).
Paint the rest of the ceiling using a wide emulsion brush or a roller. Don’t overload the brush or roller and apply the paint evenly. Take your time in order to avoid splashes.
Now for any wood you have. Paint it with primer first and leave to dry (one coat may be enough but if you are covering a dark colour or poor surface two is best). Next is the undercoat (unless you are using a multi-purpose primer and undercoat): again, one coat may suffice or two might be needed to cover dark colours. Now for the topcoat – the colour you want the walls to be.
Two topcoats is the norm, but sometimes extra coats are necessary to get the required evenness.
Time for the walls
Finally, it’s time to crack open the emulsion again and do the walls. If you want a light-coloured room, but are stuck with deep, dark-coloured walls, invest in a cheap tin of brilliant white emulsion and add a few layers of that before you use the final colour.
Using the small brush, cut in around all the edges, including corners and around door and window frames (if you are using a different colour on the walls take care not to get paint on the ceiling). Fill in the rest of the wall using a wide brush or roller. Start at the top and work down.
Stop brushes from drying out by wrapping in clingfilm, or wash them using the appropriate solvent for the paint you used.
Paint like a professional
Using a paintbrush: Don’t overload the brush: dip about one-third of it into the can and tap any excess off.
Using the narrow side of the brush, paint the edges (where the wall meets the ceiling) first. For larger areas, make two or three diagonal stokes then blend in all the paint with several downwards strokes. Do the parts by the edges first, before that paint dries. Even out with up-and-down strokes.
Using a roller
Fill the tray with paint and cover the roller, ensuring it evenly covers the roller.
Make a diagonal stroke just over one metre long. Then, bring it down in a straight line from the top of the diagonal, stopping when it gets in line with the beginning of the first stroke.
Your third roll then starts from the beginning of the first stroke and goes upwards, until it’s in line with the top of the diagonal.
Fill in all the unpainted areas with short strokes and, to finish, even out by going over the whole area with light, long, downwards rolls.
Colour trends in 2010
According to Colour Next – 2010, the colour trend forecast by Asian Paints, the Colours for 2010 fall under five broad themes named Nature Networks, Urba-Nite, Aura, Smart Comfort and Gallerie.
Technology is increasingly becoming green and is providing sustainable alternatives to support a modern lifestyle. This in turn is increasing the scope and pace of the green movement. Colours are inspired by natural forms and technology.
Urba-Nite Vivid and glamorous colours usually associated with the night are making their ways into homes, as more and more spaces are being designed for use primarily at night. Through these colours in their homes, people are looking to recreate the energy and glamour that typifies a club, pub or a lounge.
Aura: The chaotic external world is making individuals seek balance in the personal space, by seeking spirituality – albeit in non traditional ways. Colours are pure, calming and help create balance.
Smart Comfort: Living a world of flux and uncertainty is prompting many to create homes that are clutter free and aimed purely at personal comfort. Colours that are at home anywhere in the world.
Gallerie: Sensitivity towards art both in terms of a collectible & investment is increasing. Spaces are being planned around current possessions and future acquisitions of art.