BEN’S ZONE: My Top 5 Decorating Tips

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Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness.  You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂

My Top 5 Decorating Tips

My Top 5 Decorating Tips

With the near fatal wrenching of the clocks going forward a week in the past, the nights are getting longer and summer seems almost visible off in the distance. Normally I’d be stoked about this and thinking about holidays, surfing and my birthday however, this summer there’s a more important birthday coming, that of our third child. This means that before I think about surfing I have a bedroom to prepare. Now, it’s reasonable to suggest that this doesn’t really need to be done until the baby is 6 months old, and that’s fine, if you can decorate while utterly sleep deprived and do so in total silence. The situation is further complicated by the rooms in our new house being painted in utterly disgusting colours, so the kids rooms need doing before the baby room because no child should have a brown room. No room should be brown really, ever.

So, short version, I’ve got a ton of decorating to do and it’s not the end of the world really, I don’t mind it, so I thought I’d share my 5 best tips.

1. Learn to cut in

I’m a bit of a perfectionist and so decorating can be a problem. I became obsessed with perfect lines, between coving and walls, between walls and other walls, between skirting and walls. It got tiring. My solution was to mask everything and get a perfect straight line. This does work, to an extent, it makes the lines straight but it also takes paint off when you take off the masking and takes ages. The biggest problem though is that walls, coving and skirting boards are rarely straight, so it’s pointless. Make life easy, get a small (1.2″) brush and just learn to cut in. You can adjust the line to follow the contours of the wall and if you get it terribly wrong you can wipe it off. Another added bonus is that once you can cut in neatly and quickly you feel like a boss.

2. Start from white

You’re nearly always decorating because the colour on the walls is obnoxious. The thing about disgusting colours is they hang around. I learned this lesson the hard way when decorating the nursery for our first child. A relatively insipid blue took no less than 6 coats of paint to banish. When painting a colour you never really know how well it is going to go on. Get a head start by painting a base coat of white emulsion before you get going. Do this for testers too and save yourself some pain.

3. Learn to make sacrifices

The worst part of any decorating job is the woodwork. Wood and metal paint stinks and is a pain to clean off but if you miss this step, it take the shine off the whole job. When painting skirting you’re nearly always working right next to carpet, so your brush is going to get covered in all kinds of nastiness. Don’t try and save the brush, it cannot be saved, just use the oldest brushes you have and bid them a fond farewell at the end of the job.

4. Use reasonable brushes

Paint is expensive, time is something you never get back. If you cheap out on brushes then they’ll leave little bristle children in your paintwork. I guarantee this will somewhere right in your eyeline when the job is finished. It’s worth spending money on reasonable brushes.

5. Sort the tunes

The time it takes to paint a wall depends on the size but it’s never as quick as you think. Spending all that time in contemplative silence may nourish the soul, but it’ll also do your head in. Prepare properly by making a playlist or getting some new tunes to listen to while painting. As I was just getting into Tool when I did Logan’s last room I thought I’d revisit those days this time round. What I’m looking for is something involving but not something that is going to make me want to dance. Whatever your poison is, make sure you’ve got a couple of hours cued up on your playlist and batteries in whatever you use to play it.

One last tip for free, you’re going to be spending a long time looking at your decorating right up close, you’re going to see every single mistake, believe me when I tell you that after two weeks you won’t even notice a football sized hole in the wall.

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