Painting and decorating is probably the most common DIY activity. Not only is this something that gets done regularly, but it's also something that almost anyone can do. Safely, it's also something that almost anyone can do incorrectly, the consequence being a poorly decorated or even unfinished room. But don't despair. Frank Key are here with some pointers that will help you brush up on your decorating skills and hopefully have some fun in the process.

1. Preparation

The success of any DIY project lies in the preparation. That means preparing the room, the surface, the tools and even yourself for the project at hand. First, you need to check the surfaces you’ll be painting onto. Check the walls for any holes, such as old drill holes, and fill them with a small amount of filler to create a flat surface.

Once the walls are level and holes have been filled, you then need to sand all surfaces to be painted. This process is easier with a power sander but a sanding block and paper can be used if you’re on a budget. Run a fine grained paper over the surface and take off any rough edges or flakes of plaster to ensure a smooth surface on which to paint.

If you need to remove a previous coat of paint, a rotary paint stripper will help you complete the task much more quickly. Take a look at our hire page to find out more.

You also need to wash your brushes, even if they are new, in order to rid the brushes of any residual paint or dust.

Ensure you protect furniture, carpets and any surface on which you do not wish to have paint, with dust sheets.

2. Paint the ceiling

Always start with painting the ceiling as this means any drips are not falling onto a freshly painted surface. Use a smaller empty paint pot, or paint kettle to avoid carrying the heavy paint tin up your stepladder. Start by ‘cutting in’ where the ceiling meets the wall using a smaller paintbrush of around 50-70mm to allow for greater precision.

Once the cutting in is complete, you can now use your roller with extendable pole to paint the rest of the ceiling. Pour a small amount of paint into the tray and roll the roller through it. Then apply the paint to the ceiling, starting at the edges to ensure you are blending wet paint with wet paint.

Cutting in will need to be repeated around any ceiling fixtures you may have. Use masking tape to ensure the fixtures do not receive any of the paint.

Once the ceiling is painted, follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying time and repeat the process if required.

3. Painting the walls undercoat

Use masking tape to cover any fixtures and fittings before starting then use a medium sized paint brush to cut in. Then, as with the ceiling, use your roller to apply the undercoat. Consult the paint manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying times and then repeat the process if required.

4. Painting the wall topcoat

When painting the walls, make sure you focus on one wall at a time to avoid blending wet paint with dry. Start by cutting in at the ceiling and around the fixtures and skirting board and then paint that wall with your roller, combining up, down and W shaped motions for even coverage. Once painting is complete, consult manufacturer’s drying times and then apply a final coat.

5. Painting the woodwork undercoat

Cover any areas you don’t wish to be painted with masking tape and make sure you open any windows to avoid painting them closed. Give all woodwork a coat of interior wood primer. Then, following instructions on drying times, apply the undercoat. When doing skirting boards, be sure the dust sheets provide coverage right to the edge to avoid spoiling the floor.

6. Painting the woodwork topcoat

Choose an interior wood paint that fits the style you are looking for, either eggshell, matte, satin or gloss. Interior wood paint is thicker than emulsion, so apply to your brush sparingly in order to avoid unsightly drips.

Take care when painting around the freshly painted walls; any spots of wood paint that do end up on the walls can be repaired with emulsion later. Once complete, consult manufacturer’s instructions on drying times before applying a final coat.

Once all painting is complete and the paint is dry, you can now replace your fixtures and fittings, remove the dust sheets and enjoy your freshly painted room.