Devious Decorating Tips for Flat Walls.
Painting and decorating is something many a landlord attempts for themselves at some point. It’s worth having a go yourself for typical mid-range rentals provided you follow some basic guidelines.
First rule – don’t strip wallpaper unless you have to! It may be all that is holding the plaster on the wall. Unless the paper is very textured you can often just paint straight over it. If you have to strip it then use a steamer.
If you do decide to strip, it’s often cheaper and quicker to get them re-skimmed with plaster than re-papered with all the preparation involved in getting the walls flat. But if the old plaster already has existing paint, the new plaster may not adhere properly. So you have two choices. For a more expensive but better finish, chip off the old paint and plaster and start again. Or to save money, sand and fill the walls as flat as possible, then cover them with a slightly embossed paper. This hides a multitude of sins, especially as some papers come ready finished, so no need even to paint! The embossed papers are tougher than the ones with a textured plastic surface coating, which can get scraped off. Woodchip is too dated.
Second rule is to decorate BEFORE you fit things like kitchens and floor coverings. People often assume that the decorating comes last, but then you have to cover up your new kitchen and ‘cut in’ around (carefully paint around) all the cabinets. Much quicker to just paint the walls first.
Third rule is start from the top and work down. This isn’t essential but just makes sense. Do the ceiling first, then any splats on the walls can be cleaned off and painted over. Do the walls next, any roller flecks on the skirting and woodwork can then be sanded off. When you do the woodwork, don’t bother if it goes half an inch or so up the walls. You don’t want to be painstakingly ‘cutting in’ along the walls with three coats of primer, undercoat and gloss. You can do it later in one process, with the emulsion on a brush.
Old kitchen and bathroom tiles can be painted white or neutral colours with specialised tile paint. It does scrape off if subject to heavy abrasion, but is a lot cheaper than new tiles. You can also get a special white marker pen to draw in the grout lines! I’ve got lots of tips to save on tiling but they’ll have to go in another blog.