Decorating For Beginners

Decorating is always the job that we think we can take on ourselves without calling in the experts. But decorating for beginners can still be a bit tricky.

It really doesn’t have to be difficult though. You just need to know a few handy tricks to get the professional look without spending thousands on a decorator.

We’ve broken decorating tasks down into separate sections and brought together all of our knowledge to help you get the job done right, first time.


Everyone wants to skip this part and get to the big show of painting, but that is a big mistake. Your painting will look terrible if your walls are in a bad state.

You don’t have to do a lot to make a difference though.

Take a good look at the whole area you are decorating. Are there any big holes/cracks/missing plaster? To get the best finish, the ideal thing to do is get a plasterer in to re-finish the whole wall. But if it’s just a few small holes and cracks then you can do this yourself.

Sometimes, even larger holes can be dealt with by using bonding plaster to fill the hole and then some filler to finish it off.

If you have really small cracks that are hard to fill, open them up with a Stanley knife first to give the filler something the grab onto.

Once you’ve filled everything and it’s all dry, you’ll need to go over it with some sandpaper. The easiest way to do this is with a hands sander. It also helps you achieve a flat finish.

After sanding you really have to give the whole wall a good clean to get rid of the dust and any grime that was left on the wall. Use a sponge and some sugar soap in a bucket of warm water to do this.


Now that the wall is flat and clean (and dry!), you’re ready to get some paint on. Make sure you prevent unnecessary jobs after your painting by covering anything that you don’t want to get paint on (floor, furniture, etc).

The best way to get paint on a large area is to use a roller on and extendable pole. You’ll find you can cover an area twice as quick with this as you can use long, sweeping strokes.

Don’t go for a roller tray, instead, use a roller bucket. It’s a rectangular bucket that fits the roller and can hold a lot of paint at once. This lets you get the roller properly covered in the paint so that you wont be replenishing it too often.

You can use a bin bag in the roller bucket to make the clean up quicker and easier. Just hold it in place with some masking tape wrapped around the top.

When you’re cutting in the edges an angled brush is the best tool for the job. Make it even easier but actually ‘cutting’ the edge with a knife first. This gives you some separation between the surfaces and reduces the chance of you going over the line!

With your brush loaded up, start below the line and then draw the brush along the line, getting closer as you go until you’re on the line. Don’t start on the line and then draw it across, you will lose control.


Wallpapering is perhaps the most daunting of decorating tasks, but it’s still one that a beginner can do.

You need the right equipment though. At the very least you’ll need:

  • Tape measure.
  • Wallpaper paste.
  • Pasting brush.
  • Scissors.
  • Sharp knife.
  • Smoothing tool.
  • Spirit level or plumb line.
  • Stepladder.

For beginners, we recommend you get ‘paste the wall’ wallpaper, which is fairly self-explanatory. Sometimes the hardest part about wallpapering is getting the pasted wallpaper from the table to the wall, but you don’t have to worry about that with ‘paste the wall’ wallpaper.

Start by drawing a vertical line using your spirit level or plumb line. This should be approximately the width of the wallpaper roll away from a corner, minus 3cm or 1 inch. This allows for any wonky corners!

Cut a piece of wallpaper that is a good 10cm/4 inches bigger than the wall height and then paste the wall before placing your wallpaper on the wall, against the line you drew. Start with the side away from the corner and work towards the other corner, then do the end pieces at the end.

You can cut off the excess with your knife once you’ve smoothed it all out.

Decorating can be something a beginner to do, but it’s still easy to get wrong.

If you know a few tips and tricks like these, then you can avoid some of the mistakes a lot of people make and create some exciting spaces!

Good luck with your decorating!

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