Deciding to decorate takes a lot less time than actually getting the job done. It helps to have a plan and get organised before you even start shopping for paint or wallpaper, so you know what you want to achieve right from the start.
While coming up with themes and colour schemes is fun and creative, you have to do a bit more practical planning before you can make the vision a reality.
Make the Plan
Devising some sort of plan for any DIY project makes sense because it helps control the budget as well as the time the job takes. As a rule, the bigger the task, the more detailed a plan you need. But even small projects, such as painting the living room walls, needs some strategic planning.
- The size of the project so you can estimate how long it’ll take. Do you need a day or a week? Be generous in your estimation because all jobs seem to take longer than we think.
- How you’ll find the time. Could you use some help with childcare, or do you need a couple of days off work? Bear in mind that it’s hard to start DIY after a long day at work, especially if you must wait until the kids are in bed.
- The cost. Try and price up all the equipment and materials you’ll need to buy, and make sure you have enough to finish. It’s so frustrating when you run out of funds before the job is done meaning you have to delay completion.
- Review Your Tools. Make sure you have all the tools you need, including paint trays, brushes, scissors, pasting tables, power tools, masking tape, sandpaper… it’s a long list, but so frustrating when you need a thing and hasn’t got it. Check power tools are working too, making sure batteries are charged if you use those.
Planning like this, and working to your plan, helps you avoid scope creep. This is where the project seems never-ending because you keep on adding bits to it. Try and think of everything before you start so you can be more accurate in the time needed as well as the costs.
Pack Up Your Valuables
When you’re finally ready to get cracking, hold back and spend a little time safeguarding the items you love. From ornaments to books, sofas to paintings, they all need to go somewhere else so you can work.
The ideal solution is a self-storage room. Here, you can safely stow all your valuables and give yourself a clear run at the job in hand.
While it might sound like a lot of extra work, it can save time because you’re not constantly having to stop and move furniture or shift boxes out of the way. And speaking of boxes, you can often buy packing materials at self-storage facilities. As well as clearing a space to work in, putting stuff into self-storage for the duration also means you’re not cluttering up the other rooms.
Do Things in Order
When you’re decorating, it helps the job go faster if you do things in a certain order. Before you start painting, mask off the fixtures and fittings with masking tape. Include light fittings in the ceiling, wall switches, and also skirting boards.
Then you’re ready to paint:
- Ceiling first, because this is the highest spot and it’s easy to get spatters or drips on the walls. A few spatters won’t hurt since you’ll be painting or papering over them anyway.
- Walls second, using a small brush for edges and corners, and around fittings. For the rest, you can use a roller or spray painter.
- Skirting boards next. Once the wall is dry, move the masking tape from the skirting board to the wall. Low tack tape shouldn’t disturb the newly painted wall as long as you’ve let it dry completely. Take care not to paint the carpet.
- Windows and Doorframes. Unless you have a steady hand, mask off the wall around the door frame to prevent smudges or wavy lines.
- Finish the job by painting the doors. You can use a roller or a fine brush to make sure you get a good, even finish.
Planning and finishing a DIY project yourself is very rewarding. If you’re new to DIY, start with a fairly small job so you gain experience and confidence to tackle larger ones. Use whatever helpers you need, from self-storage to childcare to time off work, so the job goes as smoothly as it possibly can.