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How to paint your home interior

Updated on April 2, 2016

If you’re looking for a way to rejuvenate your home, painting is a good option. Consider not only painting interior walls and ceilings but also furniture, radiators, skirting boards, window frames and doors. Before you get started:

Preparing your home for painting

Whether you’re painting walls, ceilings, floors or fixtures and fittings, the quality of the finish depends hugely on how well the surface is prepared, so:

  • Remove wallpaper before you paint.
  • Sand wooden floors, window frames and furniture.
  • Use power washing, scraping or chemical removal to get rid of old, flaking paint.
  • Inspect all surfaces for mould or damp – the root cause of these problems need to be fixed before any painting work begins, otherwise the mould will simply grow through the next layer of paint. Get some more advice about damp proofing your property here.

  • Once you’ve sorted any damp problems, dry surfaces and remove mould safely using a water and bleach mixture. Ensure that you wear protective clothing; mould spores spread when disturbed and can harm your health, so if there’s a large area of it in your property hire a professional to safely remove mould.
  • Check whether there are any holes or cracks in materials before you paint. Walls and ceilings may need re-plastering if this is the case. For an even, professional finish it’s best to hire a trained plasterer.
  • Clean surfaces thoroughly.
  • Lead paint, which was commonly found in paint throughout the early and mid 20th century, can be dangerous and lead to health problems if disturbed. If you suspect there may be lead paint in your property, have it removed by safely by a professional.
  • Similarly, asbestos was commonly used in household materials such as insulation boards and floor and ceiling tiles from the 1930s onwards. Asbestos exposure can be lethal, so always hire a trained asbestos removal expert.

Painting the interior of your property

There are a variety of paints available which aresuitable for different areas of your home interior:

  • Primer/undercoat – maybe necessary if the materials you wish to paint are porous, such as stone orbrick, to seal and smooth the surface.
  • Solventbased paint – is not used as much anymore as it containsvolatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be harmful to your health and theenvironment. The quantity of VOCs in solvent based paint is now regulated underEU law and these types of paint are on the whole being replaced by solvent-freeeco-paints.
  • Water based paints – are more eco-friendly but not as thick so may need several coats. They are however, quick drying, easy to use and come in a matt or silk finish.
  • Emulsion – is ideal for walls and ceilings as it’s thick and easy to apply. If you want to paint your kitchen or bathroom then humidity resistant emulsion paints are now available.
  • Gloss – is good for wooden furniture, doors or window frames; acrylic paint is also suitable for this task.
  • Metal paints – for radiators or metal furniture/fittings, this type of bituminous paint is ideal.
  • Specialist paints – unique paints developed specially for use on floors or radiators can also be found – heat resistant and fire retardant options are available.

Choosing the right colour paint

Now for the fun part – choosing the right colour paintfor your home. This will depend largely on your personal taste and overalldesign scheme, but there are some general rules you can follow:

  • Colours are associated with feelings so choose a paint that makes you feel good; blue, for instance can be calming whilst white is pure and fresh.
  • Combine bright colours with neutral shades like white or beige to give the eye somewhere to rest.
  • Lighting conditions will affect the way paint looks, so test paints in the area they are going to be used.
  • Colour can be used to balance the shape and size of a room; for instance, dark colours bring a surface towards you and light colours recede, so a white colour will make a room appear larger.
  • Test paint on walls first but also use a mood board to experiment and see what works well for your home.
  • Remember paints can now be mixed to create any shade you like.
  • Buy enough paint to do the job in one go for an even finish – try using our paint calculator to budget for costs.


Hiring a painter

Painting can look awful if applied incorrectly so for the best interior painting, hire a professional who can get the job done efficiently and to a high standard, saving you time and effort. Always check references, insurance credentials and qualifications before you hire.

Cost of hiring a painter

The cost of a href=hiring a painter to carry out your interior painting work will vary depending on the size of the project and the type of paints you choose to use. Get at least three quotes for the work – which is normally costed as a lump sum, or sometimes as a rate per day or hour (agree a timescale in writing if this is the case).


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