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50 Decorating Secrets for your Home!


  1. To ‘drag’ walls, apply paint with a large, soft brush and use a dry, soft bristle brush to stroke down the area and let the emulsion base show through.

  2. Get rid of a textured ceiling by over skimming with a smooth plaster, building up layers for a flat finish.

  3. ’Mottle’ walls using a vinyl sheen or soft silk emulsion a couple of shades lighter than the present, dried colour. Mix the topcoat with water and dab it on the dry wall with a scrunched up carrier bag.

  4. Revamp bed headboards and other furniture by applying a plain base coat and decorating with stencils.

  5. Remove felt tip and wax crayon marks with white spirit before decorating.

  6. Banish wallpaper bubbles by pricking with a small needle so air can escape.

  7. Wrap paintbrushes in cling film if you’re going to use them for the same paint later that day. This should prevent them drying out for a short time.

  8. For an interesting paint effect on furniture, apply emulsion then when dry, paint with crackle glaze adding another coat of emulsion in a contrasting colour. When dry, seal with varnish.

  9. To stop plywood from splintering when cutting, place masking tape over the cutting line.

  10. Clean surfaces before painting by washing in a solution of dishwasher powder and very hot water

  11. ‘Rag’ walls by dipping a cotton rag in the topcoat then dabbing onto walls, slightly overlapping each dab as you go.

  12. Place masking tape over wall tiles when drilling to avoid cracking the glaze or letting the drill slip.

  13. Hot rooms will make paint evaporate more quickly. Make it last longer by keeping the room cool.

  14. When drilling walls, use tape to attach an open plastic bag underneath the area to catch stray dust

  15. Use a stippling brush to ‘freckle’ walls Darker patches can be toned down with a dry cloth while the wall is damp.

  16. Before decorating, choose a focal point for the room and decorate to accentuate the feature, giving the room cohesion.

  17. Give kitchen cupboards and bathroom cabinets a new lease of life by replacing old knobs and handles with something more modern.

  18. To age new furniture, sand surface and apply pale water-based paint, working along the grain. Dry and lightly sand before applying a darker water-based topcoat Lightly sand in grain direction when dry, then seal with furniture wax and buff.

  19. Painting lofty ceilings in a strong but warm shade gives the illusion the ceiling is lower.

  20. Hanging mirrors will create the illusion of space in a room, but stay away from big and gaudy frames.

  21. Instead of stencilling, enlarge a pattern on a photocopier. Attach the dark side of some carbon paper to the wall, place photocopy on top, and just trace and paint.

  22. Make a pelmet using a staple gun to attach fabric to a length of plywood Fix to the wall with brackets so the material covers the curtain track.

  23. Mark picture hooks by putting a cocktail stick in wall plugs before wallpapering so they protrude.

  24. Stop wall plugs from turning by lubricating screw threads with tallow.

  25. Use a surface primer on clean, dry tiles before painting Seal emulsion with varnish.

  26. Paint over radiators by sanding down the metal and brushing on eggshell or gloss paint.

  27. If you make a mistake when painting, simply remove the fresh paint with masking tape.

  28. Paint narrow strips by dividing a paint roller with tightly tied string.

  29. Buy mosquito netting and suspend it from the ceiling to fall in a dramatic veil around beds

  30. Remove rotted wood from windowsills and fill holes with car body filler. File and sand before repainting.

  31. Hide wall imperfections by adding powder filler or sand to emulsion paint.

  32. Remove old wallpaper by soaking the wall in a solution of washing-up liquid and warm water.

  33. Downsize large screw holes with toothpicks in the hole before putting in the screw.

  34. Avoid shattering tiles by using a tile guillotine to take a little bit away each time.

  35. To create the illusion of space, paint ceiling and walls in the same light colour or choose a darker shade for the lower half.

  36. Blunt nail points with a gentle tap with a hammer to avoid splitting wood.

  37. Wrap an elastic band round paintbrush bristles to stop them fanning out when painting.

  38. For firmer screws, tip them with pva glue, nail varnish or oil based paint.

  39. In order to blow all the dust from drilled holes, use a bent straw.

  40.  When laying wooden ‘slot-in’ floors, allow adequate space between the floor and wall. Hide gaps with a proper trim.

  41. Give freshly sanded external doors a coat of polyurethane varnish to stop the wood from retaining moisture and swelling.

  42. To make windows appear taller, place a curtain rod a few inches above the frame and hang curtains.

  43. Hide bumpy walls by skimming with a readymade plaster topcoat and smoothing the final surface.

  44. Wallpaper corners by adding 10mm to the last sheet. Cut and hang so the sheet overlaps corner. Cut next sheet to same width and hang so it overlaps the other way.

  45. Remove old wood furniture glue by sponging with white vinegar and leaving overnight.

  46. Rub white rings on wooden furniture with metal polish. Spread with an olive oil and salt paste and leave overnight. Wipe and re-wax.

  47. Dull down shiny new brass fittings by removing them, then covering in yoghurt and leaving outside overnight.

  48. Old tiles make a good base for tiling over the top. Use stencils to break up blocks of colour.

  49. For tile-effect floors, cut and paint 12mm thick squares of MDF. Lay and grout.

  50. When painting a closed window frame, use a pizza cutter to unstick it.

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