Home > Decorating & Improving > Paint And Wallpaper

Paint And Wallpaper

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 24 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Property Renovation Renovate Walls

Paint and wallpaper are the main products used in decorating and there’s a bewildering amount of choice on the market today. The main drivers for choosing the right product are looks, costs and speed of application. Which criteria are more important for you depend on whether you are renovating for profit or simply to have a nicer home for you and your family to enjoy.

Blank Canvas

If you are renovating for profit, you are advised to make your paint choices pale and neutral. Let’s face it, you are never going to accurately guess what your new buyer will like on the walls so put up a clean, blank canvas for them to see the property at it’s best and then decorate over. Pale colours also make rooms look lighter and bigger, which is better for selling.

Preparation is Everything

Regardless of whether you go for wallpaper or paint, preparation of the wall surface is key to getting a good finish. If the current surface is in good condition, painted walls can be rubbed down with a sugar soap solution or similar product to clean them and provide a key for new paint. If the old paint is not in good condition it will have to be sanded down and then washed down to remove the bits. In both cases you will then need to put down a layer or two of primer.

Removing Wallpaper

If there’s wallpaper on the walls, it will need to be removed either by scraping it off by hand, or hiring a wallpaper steamer, which dissolves the paste, allowing the paper to be peeled away. Again, once the wallpaper’s off, the surface will need preparation, although with some vinyl wallpapers, the plastic top later will peel away, leaving a layer glued to the wall, onto which new paper or paint can be applied.

Massive Choice

Once your surface is prepared and primed, paint can be applied with brushes or rollers, or even sprayed on. In rooms that are likely to get damp, such as bathrooms and kitchens, consider a glossy finish that will be better at repelling moisture.

If you have a period house, there are a couple of suppliers providing ‘heritage’ colours, which will retain the correct, feel for the property. Otherwise choose you colour and cost bracket and away you go.


Wallpaper goes in and out of fashion and is currently enjoying something of a revival. If you’re renovating for profit you are unlikely to choose wallpaper unless it’s a very high-end renovation. Again there are glossier finish papers that will suit bathrooms and kitchen better than others, but otherwise the choice is down to taste and budget.

Roll Call

Calculate how many rolls you will need and it’s then a good idea to buy one more roll than you need, as batches will vary slightly and if you have to buy another roll to finish off it may be a slight different shade. It’s worth hanging on to a part-used roll so that you can repair damage in the future, and many shops will take back completely unused rolls. Shops will have tables to help you work out how many rolls you need.

Professional Finish

It’s easy to achieve a good looking finish when hanging wallpaper as long as you take time and care. Use a plumb line rather than a door or window frame to line up the first strip and once each strip is hung, brush it over from the top down to remove all air bubbles Make sure you have a very sharp plain-edged knife to cut along the borders cleanly and smoothly, and a very thin roller to press the paper well into the corners.

Take Time and Reap the Dividends

Whether you choose paper or paint, remember that taking time and care during the preparation and the application stages are most important for achieving a professional finish. Sloppy finishes will show up much more than you think, will put buyers off and stop you from achieving you best price.If you’re decorating for yourself, those mistakes will stick out like a sore thumb and irritate you for years!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Dav
    Re: Adding A Porch
    Hi I've build a porch to the front of my home, it a detached house with a garage that comes out 600mm passed the front of my house which is included…
    13 January 2019
  • Mitch
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    @Vicky - you won't get a grant for this sort of revovation. No one is going to pay you to renovate your own home, sorry. Not these…
    17 September 2018
  • Dan
    Re: Adding A Porch
    Hi I’m thinking of building a porch on the front of my house and I was wondering if I can join it to my next door neighbors house because I’m in a…
    16 September 2018
  • Vicky
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Hi I am looking for funding to reinstate a farm house that is over 100 years old and has been derelict for 30years. Do you know who I…
    15 September 2018
  • woody56
    Re: Adding A Porch
    I am looking at building a porch within the 3 metres guidelines so not needing planning permission. It will have approx 750mm brick base with…
    8 August 2018
  • Ingrid
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Hi. I'm making an enquiry on behalf of my elderly parents who live in a house in Scotland, built circa 1894. They are both on state…
    3 July 2018
  • Roget
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    @Aims - I don't think you can get grants for this sort of home improvements. Grants are much more scarce these days. A can of white…
    12 June 2018
  • Aims
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Hi I am a lone parent to 2 children and have always worked long hours as a nurse in the NHS, I simply can't afford to redecorate my…
    12 June 2018
  • Seiyune
    Re: Adding A Porch
    I need a side shelter/porch, partly for storage, partly for shelter and partly to protect a lobby that's freezing in winter and boiling in summer.…
    21 May 2018
  • buddie
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    i am in the process of having my late mothers house left to me...its about a hundred old house but in need of a lot of work as not…
    25 April 2018