• Danni Greenough

Common Painting Mistakes



Sometimes your budget just doesn't stretch to a professional decorator, or the job is small enough you may not think it warrants getting someone in to do. In this post we go through all the common mistakes people make when decorating themselves and how to avoid them, as well as how to fix them if something does go wrong.

Choosing the wrong colour

Paint colour options are endless, and not standard across different brands. You’ve perused over colour charts for hours before finding the perfect colour, gone out to buy a tin or two, and begin painting and it doesn’t quite look like the colour you were expecting. The way our eyes perceive colour are based on light sources and calibration (when it comes to screens and printers) so even though the colour may look one shade printed on the colour chart, it may look completely different on your actual wall. Always buy samples of paint to try at first, and use a small patch of wall in both good lighting and shade so you can see how different light will affect the final colour.


Leaving the lid off while you work

You want your paint to be clean and perfect every time you use it. To ensure this always put the lid back on immediately after using it to fill your paint tray, this will prevent dried out paint forming on the lid or rim and falling in your paint. It also means that any other debris that may fall during your work won’t contaminate it either.

Painting straight from the can

This is a big no no! Dipping in and out of the can could contaminate the paint with debris or dirt so use a paint tray or bucket and refill from the original can when you need to. Using a tray allows you to control the quantity going onto your brush or roller and keep it more even. Always remember to put the lid back on when you are done to keep it clean and so you don’t accidently knock it over!


Storing paint

Always keep paint somewhere it won’t be subjected to extreme temperatures as you may find that it will go lumpy or even separate. A hallway cupboard is a lot more suitable than a shed or garage.


Painting in extreme temperatures

Avoid painting in cold or freezing temperatures as the paint will not cure properly. You will find days or even weeks later that it is tacky and comes off when touched. On the other end of the spectrum you do not want to be painting in extreme heat as you will find that the paint will dry before you’ve spread it properly resulting in an uneven finish or can cause bubbles to form which can flake off.

Painting in a dimly lit room

Always have plenty of bright and natural light when painting so you don’t miss anywhere. Dark rooms may give the illusion of a perfectly painted room when in fact it could have many patches and imperfections.

Painting over unprepared surfaces

You cannot just paint over any unprepared surface and expect it to stick, especially if it has a gloss finish. You will need to sand down the area or use a liquid deglosser to get areas such as doors and skirting ready to paint but sanding down will always give a much better finish. Another thing which will help your paint go on flawlessly is to clean your walls before you begin any painting. This may sound strange but believe me its worth the effort! The last thing you want after all your hard work is for you to step back and notice hair or dust particles through the paint work, so hoover walls and follow up with cleaning them down with a water and vinegar solution for a perfect clean canvas which will give you a flawless finish. Using a paint primer or undercoat allows better adhesion of the top coats once your walls are clean and ready.


1, 2 or 3 coats?

If you don’t apply enough coats you may find that the previous colour is still peaking through or that it is patchy. Take your time and put on as many coats as it takes to get a great finish but always remember to let the wall fully dry before applying your next coat. If you are unsure if it is dry, we recommend waiting 24 hours just to be safe! Primer is also important when painting over colour to ensure it doesn't show through to the new coats.

Using the wrong brushes

In order to get the best finish, ensure you have the right tools. Oil based paints should be applied with a natural bristle brush and latex paint with a brush with synthetic bristles - of course, when you're working on larger areas it's more effective to use a roller to work the area evenly and quickly. Always buy the best quality tools that you can afford as it really does make a huge difference!


Leaving masking/painter's tape on too long

Assuming you've used tape to mark off your area and protect fittings, it's best not to wait for the paint to dry before you remove it. The paint is more likely to be pulled away from the wall and all your hard work and effort to have a smooth finish will be for nothing. Instead remove the tape an hour or so once you have finished painting that area.

Whatever happens don’t be hard on yourself. We all make mistakes and all painting ones are easy to fix but if you feel as though you would rather leave it to the professionals we have a team of fantastic decorators on hand to help with all of your decorating needs!

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