A common question asked by many homeowners “How to paint a room like professional”. Painting doesn’t’ have to be as daunting as you may think. If you follow the steps that I have laid out below in the correct order, I can guarantee that you will achieve the same finish as a professional painter.

PRO TIP : Never purchase the colour for your room directly of a colour chart. Purchase tester pots and test patch the colour, then look at the sample colours over a 24 – 48 period before making your final decision. 

Prep a room for painting

Clear as many items from the room your are intending to paint. These would include (curtains, curtain pole, pictures, furniture, electronics). Try and think of a blank canvas, if you are unable to move large items out of the room, then move them into the middle of the floor and cover with a Polyethylene-Backed Dust Sheet, this will ensure that no paint ends up on your furniture.

If your replacing the carpet then I advise that you remove it. Having a wooden or tiled floor fitted? then book your floor fitters first, decorating is the last link in the chain.

Once the room is cleared, cover anything that is not intentionally being painted. I highly recommend using Scotchblue painters masking tape to tape of any areas that may get covered in paint, this may include (skirting boards, architrave, plug sockets, wall lights, smoke alarms).

Repair Cracks, Holes and Dents

Now that the room has been cleared and everything that is not being painted has been masked off. It’s now time to fill any dents, scrapes, cracks and holes that are visible on the walls or ceiling.

PRO TIP : Use a torch, shining the light upwards against the wall or across the surface of the ceiling to highlight, dents, scrapes, cracks and holes. When it comes to choosing a filler, I recommend Toupret Interior Filler, used by most professionals, mixes effortlessly, sands easily and doesn’t flash.

Mix the toupret filler using a Flexible Mixing Bowl, once your finished, simply squeeze each side to remove the dried filler and your ready to reuse your mixing bowl.

Once the filler is mixed, use two jointing knives, Purdy 6 inch Flex Joint Knife and Purdy 3 inch Joint Knife. The larger knife holds the mixed filler while you use the smaller 3 inch knife to fill all discrepancies in the walls and ceiling. You should hold the torch and the larger filler knife in one hand while working with the other.

how to paint a room like a professional

Sanding Walls Before Painting

All professional painters will thoroughly sand the walls, ceiling and woodwork before painting. This is a key element that must not be missed, there are several ways that this can be achieved.

  •  Hand Sander with 120 grade sandpaper, this will get the job done, but is pretty labour intensive.
  •  Pole Sander with 120 grade sandpaper, gives easier access to all areas of a room and is faster than a hand sander.
  • Mirka Deros Sander, used by professionals, one of the best orbital sanders on the market.

PRO TIP : Sandpapers are commonly graded as Coarse (40 to 60 grit), Medium (80 to 120), Fine (150 to 180). For walls, ceiling and woodwork, 120 grade is perfect for the job. Coarse sandpaper will only scratch the plaster which can show through your freshly painted walls.

Best Random Orbital Sander For Walls & Ceilings

What Painting Tools Do I Need

Now that the your room has been thoroughly prepared, the next stage is painting. First you will need to ensure you have the right painting equipment for the task at hand. Below is a list of essential painting tools.

I personally use the painting tools above daily to achieve a professional finish on all interior painting jobs. How to paint a room like a professional hinges in my opinion on three key elements. 1) Rigorous preparation 2) Professional painting tools 3) Quality paints.

What Order To Paint A Room

There are several trains of thought when comes down to the correct order to paint a room. Rather than cause confusion, this is how I achieve a professional finish

1) Ceilings first, this will ensure that any paint splatter does not end up on your freshly painted walls. You will also find it a lot easier cutting in the walls to the ceiling.

2) Woodwork is next, sand using a Foam Sanding Block 120 grade, caulk all edges between the skirting and wall so there are no visible gaps. Next undercoat the skirting and architrave and leave to dry, approximately 2 hours for water based undercoats.

Give the woodwork a light rub with the sanding block and wipe with a damp cloth to remove dust. Apply the first top coat of paint, usually (gloss, satin or eggshell). Wait until top coat is dry and repeat the previous step before applying the final top coat to all woodwork, then leave to dry for 24 hours. 

3) The following day tape of all edges of skirting and architrave using Scotchblue Painter’s Masking Tape let the masking tape hang over the skirting acting as a paint shield stopping any spray from the walls.

How To Cut In Paint Like A Pro

4) Using your Purdy Pro Extra Angular Glide Paint Brush cut in the edges where the walls met the ceiling, skirting boards and architrave. Using an angled paint brush makes for cutting in simple, dip the brush into the paint and tap on each side of the paint kettle.

Place the brush 1/2 inch away from the ceiling and work upwards until the brush is in position. Then simply follow the edge of the ceiling to achieve a perfect straight line.

Before moving onto the next section, ensure that you back roll the freshly applied paint to remove brush marks before moving onto the next section. Use your Hamilton Soft Grip Mini Roller Frame with Hamilton Perfection 4 inch Mini Roller Sleeve.

5) After you have cut in all the areas around the ceiling, skirting boards, architrave, window and radiator, your now ready to apply the first coat of paint to the walls. When rolling the walls, slightly overlap each section of paint applied. Use an even pressure with long fluid strokes from top to bottom

6) Once the paint has dried, approximately 2 hours for most emulsion paints, check the walls using your torch for any flaws that may have been missed during the preparation phase. Fill any imperfections with your Toupret Interior Filler and leave to dry before sanding.

7) The final stage is to apply the finish coat of paint to the walls, generally a slight thicker coat of paint is applied. Check for roller marks left by the edge of the roller which can be easily removed by removing pressure from the roller.

how to paint a room

Interior Painting Tips and Tricks

  • As you are learning how to paint a room like a professional I recommend that you only cut in one wall at a time. Then roll the wall before moving on, this will keep a wet edge and help to blend the paint.
  • Although not required as Toupret Interior Filler doesn’t flash when painted, I personally think it’s good practice to prime any fresh areas of filler with a light coat of paint before applying the final coat.
  • Painters Acrylic Caulk is extremely useful for filling and smoothing out uneven edges around skirting boards, architrave and ceilings. Please note that you cannot paint over painters caulk with emulsion paint, it will always crack giving a unprofessional finish. Use a primer, Zinsser 123 Bulls Eye or an undercoat before applying emulsion paint.
  • Avoid purchasing cheap brushes and roller sleeves. A good paint brush and roller sleeve make all the difference to the end finish.

How Long To Paint A Room

Assuming that the walls, ceiling and woodwork are structurally sound and do not need any major repairs. The average sized room 16ft x 12ft would take 2.5 – 3 days to paint professionally. This includes sanding walls, ceiling and woodwork, both the ceiling and walls would be given two coats of paint (minimum). Woodwork would be undercoated and two top coats applied.

Painting over dark colours will generally require an additional coat of paint. If your planning on using any designer paint brands, (little green, farrow & ball, designers guild, laura ashley). I recommend using a cheap contract emulsion to base coat the entire room before painting your tops coats of emulsion paint.

Any bare wood would also need to be primed prior to undercoating. The primer will help to seal the wood and stop knots from bleeding through.

Best Paint Brands

When purchasing paint, try locate one of the well known manufactures, Crown, Dulux, Johnstons. Avoid purchasing cheap paint that may be on offer from your local home depot store. If you have the budget, I highly recommend Little Greene Intelligent Matt Emulsion and their Intelligent Eggshell for woodwork. One of the best washable paint finishes available in a beautiful range of colors.

I run a small painting firm Clear Cut Painting in Northern Ireland where I pride myself on delivering professional painting and decorating services. I hope you found plenty of useful tips and tricks on How to paint a room like a professional.

Disclaimer : Some of the above links are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase, thank you for your ongoing support.

Considering redecorating? Thinking of spending a little more cash on some posh paint? Popular designer paint company’s you may have heard of ( Farrow & Ball, Laura Ashley, Little Green, Zoffany, Fired Earth). With so much choice, who is the best designer paint company? Let me help with my review of  “little greene intelligent matt emulsion”

Little Greene Paint Company

As a professional painter and decorator running my own firm, I have plenty of experience using designer paints. My current posh paint of choice is Little Greene Paint. Their intelligent matt emulsion is a dream to apply in comparison to similar products. Creamy in texture, excellent opacity and lays off without leaving a stippling effect from the roller.

Their Intelligent Eggshell is also excellent, leaving a beautiful, modern, hard wearing, cleanable, spray like finish.

Little Greene Sample Pots

When attempting to choose the perfect colour for any room, never trust the colour card or colour board. Looking at a one inch section of card will not reflect how the paint will look on a larger area.

Thankfully Little Greene Tester Pots are available for all their colours, (matt emulsion finish only). While it maybe a little more expensive to buy several tester pots at £4.60 per sample. Trust me when I say, it’s worth it, designer paint is expensive, choosing the wrong colour can prove to be a costly mistake.

Due to the pigmentation in the paint, colours especially in designer paints can change with the light. It is always best to patch test the colour and then live with it for 24 – 48 hours, before making your final decision.

How To Paint Matt Over Silk Emulsion

Little Greene Paint Prices

I mentioned earlier that posh paint is expensive, well that part wasn’t a lie. Below are Little Greene Paint Prices 2020 (retail) and to give you a comparison I have added the prices for the equivalent products by one of the leading high street paint merchants, Johnstones. (LG) = Little Greene  (J) = Johnstones.

(LG) Intelligent Matt 

  • 2.5 litres : £50
  • 5 litres : £86

(J) Durable Matt

  • 2.5 litre : £37
  • 5 litres : £46

(LG) Absolute Matt 

  • 2.5 litres : £45
  • 5 litres : £80

(J) Flat Matt

  • 2.5 litres £40
  • 5 litres £65

(LG) Intelligent Eggshell

  • 1 litre : £31
  • 2.5 litres : £64

(J) Acrylic Eggshell

  • 1 Litre not available
  • 2.5 litres : 44.50

There are additional finishes & paints available from Little Greene, (Gloss, Floor, Masonry paint). Above are in my opinion the most popular from their collection. Designer paint unfortunately is not for those on a tight budget.

While some of Little Greene’s Paints (intelligent matt) are nearly twice the cost of Johnstones equivalent. Others (absolute matt) are marginally more expensive. Please note that, Johnstones “Flat Matt” is not your standard vinyl matt emulsion which costs on average £36 per 5 litres.

Absolute Matt by Little Green has a very flat finish with only 3% sheen. Johnstones equivalent is Flat Matt with a 1% sheen.

amazon prime free trial

Interested in purchasing Little Greene Paint? Remember to check out John Lewis, DIY – Paints – Little Greene for their latest offers.

Intelligent Matt Emulsion Painting Tips

Due to the additional cost involved when using designer paints. There are a few tips that will save you time, money and ensure a professional finish.

  1. Sand the ceilings, walls and woodwork with 120 grade sandpaper. You can either use a pole sander or wall sander. Most hire stores stock a variety of sanders which you can hire on a daily basis.
  2. Painting over a dark colour requires additional coats of paint. Avoid having to purchase more designer paint and base coat the affected walls with cheap contract matt emulsion first.
  3. Fill the walls using a professional filler (toupret interior filler) is excellent and used by most painter and decorators. TIP : use an led light directed upwards against the wall to reveal dents, scrapes and holes.
  4. For greater coverage dilute Little Greene intelligent matt emulsion with 10% cold water. Example, 5 litres (5000ml) of paint, diluted by 10% = 500ml (cold water).

Request a Little Green Colour Card

Little Greene Paint Stockists

Want to know where you can purchase designer paint? Head over to Little Greene’s website where they have a postcode search feature identifying LGP stockists in your area. Northern Ireland where I reside has ten Little Greene paint suppliers, I use Alan Espey in Newtownards or order from John Lewis if they are having a sale.

Alternatively you can order directly from the Little Greene website, delivery options are :

  1. Standard delivery FREE
  2. Express dispatch (Dispatched the same day if order is received before 15:00) £5.00

Note : An average sized room not including the ceilings will require 5 litres of Little Greene Intelligent Matt Emulsion. See tip 4 for greater coverage when using intelligent matt emulsion.

Little Green Colour Combinations

With so many colours available, choosing the perfect colour combination can be a challenge. Thankfully Little Greene Paint & Paper have put together a handy book featuring 191 Little Greene Colours (whites, neutrals, accent and dark colour schemes), which simplifies the process of selecting the ideal colour combination.

The Little Book Of Colour can be purchased from their website.

Little Greene Intelligent Matt Emulsion

Final Thoughts

Personally for me as a professional painter and decorator I wish more customers negated the additional expense and purchased Little Greene Paints. It still surprises me to this day that people will openly spend thousands on a new extension, kitchen or other home improvements. Then search for the cheapest painting quotation they kind find.

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

I estimate that if customers where to spend an average of 20 – 25% on posh paint (Little Greene) and employ the services of a trusted painter and decorator, the end result would be a stunning finish.

I’ll finish my review of “Little Greene intelligent matt emulsion” by saying, without adequate preparation, it would be pointless to invest in Designer Paint. Rigorous prep in combination with great paint (LG) delivers incredible results, but does come with a higher price tag, the decision is yours.

You might be interested in Little Green Intelligent matt emulsion data sheet, which provides additional information on the paint formula. Little Greene paint can be applied using either a paint sprayer or roller, dilution ratios and preparation tips can be found on the data sheet.


This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me (Andrew Firth). For questions about this blog, please contact andrew@clearcutpainting.co.uk

Some posts contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when those links are clicked on and a product is purchased. There is no additional costs to you.

The compensation received will NEVER influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. If I claim or appear to be an expert on a certain topic or product or service area, I will only endorse products or services that I believe (based on my expertise), are worthy of such endorsement.

Painting over flaking paint is one of the most common problems I face on a daily basis. Patches of paint that are either, flaking, peeling or completely failed to adhere to the plaster. Before we attempt to fix peeling paint, we first must better understand what causes flaky paint.

What Causes Peeling Paint?

There are several reasons for paint flaking or peeling away from the original surface. 1) Poor preparation, walls and ceilings have not been mist coated with the correct ratio of water to paint 2) Damp or elevated moisture levels in the plaster 3) Water based paint on top of oil based paint.

Poor preparation accounts for the majority of issues, when it comes to peeling paint. Failing to mist coat freshly coated plaster correctly, will cause paint on the surface to peel.

Painting Over Flaking Paint

  1. Remove as much of the loose paint as possible using a flexible scraper with a good sharp edge.
  2. Prime the affected area with Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 or Zinsser Gardz High Performance Sealer.
  3. Skim coat the area with a good quality filler, Toupret Interior Filler is perfect for the task.
  4. Sand the area with Aluminum Oxide Sandpaper 120 grade until the edges of the original paint are starting to show through.
  5. Prime the fresh filler and surrounding edges with Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3
  6. Apply two top coats of paint

How To Paint Over Flaking Emulsion

There may be the occasion when there is so much flaking paint that the entire area, wall or ceiling may need stripped back to the original plaster. Painting over flaky patches or paint chips can be easily rectified, larger areas must have all the peeling paint removed before attempting to repaint.

This can prove problematic as some of the paint will refuse to scrape off and the use of a Heat Gun must be used to soften the stubborn paint to allow for removal. If you don’t own a Heat Gun, I recommend purchasing one with adjustable temperature, the DeWalt 1800W Heat Gun with 240V Dual Air Flow is an excellent example.

How To Seal Flaking Paint On Walls

Painting over flaking paint is a relatively simple process if you follow the steps above. The use of a primer helps to seal the exposed plaster and tack down the edges of paint after scraping.

As there are discrepancies between the original layers of paint and exposed plaster, skimming the affected area is required. This will help to level out the two surfaces.

Use a medium to fine grade sandpaper, coarse sandpaper will leave deep scores in the filler that will show through after the top coats have been applied. A top coat of primer helps to seal the filler and cover any exposed plaster after sanding.

When applying the final top coats, it is best to paint the entire area of wall or ceiling to avoid visibly seeing the patch.

Peeling Paint Warning

Always be cautious when scraping and sanding paint on older houses built before 1978, as there is an increased likelihood of any painted surfaces containing lead. It is good practice to wear a Respirator Mask when there is a risk of dust particles entering the lungs. These can be easily purchased at any local building merchant.

How to repair peeling paint on plaster walls, Contact Andrew on 07419998922 or Email, to claim your Free no obligation Quotation.

Additional Articles you may be interested in: 


Some posts contain Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when those links are clicked on and a product is purchased. There is no additional costs to you.


Did you know that painting matt over silk emulsion is not recommended and can lead to disastrous results. If you search the term “Paint Matt Over Silk” into google. You may be shocked by the amount of results returned, 6,470,000 to be precise.

That’s a lot of people who have either made the mistake of painting matt over silk emulsion. Or simply researching the topic before painting. Regardless of their intention, be WARNED. Do not paint matt over silk without taking the necessary steps before hand.

Painting over vinyl silk

For anyone who has had the misfortune of painting matt over silk will be well aware of the outcome, cracked walls. Due to the waterproof, gloss effect of silk, matt paint cannot adhere to the surface and when dry, cracks giving the effect of a dried river bed. Matt emulsion cannot stick to the surface of silk without the correct preparation.

Painting matt over silk emulsion

There are two ways that you can successfully paint over silk with matt emulsion paint. 1) Key the surface, meaning, to use materials such as sandpaper, wet-or-dry paper or sanding discs, to smooth down and remove the gloss surface prior to painting.

Use 100 grade sandpaper and ensure that all of the surfaces that have silk are sanded thoroughly. Take care not to miss any sections as these can show through with a cracking effect. The use of a hand sander or orbital sander will speed up the process.

This can be time consuming, depending on the size of the affected area, but is very effective, ensuring that the matt paint can adhere to the surface.

2) The second method is by painting the walls with a good primer, Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 Water Based Primer is perfect for the job. Zinsser primer creates a paintable surface for which matt can adhere, avoiding the dreaded cracking affect. You don’t have to sand the walls before using Zinsser primer as it sticks to all surfaces.

Zinsser Application Information

Available : 500ml, 1L, 2.5L, 5L, 10L
Coverage : 10m per Litre
Touch Dry : 30 minutes
Full Cure : 7 days
Recoatable : 1 hour

The only downside is that Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 Primer Sealer is not cheap. Painting a large area that has been previously painted in a silk finish with Zinsser primer, could work out expensive.

What method you choose is down to personal preference. Sanding the walls or ceiling costs very little, but is time consuming, unless you have access to a wall sander. The second method, priming the area with Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer is quick but costly depending on the size of the area.

Additional Articles you may be interested in: 


This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me (Andrew Firth). For questions about this blog, please contact andrew@clearcutpainting.co.uk

Some posts contain Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when those links are clicked on and a product is purchased. There is no additional costs to you.

Considering hanging wallpaper for the first time? I recommend before you start, reading my “Wallpapering Beginners Guide”. Hanging wallpaper doesn’t have to be scary, with the right tools and a little patience anyone can wallpaper like a pro.

If you’re faced with having to remove your old wallpaper, you might be interested in reading an earlier post How To Remove Wallpaper Fast, full of useful tips for stripping wallpaper.

Step 1 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Wallpaper Batch Numbers

Assuming you have already calculated how many rolls of wallpaper you need. If you are unsure on how do to this, draw a plan of the room with measurements and consult your local painting store. Don’t guess or try and save money by not ordering that extra role. It is vital for the success of your job that you order enough wallpaper to finish the project

All wallpapers comes with a batch number and colour code on their label. To ensure colour and pattern uniformity, check that all batch numbers are the same.

wallpapering beginners guide

Step 2 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Wallpapering Tools

There are a few tools that will be required when hanging wallpapering. Below I have listed the essential tools you will need.

While most of the tools are relatively inexpensive, they all play an important role. I personally prefer the aluminum wallpapering tables over wood. They are easier to clean, lightweight, strong and don’t absorb moisture.

When trimming wallpaper depending on the type (paste the wall, paste the paper) having a snap knife and a sharp scissors is recommended. Delicate wallpapers once soaked can tear when using a snap knife.

Step 3 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Sizing Walls Before Wallpapering

Depending on the surface of your walls, they may need to be sized before you can hang wallpaper. Walls that have never been painted or papered will need sized. Also walls that have been patched with fresh plaster or filler would also benefit from being sized before wallpapering.

Sizing helps to:

  • Seal walls creating a vinyl surface that helps the user manipulate the wallpaper into place.
  • Stops the moisture being sucked out of the paste to quickly.

You can size the walls using a watered down mixture of wallpaper adhesive. Mix the wallpaper as recommended by the manufacturer and then add an additional 2 litres of water for sizing walls.

I use a 6 Inch Roller Sleeve or 9 Inch Roller Sleeve in combination with a 3 Inch Brush, depending on the size of area being wallpapered. Leave to fully dry (24 hours), your now ready to wallpaper.

NOTE: Diluted wallpaper paste cannot be used for wallpapering, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on the back of the wallpaper paste. Ratios of water to paste change in accordance with the type wallpaper being hung.

Step 4 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Where To Start Wallpapering

Alway start in the corner of a room and wallpaper away from the light so as not to cast a shadow if the paper overlaps. Try to start on a wall with no windows or doors, use your plumb bob or spirit level to strike a vertical straight line.

If you are using a plumb bob for the first time, simply hold the string at the top of the wall, letting the weight hang without touching the floor. Wait until the weight stops swaying, then with a pencil mark your straight line.

Wallpaper your first section of paper to the straight line, allow the edge of the paper to wrap slightly around the adjacent corner by a half inch.

Step 5 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Paste The Wall Wallpapers

Some modern wallpapers have new paste the wall technology. Instead of pasting the wallpaper, letting it soak and then hanging, you instead paste the walls. I use a 9 Inch Roller in combination with a 3 Inch Brush to paste the wall before hanging paste the wall wallpapers.

Wallpapering tips paste the wall

1) Size all the walls the day before to stop the plaster absorbing the wallpaper paste.
2) Use your Olfa Snap Knife and regularly snap a new section of blade for clean cuts.
3) Pay particular attention to the seams, ensure they have enough paste and use your Seam Roller.
4) Only use Paste The Wall paste as it specifically designed for paste the wall papers.

Paste the wall papers do save time by not having to let them soak, but are more difficult to manipulate due to the man made fibres woven into the wallpaper to stop them from shrinking.

Step 6 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Pre Cut Your Wallpaper

Speed up the process of wallpapering by pre cutting your wallpaper before hanging. Place your first cut section onto the pasting board, then cut multiple sections remembering to match the pattern. Information on the pattern repeat can be found on the wallpaper label.

Ensure when pasting all pre cut sections of wallpaper that you use a liberal amount of paste. I use a 6 Inch Roller Sleeve and 3 Inch Brush for the top, bottom and edges of the wallpaper.

Once the wallpaper is pasted, take the bottom corners of the paper and fold it back on itself. This allows for better handling of the paper, once you have the top section of pasted on the fold, you can then unfold the remaining wallpaper.

All paste the paper wallpapers require a Soaking Time, which is dependent on room temperature and wallpaper type, soaking time is generally around ( 5-10 minutes). Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for allocated soaking time.

Step 7 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Applying Wallpaper

Take one of the pasted sections and carefully unfold letting the bottom section hang. Next place the paper onto the wall starting at the top. Use the straight line you marked earlier as a guide, smooth the paper using your Wallpapering Brush, always work from the centre outwards to the edges, removing air bubbles as you go. Wipe off any excess paste with your Decorators Sponge.

Continue papering using the edge of the first section as your guide for matching the pattern. Start the next pasted section at the top and match the pattern and seam before smoothing the paper. Next close the seam using a combination of Seam Edge Roller and your fingers to push the seam closed. Run a damp sponge over the entire section of wallpaper checking for any trapped air bubbles.

Step 8 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Trimming Wallpaper

There are many situations when hanging wallpaper that you will need to trim the wallpaper, (plug sockets, light switches, ceilings, skirting boards, windows, door frames).

Using the blunt edge of the scissors press the paper into the corner (edge) of the ceiling, skirting, then with a Snap Knife trim off the excess. When papering around plugs or light fittings, the simplest method is to paper over them, then cut a box the same shape only smaller than the socket cover.

With the papering snap knife cut the corners to match the dimensions of the socket cover. Turn off the power, screw off the socket cover and carefully manoeuvre the socket through the wallpaper. Push the wallpaper behind the cover removing any bubbles and leave to dry before screwing the plug socket, light switch flush to the wall.

Easy Hang Wallpaper Tips

  • Size the walls to help with adhesion and to allow better manipulation of the wallpaper.
  • Pre cut your wallpaper matching the pattern before you cut
  • Apply plenty of wallpaper adhesive ensuring all areas are covered and let soak
  • Remove air bubbles by smoothing the paper from the centre outwards to the edges
  • Clean off the excess paste with a sponge after hanging each section
  • Trim a little, you can always trim more, you can’t add back

I hope you found this article on how to wallpaper for beginners helpful. You might also be interested in:


This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me (Andrew Firth). For questions about this blog, please contact andrew@clearcutpainting.co.uk

Some posts contain Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when those links are clicked on and a product is purchased. There is no additional costs to you.

The compensation received will NEVER influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine.

If I claim or appear to be an expert on a certain topic or product or service area, I will only endorse products or services that I believe (based on my expertise), are worthy of such endorsement.

New legislation set in place by the European union has been gradually changing the way paint is manufactured. These new regulations are aimed at reducing and removing harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from all paint products. Over the last five years we have started to see the introduction of eco friendly, greener water based paint.

Why the change?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are harmful chemicals that give of gas causing damage to human health and the ozone. These VOC’s compounds are found in many products, aerosols, thinners, oil based paint, nail polish, paint stripper, commercial solvents, leather treatments, pesticides and the list goes on.

Read more on Volatile Organic Compounds

Change is inevitable and for most part is welcomed, but how will these new laws effect the painting industry now and into the future. Can water based paint eventually replace oil based paint.

The benefits of using water based paint

  • Water based paints do not produce gases that harm the ozone as they do not contain any volatile organic compounds.
  • Drying time is considerably shorter in comparison to solvent based paint which can take as long 16 – 24 hours.
  • Paint fumes are no longer an issue with water based paint, making them the perfect choice for schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.
  • Water based paint does not crack, fade or yellow compared to oil based paint
  • Cleaning brushes and spills couldn’t be easier using water, meaning no harmful thinners and longer lasting brushes.

How do I know if paint is water based?

If you are unsure if the paint you are using is water based or oil based, refer to the label, especially the cleaning process. If the label says use water to clean your brushes, then you are using a water based paint.

Cleaning brushes with water is a blessing for all DIY enthusiasts. Gone are the days of purchasing cheap brushes for the job at hand then disposing of them after they are done.

Water based paint application

As we can see there are a numerous benefits to using water based paint. I think we can agree that water based paint is the better choice for the environment and human health. With that being said, how does it compare to oil based paint.

Unbiased opinions of others

“Water based acrylic paints are a lot less fumy, but might need an undercoat, anyhow, if you’re painting over existing paint or varnish. Until the past 5 years or so, most paint for woodwork was oil based, with just a few premium brands having an acrylic line”

“Acrylic (water based) paints are supposedly kinder to the environment (both immediate and generally) and are easier to work with but alkyd (oil / solvent based) paints generally give a better finish, are more hard wearing and need fewer coats”

“Water based paint requires multiple coats for opacity, you are better off applying an extra coat of undercoat. White acrylic primer undercoat, which is water-based and adequate for indoors, is quick to apply and easy to rub down. Gloss topcoat is not intended for opacity so much”

Saving the planet and conforming to new legislation should always be a priority, but have we sacrificed on quality. After using several water based paints from various manufactures, my answer would be NO. I would say that it will take time, before everyone is on board.

Seasoned painters who have been using solvent based paints for many years may take a little longer to come around. From the opinion of others and myself, water based paint takes more prep and several coats to achieve a great finish. Planning on using water based paint, check out my tips below.

Tips when using water based paint

  • Make sure to give the old paint a really good rub down with an aluminium oxide, 120 grade (fine) sandpaper. By lightly scoring the surface of the the original paint work, removes the shine and helps the new paint adhere to the surface.
  • Dust the surface clean and then give it a wipe down with a clean damp rag removing any dust.
  • Apply a water based undercoat/primer to act as a base coat prior to the final coat coat. If painting bare wood, several coats will be required.
  • Once the undercoat/primer is dry, next paint your finishing coat of water based paint. Leave to dry and apply a second and final coat.


I can honestly say that I was a little disappointed in the finish when using a water based paint. Multiple coats are required and an undercoat even after sandpapering is recommended. The absence of fumes and the simple cleaning process are a huge bonus.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. Please keep me in mind for your painting and decorating needs. Claim your FREE no obligation quotation. 

Cracks can appear in walls for a number of reasons and can happen at any time. Most cracks appear due to natural movement in the structure. This is nothing unusual as all houses go through a settling in phase. The result of structural movement is cracks in the walls, thankfully “Fixing Cracked Walls” is a relatively simple process if you follow the steps below.

Step 1: Expose The Crack

Cracks in walls come in all shapes and sizes. The purpose of exposing a crack, meaning increasing the size of the cavity, allows for better adhesion to the filler. Fixing a very fine crack in a wall or ceiling can be difficult if the crack is not opened to allow for the filler to be pushed deep into the crack.

Bigger cracks already have a larger gap, but may have loose plaster surrounding the crack. All cracks should be scrapped, removing loose debris and creating a clear crevice for the filler.

You can use either a Stanley Knife or a Painters 12:1 Multi Tool to open up cracks in the walls or ceiling. Once the crack has been opened, use a Dusting Brush to remove dust and debris from the crack.

Step 2: Filling The Crack

This process depends very much on the depth of the crack with regards to what product or products you would use. For that reason I’m going to break down the explanation into two parts. First we will repair fine cracks in the plaster and then move onto filling deep gaps, holes and chases. Please note that some of the products below are for INTERIOR plaster repairs only.

How to repair fine cracks?

One of the best fillers that I have used consistently over the last few years is Toupret Interior Filler. Mixes effortlessly, drys fast and can be easily sanded to a professional finish ready to be painted. You don’t need to prime the filler before painting as it doesn’t flash.

How to repair deep cracks or holes?

The process of filling a deep crack is the same as above to an extent. If there is an actual hole in the wall, maybe from an electrical socket that is no longer required. Or a wall that has been chased for new cabling, these examples of deep gaps, holes cannot be filled with Toupret Interior Filler on its own.

I’ll use an example from a previous job where I tracked a wall to move a plug socket. Once the plug was moved and the electrical conduit was in place. I mixed up some Bostix Cementone General Purpose Cement, just add water and mix into a smooth consistency. Be careful not to add too much water, It should stick to your Flex Jointing Knife without sliding off.

The reason for using a ready mixed cement is 1) You don’t have to worry about mixing the correct ratios of sand to cement 2) Its inexpensive 3) Fills large gaps and holes with ease 4) Can be drilled once fully cured.

If for example you only have a one or two deep holes that need repaired and you don’t need 10kg of cement. Then another option is to purchase a ready mixed filler like, Ronseal Big Hole Filler. It comes in a handy 1.2 litre tub, ready mixed, simple to apply, dries fast, ideal for small repairs.

fixing cracked walls

Depending on the size of the repair you can use one of two products, Toupret Interior Filler or if you have a larger area that you need to plaster. Gyproc Easi-Fill is an excellent product for larger plaster repairs. Similar qualities to toupret, mixes easily, dries fast and sands easily.

Deep Gap Repair Tip

Leave your general purpose filler or big hole filler 3mm shy of the surface to allow for your finishing products, (Toupret or Easy-fill).

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What Tools Do I Need?

How To Fill Cracks In Plastered Walls

Now that you know what products and tools you require to repair either fine cracks or large holes. There is a process to successfully using both tools and products to achieve a professional finish.

1)  Always open fine cracks using your stanley knife or edge of your painters 12:1 tool. This allows the filler to be squeezed deep into the crack resulting in a permanent fix.
2)  Mix your filler firmer for large holes and soft for fine cracks.
3) Use your flex knives to compress the filler into the crack or hole. The larger flex knife is generally used to pass over the filled area smoothing out the compound so thats its relatively flush with the surrounding surface.
4) Large cracks, gaps and holes will need filled more than once. Don’t try to fill a large gap or hole in one go as the filler will sink when dry, wait until dry and fill the hole again.

How To Fill Cracks In Walls Before Painting

After the filler has dried, sand using 120 Grade Sandaper (medium), continue sanding until the edges of the surrounding surface start to show. Use the touch of your fingertips to test smoothness and for any bumps or unevenness. It helps to wrap the sandpaper around a Sanding Block or Hand Sander which 1) Saves the hands, especially if your sanding a large area 2) Helps to acquire an even finish (level), no bumps or raised areas.

If the plastered area is particularly rough with an excess amount of filler. Start by using a coarse Sandpaper 80 Grade (course) until nearly level, then move up the grade to 120 (medium). This will speed up the process of sanding by initially removing more material.

All sandpapers are graded. The reason for grading, is to help the consumer understand which sandpaper should be used for a particular surface, sandpapering grading explained. Simplified, the lower the number, the courser the sandpaper.

Painting Over Filler

In some cases depending on the product used, Toupret Interior Filler for instance, does not require priming before painting. Personally from experience if you are repainting a wall that has had plaster repairs, it is good practice to mist coat the fresh plaster.

Use a ratio of 60% contract matt to 40% water, allow to dry and then continue to paint as normal.

If your intending on wallpapering, dilute some wallpaper paste to a thin consistency and coat the wall. This will allow for better adhesion when hanging the wallpaper.

Fixing cracks in walls like a pro requires a combination of right tools, products and little patience.

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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me (Andrew Firth). For questions about this blog, please contact andrew@clearcutpainting.co.uk

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The compensation received will NEVER influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. If I claim or appear to be an expert on a certain topic or product or service area, I will only endorse products or services that I believe (based on my expertise), are worthy of such endorsement.