Do you do your own decorating? Or have you tried and given up?

(36 Posts)

The house we're buying needs a lot, and I do mean a lot, of decorating. First there is the old paisley swirly carpet that would have looked tired in an old pub in the 70s. We are really hoping that beneath it we will find hardwood floors that we can refinish. Wondering how difficult would it be to take up the carpet and fix up the floors ourselves?

The kitchen walls need repainting and I'd like to add some tiles as well.

Then there are the nearly fluorescent paint colours in every colour of the rainbow. I think we just need to paint over these with primer and, as the walls are in good condition, apply paint with a roller to the walls and do the skirting boards with a brush. How difficult is it to get things even?

Finally, the existing wallpaper. It must die. So I figure we scrape that off and apply new. Now, I know it's not that easy to apply traditional wallpaper but I've been reading about this new stuff that you apply the paste to the wall instead of to the paper. Any thoughts on this?

We aren't going to have much spare cash at all once we move but don't want to just sit and look at our fugly house interiors for too long. But on the other hand we have no DIY skills whatsoever. What should we try to do ourselves and what's better left until we can save? And do we need loads of cash for materials and supplies for these projects anyway, or is it the labour that makes the biggest contribution to the price of redecorating?

toomuchtooyoung Sat 05-Apr-14 20:26:24

why would you not at least try? the only hard thing is if you're not used to any kind of physical work, at all

you can't do any harm with a paint brush or roller

you might even find you quite enjoy it. go for it smile

Thanks for the encouragement, toomuch. I suppose I'm afraid of ending up with a DIY disaster, wasting what little spare cash we do have on supplies and only making the problems worse. But if I cant do much damage then may as well give it a go.

nonicknameseemsavailable Sat 05-Apr-14 20:47:51

well taking up the carpet is easy - then see what is underneath and decide where to go from there. If you replace the carpet then get it properly fitted IMO as that is a costly mistake I expect if you do it wrong. I have had friends sand floors with no problems with no experience so I don't think that would be beyond you.

painting - well if the walls are in good condition and you have to cover up lots of strong colours then start with that. you can strip wallpaper yourselves, paint white over the colours to get to a good base and if you are happy with your work then you can then go on and paint the colour you want. I would expect after the practice of painting over the other colours you will gain in confidence in your ability.

Lovescourgettes Sat 05-Apr-14 20:49:00

Wallpapering is like the inverted wrapping of a present but there are lots of tutorials on YouTube to help with the tricky bits ( windows, radiators etc) I say go for it you will save yourself a packet.

Noseypoke Sat 05-Apr-14 20:49:02

I have only had people in to paint for me a couple of times. It's a waste if money for an easy job IMO. The only time I paid was because it was a very high hall with a stone staircase and a huge drop!

My mum can wallpaper so it can't be that hard!

Noseypoke Sat 05-Apr-14 20:50:02

Sanding floors isn't hard either, it's a bit like hoovering.

MillyJones Sat 05-Apr-14 20:52:22

DH and I have always done it and plumbing, electrics,building etc.grin

AnythingNotEverything Sat 05-Apr-14 20:59:43

You only know if you can decorate by giving it a go. At least if you paint it all white you can see what you've got.

Wallpapering isn't too tricky. You need a system, each of you needs to know which tasks are yours, and you need to work efficiently. It's not as hard as it looks if you choose a paper of good quality with an easy match.

Give it a go - you won't do anything that can't be undone and you could save lots of money.

Mintyy Sat 05-Apr-14 21:02:53

Normal decorating is quite easy and you just need to google for some how to videos on YouTube.

Sanding a wooden floor (fingers crossed that's what you find underneath the horrible carpet!) is more of a specialist job and worth paying someone else to do if you possibly can.

NormHonal Sat 05-Apr-14 21:09:20

Give it a go.

We tried it. I had helped my parents to decorate our house as a teen so thought I knew what to do.

No, DH and I were useless. Actually, worse than useless. And we didn't enjoy it. DH stormed off in a huff. I managed to wallpaper our bedroom in the end but the wonky paper drove me nuts.

And the tools...so so many tools.

Since then, we have paid decorators to do it for us, which means we don't decorate often. grin

I'm glad we tried it though. Who knows - you might be good at it!

MillyMollyMama Sat 05-Apr-14 21:32:53

DH and I had huge rows about wallpaper hanging in our previous house and we have not done it since. Not about to have another go either! We get a decorator in to paint but I have done plenty in the past when we were much harder up. It's expensive because the decorator needs to make a living. It's not a charity is it? I would not attempt to lay a carpet or floor as the materials are expensive.

We used to do ours. We were OK. Did a reasonable job that we could live with and certainly improved things.

But, we don't do it any more. As well as we did it, we just don't have the finish that a professional does plus I can't believe how quickly they do the job. What used to take us weeks of evenings and weekends and days off they could do it in hours almost (drying time aside).

The other thing is that they have all the equipment. We had to buy all the equipment. We probably didn't buy the best things for the job every time and we certainly didn't buy the quality brushes. It was probably a false economy - it doesn't help do a good job is you have a brush shedding hairs everywhere for example.

If you have simple rooms what don't require a lot of making good and you can't live with it as it is then have a go but maybe save up to get some done professionally later. I think it is worth it, just for the time and inconvenience it saves.

nowahousewife Sat 05-Apr-14 22:01:01

Agree with what the last couple of posters have said BUT DH and I still look back fondly on our early DIY efforts when we were poor newly weds over 20 yrs ago. We often say that although things didn't always look great and it was bloody hard work, they were the happiest times. Now we are older and more time poor we pay someone else to do it.

On a practical note I'd suggest you look at the floors and if they're ok stain them a dark colour and paint all walls and woodwork trade (not brilliant) white. It will give you a fresh clean palate and buy you some breathing space to sit back and contemplate how you want to move forward.

ContentedSidewinder Sat 05-Apr-14 22:18:48

It is mainly the time it takes to do something. I do pretty much all the decorating in our house. Dh rollers the ceilings but I do all the cutting in and painting walls. We have wallpapered in the past but prefer to paint as you can change a paint colour very easily and quickly.

Is there no-one you could ask to show you how?

We had lovely friends and when we bought our first house (many moons ago) our mate showed us how to tile our kitchen. My Mum taught me to wallpaper when I was 15, and decorating is just something I tried and found I was good at.

There are lots of videos on YouTube giving advice. The hardest thing to do is a good cutting in, which is where you paint the corners of the room (easy) and then go along the wall where it meets the ceiling and the skirting, plus door frames. That is all about technique, but it is easy to practice.

I would say have a go, if you have a screwfix or toolstation near to you go there for brushes as they are much much cheaper than B&Q.

Personally I wouldn't strip my own floor, but that is asthma, time, effort and I wouldn't enjoy it. I actually enjoy painting. I had my bannister recently painted by a decorator because that is a job I hate, I am in Yorkshire and it cost me £80! Bargain.

unlucky83 Sat 05-Apr-14 22:39:15

yy to getting decent equipment - decent brushes, decent rollers, trade paint (branded not B&Q etc trade!). Also decorators tend to do lots of thin coats not one thick one and they even thin paint down sometimes!

Really bright/dark paint though might be problematic - on wood I would seriously think about stripping it off (might need lots of coats and every little chip will reveal the colour underneath) And make sure anything you paint over is sound - in fact if you have boring standard skirting boards painted in dark colours seriously think about replacing them (not difficult, not expensive).
I am the voice of experience - in this house almost every bit of wooden trim was painted over in dark brown 'wood' effect paint -
Hours of work, cans of nitromors later (and it was when paint stripper worked - a chemical in it has been banned and it is (all) rubbish now), sanding down etc I managed to get it off the skirtings in one room and looking ok.
Second room I used a heat gun - still a painstaking job, gave up (6 months of bare walls later - just no spare time) and got a handyman (former decorator) in ...he said replace the skirtings - I said I've stripped them now - he said by the time you've paid me to sand them it will be cheaper - I said I'd sand them then... I did- of a fashion - thinking they'd be ok - he painted them (tutting away) and now when I notice them (quite a lot) they annoy me .
Finally he did the decorating in the hall/stairway way for me - most of the stair bits etc weren't easily replaceable. Stripping would treble the price, he sanded (got rid of the flaky loose bits), used really good paint and it looked great -but every time the wood gets chipped it is really obvious as the dark paint shows through....
Other (affected) rooms replaced skirtings and stripped around doors (except one I replace the facings too)...have learnt my lesson!

On walls it might be worth using lining paper to cover the paint rather than trying countless layers...and never try and paint over patterned wall paper - I did once (pale blue with little pink flowers) on the fourth coat I gave up and stripped it off...

Oh and finally - no matter what is the current fashion etc never paint any woodwork that is hard to replace - or ceilings come to think of it - any colour other than white (or at least very pale!) Unless you are planning to sell to your worst enemy in the near future grin!

Thanks, all. Norm, we will definitely not be good at it either. We have fallen out over flat pack furniture assembly before and both are bad with our hands and severely lack spatial skills. Him worse than me so I will be chief decorator and it will really be the blind leading the blind grin.

Unlucky oh no - several of the ceilings in the house have been painted different colours already by the previous owners! Also the house is Victorian with high ceilings (so will need to invest in a tall ladder I suppose but would need that anyway for changing lightbulbs, etc). At least it looks like most of the ceilings have been replastered already as they are nice and smooth, (but the lovely ceiling roses are gone sad).

Contented, great idea about the YouTube videos! BigB, yes I'm concerned we might spend a fortune on tools and then give up if it turns out too difficult!

You know, though, the more I think about it will be quite fun to give it a go. And though we will try to get the finish as good as we can, there will be a lot of satisfaction sitting there thinking "we did that" once it's done. Even if it isn't perfect it will be ours! Screwfix catalog here I come.

peggyundercrackers Sun 06-Apr-14 08:22:29

yep its easy to do. if painting buy decent paint not B&Q or wickes, you will not get good coverage. dont water paint down - our friend who is a decorator says the biggest mistake people make when painting is not having enough paint on the brush/roller - its true use enough paint and it makes life easier.

wallpaper is easy - measure out your paper and cut quite a few strips at a time, between 6-10, and paste them all together. by the time you have pasted the last one the first one will be ready to put up. get all the paper up first then go back and trim the tops/bottoms all together. when trimming make sure you have something with a long straight edge and get that right into the corner of the wall/roof or skirting and use that as an edge to cut against with a sharp knife.

When the paper is on the wall dont use a brush to smooth it off, use a wallpaper smoother, they are flat plastic things but they make life so much easier when papering - they take a bit of practice getting used to but they work a treat and are much quicker than doing it any other way.

if you are putting up lining paper use a tiny bead of decorators caulk top and bottom before painting and it will stop the edges rolling up/comming away if they are a little dry.

pulling carpet up is easy but most houses dont have hardwood as flooring, its normally pine or boards.

Ok this is starting to sound doable! I think we will paint/wallpaper first, then paint the skirting boards, and then finally deal with the floor. That way if we spill stuff on the floor while painting it will all be going anyway.

As far as wooden floors go, I guess it's pine we're hoping for. Some of the houses we viewed in the same town and of the same vintage had their original pine floors refinished and these looked great. Apparently the pine used in Victorian times was a slower-growing variety that is more hard wearing than the type we use today as I understand it.

Also minty I realised you also suggested YouTube - thanks, good plan.

Lagoonablue Sun 06-Apr-14 08:44:21

I hate decorating so pay someone to do it as the finish is great and it lasts. However preparation is the key if you do it yourself. Use good quality paint too.

You can get paper where you paste the wall first btw. Would be easier though I would avoid papering if possible. Painting is much easier.

NearTheWindymill Sun 06-Apr-14 08:49:21

Many many years ago I bought a flat just like that. Took up the greasy carpet and lo and behold, parquet. Hired a sander, bought some varnish (might not have been varnish but it was specialist wood floor stuff). Looked fantastic - 18x12 room and the hall and it only took about four hours. Also painted that flat throughout - it took me a weekend a room - sanded, washed down, painted walls and glossed.

littlecrystal Sun 06-Apr-14 10:31:32

Depends on how old is your house. Mine is Victorian. I was very short of cash when we moved in, so I did decorate myself. I sanded and varnished the floorboards, removed old carpets, painted/wallpapered the walls and laid a massive sheet of vinyl flooring all by myself.

As others say, it took long evenings and nights (I did a lot of things overnight when DC were in bed) and the finish is not that great. If it was post 1970 house, it may look better, but with old houses is so much more difficult to get professional look.
Also, there were lots of things I could not do myself (blown plaster or not enough sockets) so I just covered it up or left it but I still know it needs doing.

If I was you I would probably remove old dirt (wallpaper/carpet) and live with bare floorboards or just paint walls white; then save for and tackle rooms one by one professionally, including electrics, plaster etc.

Good luck with it!

unlucky83 Sun 06-Apr-14 15:59:36

Oh no notjusta -did you buy it from someone who didn't like you? grin
If you are going to do the ceilings look at getting (or hiring) a movable platform...much easier than faffing with a ladder
(And if you get any ladder for decorating get nice wide rungs - steps - I didn't and it is agony on my feet after an hour or so)
If you go for stripped wooden floor be prepared for them to be noisy - and downstairs if you can get underneath easily look at insulating them - definitely seal up all the gaps between the boards well and around the edges under the skirtings.
Keep some of your sawdust from the last sanding (should be same colour as boards) and mix it with clear drying PVA - should make a good between board sealant ...
Two things to be careful of though - I've done this to cover nail holes in the top of an old table and for some reason the sawdust/PVA dried black! (Had to dig it out - so test it before you use it!)
And if you need to get under the floor in the future to get to pipes, electrics etc you have effectively glues the boards together, makes them impossible to lift without cutting ...
So if you have access hatches (you probably will have if you have central heating pipes now running under) don't glue the boards together there
Downstairs if you don't have any now think about where you could put them (in cupboard etc - as long as someone can crawl under the whole floor area)!
Upstairs sealing shouldn't be as important - not as draughty
And trickier cos no crawl space - so workmen have to make more access points/lift whole boards...

Beaverfeaver Sun 06-Apr-14 17:26:11

We do it all.
It's such hard work.
But it's worth it for the money saved.

At least it's not often required

MrsDavidBowie Sun 06-Apr-14 17:31:37

Dh has decorated in the past but we get someone in now.

The whole house needs repainting at the moment especially hall and stairs, but I can't face the disruption.

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