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8 DIY painting mistakes and how to avoid them

A splash of fresh paint can be a quick and cost-effective way to transform a space, but getting the perfect finish is not always as easy as it looks.

The difference between your DIY paint job and the work of a professional won’t be obvious if you can resist the temptation to just jump straight in. The most common DIY painting mistakes are easy to avoid with a little preparation.

1. Choosing a colour you’ll regret

Colour choice can make or break a room. Choosing a vibrant colour for a space that you want to feel calming, or a cool hue for a room that should be cosy, can be a costly and frustrating mistake. An online paint tool can help you work out which colours will work in your space, and sample pots allow you to test different shades with the lighting in your room.

Read more: How to choose the right paint colours

2. Using the wrong type of paint

Choosing the correct type of paint for each different surface is essential for a professional finish. Walls, ceilings, trims, doors, bathrooms and kitchens may all require different levels of sheen, and any existing paint on these surfaces should also be taken into consideration.

3. Painting over cracks

It’s common to think that paint will cover up cracks and holes but it can actually do the opposite – imperfections on a freshly painted wall stand out more than ever. Taking the time to properly patch the wall (with sealant or cement) might slow you down but pays off in the end.

Paint won’t cover up cracks and holes, it can actually do the opposite.

4. Sacrificing the carpet

It’s nearly impossible to paint a room without drops of paint falling onto flooring and furniture, but many DIYers still try. It’s worth moving all furniture out of the room and using drop cloths to protect the floor. It’s much easier than scrubbing carpet or having to replace a newly splotched sofa.

5. Leaving tape on for too long

Take the time to carefully apply painter’s tape around trims, light switches and power points, but don’t leave the tape on too long or you might lose some paint when you remove it. For best results, carefully remove the tape before the paint is completely dry.

Don’t leave the tape on too long or you might lose some paint when you remove it.

6. Buying cheap equipment

Buying the cheapest brushes and rollers might seem like a good idea but you could find yourself picking bristles and fibres out of your freshly painted surfaces. Spending a little extra on high-quality paint and equipment will give better coverage and save you money in the long run.

7. Painting from the tin

If you’re dipping your brush directly into the tin, you not only run the risk of contaminating the paint with a dirt-coloured tint but, even worse, you could drop the tin of paint. Pouring paint into a plastic container or tray is essential.

Pouring paint into a plastic container or tray is essential.

8. Not cleaning properly

Forgetting to put the lid on a paint tin or failing to properly clean brushes and rollers wastes both time and money. If you’re taking a short break you can cover the tin with plastic wrap and put the brushes and rollers in plastic bags. If you’re breaking for longer, wipe the tin with a cloth, secure the lid firmly with a mallet and do a thorough clean up with lukewarm water and a mild soap. This way your tools will be ready to go when you start again.

While DIY painting can take time and effort, it’s incredibly satisfying to sit back and enjoy the end result. A fresh coat of paint is something you will enjoy for many years.

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