It is best not to put off decorating your property, the longer you leave it the more of a chore it will become. It is important to do things in the right order. If you don’t have much money and you can only do a bit at a time then you may be tempted to start with the walls but this will be a big mistake.

Remember to look after all your brushes and equipment and you will only need to buy them once. Put brushes used for emulsion straight into water when you are finished. Put brushes used for gloss into turpentine substitute. Then when you are ready brushes can be given a proper clean with washing up liquid and water, hot water if available.

Before you do anything empty the room and make sure that the room is as dust free as possible. Cover the floor with a dust sheet or an old sheet you don’t want or newspaper. Start by painting the ceiling with emulsion – most people choose white paint which is the cheapest. You will need a paint tray and roller and an extension pole. You will need a small brush for fiddly bits. You will need water, washing up liquid and turpentine substitute to clean your brushes

Total Cost (2011) around £25.

Next you can paint the walls. Before you start use some masking tape to protect the skirting board, windows and door frames. Sand down any lumps or bumps and use filler to fill any cracks or holes. When the filler is dry sand it flat with fine sandpaper. Then very carefully with a small brush do the top edges and around the places you have masked. You can finally use a roller to cover all the large areas. You will need magnolia paint, brushes, turpentine substitute, masking tape, fine sandpaper.

Total Cost (2011) around £23. If you choose any other colour paint it will cost more.

Finally to make the room look fresh use white gloss to paint all the woodwork. Use a small brush for the skirting boards and windows and a small roller and tray for the door. You will need a tin of gloss, a small roller and tray, turpentine substitute.

Total cost (2011) around £17

If you want to put up paper then do the ceiling and woodwork as above. Papering is quite a skill and we really can’t explain it properly here. It is best to persuade someone who you know puts up paper well to show you how.

Total Cost per wall about £35 upwards.

If you can't decorate to save your life :P ...

You can learn to do decorating – you can sign up for a basic evening course at Stourbridge college, contact them on

01384 344344 for more details.


You can assist a family member/friend and learn from them.


You can have someone reliable that you know will do a good job (maybe a relative).


You can pay for someone to decorate.

Get the Yellow Pages and ring some local decorators. Ask them how much they would charge to decorate a single small room. You will be looking at least hundred pounds per room. If you pay somone to decorate don't feel that you have to employ the first person you speak to - get three quotes and choose the cheapest.

Also see the following for more information: