Whether it’s a spot of minor interior decorating you enjoy, upcycling the odd piece of second hand furniture or really getting stuck into a big room makeover, one thing is certain; you need to have the right tools for the job close at hand. There are plenty of great pieces of kit out there to help you make your interior decorating a success, but there are also everyday objects around the house that can play as important a role in ensuring your decorating project doesn’t become a DIY disaster!
I personally love a bit of a challenge when it comes to interior decorating and have been known to try my hand at most things (aside from electrical and plumbing- I leave that to the professionals!!), from upcycling old furniture (such as this G-plan unit) and painting walls and woodwork to putting up shelving, curtain poles, that type of thing. No biggies really, but an achievement for me!
Over the years I have built up a handy collection of tools and decorating equipment, so I thought it would be an idea to share with you what things I consider to be worthwhile buying to start building up your own interior decorating kit, as well as what you can reuse from around the home to help keep everything clean, organised and in order, allowing you to concentrate on getting the job done to the best of your ability and within budget.
So, here’s a rundown of my 20 must-haves that I have certainly found useful (and practical) when carrying out simple decorating jobs around the home…
1. Dust sheets – essential for keeping surrounding furniture clean and free from paint or product splashes. You can never have enough! Top tip: set aside old bedsheets or buy cheap ones from your local charity shop. Cut duvet covers in half along all three closed sides to create two separate sheets rather than buying costly dust sheets at a DIY or hardware store.
2. Scraper and/or old dinner knives for filling in minor holes on walls prior to painting.
3. Screwdrivers – flat head one is useful for opening paint tins, as well as a Philips head one for removing or fastening screws to walls. Keep a small screwdriver in your tool box, too.
4. A pair of old scissors – for cutting tops off tubes of decorator’s caulk etc.
5. Hammer – for pulling old nails and picture hooks out. (Go gently!)
6. A selection of decent quality paint brushes – don’t buy cheap multipacks as they won’t give a smooth finish or neat edge when cutting in. 1″ or 1.5″ is the size you will use most often, also 1/2″ for narrow woodwork such as picture rails and door frames, as well as when painting furniture or cabinet doors.
7. Sandpaper – keep a selection of varying grits – a finer grit, say 120, for providing a light key if necessary prior to painting and a coarser grit, say 80, for prepping a previously varnished surface or removing any uneven, chipped or cracked paintwork.
8. Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 primer/sealer – this is a brilliant water-based product that I keep a tin of for prepping a surface prior to painting it. It can be used on almost any surface – even glossy ones – dries in under half an hour and will always provide a sound surface to paint gloss onto, so it’s ideal for repainting kitchen cabinets or wooden furniture. No sanding needed!
9. 9″ paint rollers and a decent quality frame, also mini foam rollers are handy for glossing radiators, skirting boards, cupboard doors etc. Always wash your rollers out after use so they can be reused. If you are in the midst of a project, wrap your roller in clingfilm then simply start reusing it the next day to continue with your painting project. The clingfilm prevents the roller from drying out.
10. Paint tray (and a mini paint tray is also useful but not totally necessary as you can just use the larger tray if needs be).
11. Paint kettle – for holding a small volume of paint when cutting in. It’s much easier and cleaner than carrying a full tin of paint around. The economical alternative is to use empty, clean, aluminium cans or one of those large yogurt pots with a handle.
12. Masking tape – absolutely essential if you want neat edges when painting and you lack a little confidence in this area. Try to buy the low tack stuff if you can to avoid paint peeling off when removing the tape again.
13. Value baby wipes – for cleaning up minor paint and product splashes.
14. Latex gloves (I buy a pack of 10 pairs from the pound shop) – especially handy when using oil based paint, as it’s very difficult to clean off your hands.
15. An old shirt for protecting your clothes when decorating – hubby’s old work shirt is ideal or again an oversized charity shop one!
16. Pencil, ruler, measuring tape – these basics can be found in any home and will come in handy time and again.
17. A tub or tube of Polyfilla – useful for filling in small holes or cracks on walls. I find the tub of product is less likely to dry out. For woodwork, use an all-purpose filler.
18. Selection of rawl plugs – the most common size of rawl plug I tend to use for general fixtures and fittings is 4-6mm.
19. Spirit level – not totally necessary in a beginner’s tool kit, but very useful nonetheless if you are particular about level shelving and the rolling marble test isn’t quite cutting it…
I think that’s pretty much your basic kit sorted for tackling a wide range of straightforward DIY and decorating jobs around the house. Now all you have to do is find the time for all those projects on your list – good luck with that!
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