No matter how small your interior decorating project, there’s no escaping the fact that to produce a great result, you will need the right tools for the job. The advanced enthusiast will require a larger toolbox, but it’s likely that your initial decorating ideas will involve painting or wallpapering, for which a basic selection of hand tools will serve you well. It may be tempting to cut corners, particularly if you need to stick to a tight budget, but investing in some necessary equipment at the outset will preserve both your safety and your sanity.
Whether your decorating ideas involve paint or paper, you will need a stepladder for hard to reach spots. Do not convince yourself that you can manage without this key piece of equipment. If you haven’t the storage space, hire one from a local DIY retailer, or borrow one from a friend. It may seem quicker and easier to climb up on some other readily available object, but don’t begin your project by courting disaster. At best, your workmanship will be poor, and at worst you will end up in hospital. Either way you will not be popular with other members of the family! A lightweight stepladder with a flat platform is best so that you can rest your tools there while you work. Also ensure that it has a hand rail on the top to help you with additional balance. Lastly, use the steps sensibly – it may sound obvious, but excessive leaning or an over-enthusiastic dismount can result in interior decorating chaos, particularly where painting is concerned. If you need to lean, it’s likely to be a sign that you need to move the ladder along a little. Awkward this may be, but consider the alternative!
Before you begin your interior decorating project, it is essential that you take the time to cover yourself and the area around you to protect both from paint splashes and mess. Dust sheets are perfect, and they can be used again and again. Overalls or unwanted clothes are an obvious way to ensure you don’t decorate yourself, but some innovation is useful for spectacle wearers, some of whom protect lenses from paint or paste splashes with clingfilm. You won’t win any style awards, but you will be well on your way to a professional-looking project.
Wallpapering can be a daunting prospect, but having confidence in your materials will assuage much of the fear. A few basic hand tools will set you on the right path to perfect papering, starting with a pasting, or papering table. Used to prepare the wallpaper for hanging, this is an essential piece of kit, and need not be expensive. To cut rolls of paper to size, use some scissors with long blades. Kitchen scissors might seem like a good money-saving option, but they will not be as easy to use, and will inevitably end up ruined. In order to measure the wallpaper and to hang it accurately, ensure you have a tape measure, a spirit level and a pencil for marking. You can easily rub off any pencil marks once the work is complete. Essential for many projects, these three items will be an integral part of your interior decorating kit. Also necessary is a bucket to contain the wallpaper paste, and a paste brush to apply the adhesive to the paper. You will need another brush to smooth down the wallpaper during hanging, and a small roller is a great idea for smoothing out the joins between rolls. Once you’ve got the paper where you need it, a trimming knife will be perfect for cutting off the excess.
Painting looks fabulous when done correctly, but nothing sorts the men from the boys like a patchy finish, or uneven edges. You can purchase a cheap set of paint brushes for very little money, but leave them on the shelf. Cheaper products are a false economy, leaving brush marks and loose bristles stuck to your freshly-painted walls. Providing you look after them, a set of good quality brushes should last a lifetime. A set of brushes of different sizes is perfect, making sure it includes one designed for corners and edges. Paint rollers are fantastic for covering large surfaces like walls and ceilings – make sure you purchase a tray, too, to hold the paint and remove excess product from the roller. Having prepared the surface for painting (sandpaper is great), you’ll need masking tape to cover areas you don’t want to paint, and to create a straight edge; along with a damp cloth to wipe up spills straight away. You will need to stir your paint before you begin, but it’s not essential that you buy a special paint stirrer.
The dirty work done, clean your tools thoroughly so that they last long enough to tackle the next interior decorating project. Remove oil-based paint from brushes with white spirit, and wash emulsion paint away with running water, once the excess has been removed. Tools safely stored away, you can sit back, relax, and admire the fruits of your labour!