Should I paint or wallpaper?
•We kept our house decorated with neutral colours with the hope of selling it, but, as the current market has forced us to stay put, we would like to decorate and give the house more personality. The normal advice from estate agents would be to keep the neutrality. Painting or wallpapering what would be the best option?
Putting some personality on your house is not a bad option. Applying different paint colours to your house can really help add to its selling points. It can also give your house a bit of a lift by adding to its personality.
Generally the informed house buyer would see paint colourings as something which can easily be replaced or covered without too much cost or effort. Wallpapering the house within an inch of its life is a different case.
Removing wallpaper can be expensive and time consuming and can really put off the potential buyer. So if you're still planning to keep your house on the market, painting is definitely the safer option.
•Are there any basic tips for preparing walls and ceilings for painting?
The best painted walls are only as good as the time spent preparing them. Time spent cleaning and preparing walls and ceilings before receiving their finish is time well spent. As a general rule, two to three coats of paints will disguise an uneven wall, the aim of careful preparation is to ensure that the surface for painting will be as flat and smooth as possible.
Good quality paint is not just a decoration but can also protect the surfaces from wear and tear. But these finishes may crack, flake, tear or fall off the wall if the surface is not prepared carefully.
For a perfect finish, make sure the surfaces are clean, dry and free from crumbling plaster and flaking paint.
The first task before preparing your walls is, where possible, to clear the room of furniture and furnishing. Curtains should be taken down and carpets and floors should be covered with a dust sheet.
This will give you a clear space in which to work, and will avoid paint staining should there be an accidental spill. Remove light fittings and shelves, and if there is anything left in the room, move it to the centre and cover it with a dustsheet.
Always wash your surface after stripping and before applying paint or wallpaper. Start with the ceiling, if it's in good condition. Wash it thoroughly with sugar soap, or a weak solution of warm water and washing-up liquid, and then rinse it well.
Washing is important in kitchens where grease will deposit. Open fires and cigarette smoke also leave their mark. Walls should always be washed or covered with a sealant if they are to be repainted. Skirting boards are the dirtiest part of the walls, so always clean them last.