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Plan your paint project

To ensure your painting project goes as smoothly as possible, make sure you’ve got everything covered with our planning guide. Clever planning and preparation will help keep costs down, save time and help you avoid common mistakes.


Plan your project properly

Break down your project into the following sections and take the appropriate steps.

Preparation

  1. Clear the room. Move furniture into the centre and cover
  2. Cover floors with dust sheets
  3. Prepare walls for painting i.e. removing wallpaper, filling cracks or holes, smoothing uneven areas, cleaning to remove grease and dust or preparing bare plaster using a specialist emulsion or with two mist coats of watered down white or light-coloured emulsion (40% water to 60% paint)
  4. Prepare any woodwork you’re painting
  5. Tape off any woodwork, glass and switches or sockets that need protecting

Painting

We recommend you paint in the following order, leaving enough time to dry between coats:

  1. Ceiling
  2. Walls
  3. Skirting boards
  4. Windows & doors

It’s best to paint top to bottom to avoid any paint dripping from the ceiling onto the walls or drips from the walls landing on the skirting or woodwork.

Clean up

  1. Clean and store any brushes, rollers or trays
  2. Remove any tape
  3. Remove dust sheets
  4. Move furniture back in

It’s always better to overestimate the time you think it’ll take, rather than not giving yourself enough time to finish the job. For more information on paint preparation, see our painting FAQs.


Choose your colour scheme

If you don’t already have a colour scheme in mind or would like some inspiration, have a look at our paint ideas and advice to decide on the look you want to achieve. The next step is to pick up some paint tester pots. Once applied, they’ll show you what the colour looks like in the room and how it changes with the light.

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#WickesTips

If you can, paint the testers on a white base and space them out so one colour doesn’t affect your perception of another. If you’re choosing a new sofa, blinds or curtains, get fabric swatches and hold them up against the dry paint samples to ensure they work together.


Pick the right paint

For long-lasting, vibrant results, it’s essential to choose the right paint for the job. For a full guide to different paint types, see our painting interior FAQs.

If you’re painting over bare wood, you will need to use one coat of primer first to seal the wood then one coat of undercoat before one or two coats of your topcoat. You can buy 2-in-1 primer and undercoat which can negate the need for a separate undercoat. On already painted wood, it’s still advisable to do one coat of undercoat before one or two coats of topcoat. Between each coat, use a fine sandpaper to give the paint a better surface to attach to. This is known as creating a key for the next coat.


Buy the right amount of paint

Use our handy calculator to find out how much paint you’ll need to decorate your space.


Tools and materials

To protect your room and yourself

  • Dust sheets to cover furniture and carpet plus tape to secure the edges
  • Masking tape to protect surfaces and ensure neat lines
  • A hoover to clear the room of dust beforehand then to remove dust from sanded down skirting boards or woodwork
  • Old clothes, overalls or workwear plus safety wear such as dust masks, goggles and gloves if you’re sanding

For preparing previously painted walls

To strip wallpaper

As well as the above, you’ll need:

For preparing newly plastered walls

Painting

For more information, see our painting FAQs.


Choose the right paint brush for your job

The three main things to consider when choosing a brush are as follows: the type of bristle, the job and the paint being used. As a general rule, use natural or mixed bristle brushes for oil-based paints and synthetic brushes for water-based paints.

Shop all Paint Brushes

Synthetic bristles

These are hard-wearing and last a lot longer than natural bristles. They don’t tend to produce tramlines in paintwork as they don’t absorb water and swell like natural bristles.

Natural & mixed bristles

They don’t work well with water-based paints but they do grab and hold solvent paint well and their split ends help to produce a fine finish.

Brush size

The larger the area you’re painting, the larger the brush should be. A 1" or 2" brush will give you flexibility when painting doors and skirting boards. For cutting in, we recommend a 2" or 3" brush or a smaller, angled brush. A 5" brush is good for floors, walls and ceilings.

or a smaller, angled brush. A 5" brush is good for floors, walls and ceilings.

Wickes
Mixed Bristle Mixed bristle

High quality and long lasting.
Designed for solvent based undercoat, gloss and eggshell paint.

Synthetic Synthetic

High quality with soft bristles for a quick and smoother finish
with all emulsion paint.

Wickes All Purpose All purpose

Suitable for everyday painting and with all paint formulations.

Harris
Gel comfort Gel comfort

Gel inserts for superior comfort.
Sleek finish and control with all paint formulations.

Premier Premier

Exceptional paint pick-up, smooth finish, comfort grip.
Suitable for gloss, emulsion and stains.

No loss evolution No loss evolution

100% no bristle loss guarantee.
Suitable for all paint formulations.

Easy clean Easy clean

Smooth and easy to paint with, easy to clean.
Suitable for all paint formulations.

Rollers

Rollers are great for painting large areas, especially ceilings. The type of roller you choose depends on the wall surface. The rougher the surface of a wall, the longer the hair on the sleeve should be.

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Short pile & smooth foam rollers

These perform well on flat surfaces (such as newly plastered walls)

Medium pile rollers

Good for slightly uneven or textured surfaces.

Long pile rollers

Best for heavily textured surfaces.

Sheepskin rollers

These have an extra long pile and are well-suited for very rough surfaces.

Synthetic fibre roller

Great for oil-based paints.

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Always wash new rollers and brushes before use to remove any manufacturing residue or dust.

Do the jobs in the right order

Preparation

For walls and ceilings, you’ll need emulsion. Emulsion is a water-based paint and can be applied directly onto previously painted walls, lining paper or textured wallpaper. It usually needs at least two coats and if you’re painting over darker colours or new plaster, maybe more. Emulsion comes in these finishes:

  • Remove as much as you can from the room before putting all remaining furniture in the centre to enable you to move around more freely
  • Cover the furniture and the floor with dust sheets. It’s best to use ones that won’t allow the paint to soak through them

You’re now ready to prepare the walls and woodwork.

  • All walls should be smooth, dry and clean. If you’re painting onto already painted walls, fill any holes with suitable filler and sand it smooth when dry. Now, you can wash the walls with sugar soap solution to remove any grease and dirt
  • If you’re removing wallpaper before painting, fill any holes once the paper has been fully removed, sand and then wash down with sugar soap
  • If you’re painting onto newly plastered walls, you will need to apply a specialist emulsion for new plaster or two mist coats of watered down white or light-coloured emulsion (40% water to 60% paint) to seal the wall
  • Wait for the walls to dry before sanding your woodwork and clear up any dust caused by the sanding. The top of skirting boards and window sills are key areas where dust will collect

You’re now ready to paint.

Painting

It’s best to paint top to bottom to avoid any paint dripping from the ceiling onto the walls or drips from the walls landing on the skirting or woodwork. We recommend painting in the following order:

  1. Ceiling
  2. Walls
  3. Skirting boards
  4. Windows & doors

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and allow the paint to dry before applying the next coat. If you can, leave doors and windows open to aid ventilation.

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Use Pink To White Emulsion to ensure you get the best coverage. It’s almost impossible to paint white on white without missing a patch but this paint goes on pink and dries white so you can easily see any areas you might have missed.

Have any questions about painting? Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page