When most people think of essential decorating tools, they will think, “paintbrush, paint roller, paint tray and masking tape”. While this is a good start, there are many other essential items you should have in your kit.
Whether you’re a D.I.Y-er or professional, take a look and see what tools we recommend to make your decorating as smooth as possible.
- Paint rollers
- Paint tray
- Drop cloths
- Masking/decorators tape
- Step ladder
- Filler and filling knife
- Paint conditioner
- Wallpaper scraper
- Wallpaper pasting table
- Wallpaper paste brush
- Water bucket and a soft sponge
- Small wallpaper roller
- Wallpaper scissors & small scissors
- Stanley knife
- Plumb line, spirit level and pencil
We recommend having at least 3 brushes in your kit. One large (4 – 6 inch) for large flat areas, one medium (2 – 3 inch) for door edges and skirting boards and a small (1/2 inch – 1 inch) brush for cutting in.
If your budget will allow, paying a little extra for a higher quality brush is always recommended. Cheaper brushes can have a lot of bristles fall out which becomes extremely frustrating when you have to pick them out of your freshly painted wall.
If a cheaper brush is all you can afford, then try not to overload the brush with paint and use it as smoothly and as gently as possible to try to preserve as many of the bristles as possible.
If you are painting a large flat surface, you will most likely decide to use a paint roller. For high ceilings, you may also wish to use a long pole attachment. Likewise to a paintbrush, we recommend using a higher quality roller as your budget will allow.
This is because cheaper rollers tend to not be able to hold as much paint evenly and so when you roll the paint onto the wall, it will be deposited unevenly onto the wall. This makes the paint difficult to move making an inconsistent and bumpy finish.
Buying higher-quality rollers will also mean you can clean and re-use them, so saving you money in the long term.
When it comes to paint trays there are only really a few things you will need to keep in mind. If you are using a very long roller, make sure the tray will be able to accommodate it. Likewise, if you are using a paint tray for a small roller, you will want to make sure it fits that tray too.
Some trays have a very shallow area where the paint is deposited. Try to get one that has a deep an area as possible. This will save time as you will not have to keep constantly topping it up with paint!
There is a wide variety of drop cloths available out there. From plastic to cotton and other fabrics and even paper. Some projects will require different types of protection depending on multiple factors, such as hardwood or carpet, stairs and/or staircases, etc
Although recommend, sometimes you simply will not be able to move furniture out from the room. In this case, a lot of people will opt to use plastic sheeting. This is because it is easy to secure and you won’t need to worry about slipping on it.
Whatever you choose to use, make sure it is securely fastened/taped down so you will not trip over!
Masking tape is a must for if you are painting around tricky areas such as window sills, door frames and skirting boards. Again, we recommend using a higher quality tape as possible.
This is because cheaper tapes can often have poor adhesive and so will come off the surface very easily. They can also be weak and so rip easily upon removal and so run the risk of hitting into your freshly painted surface.
Removing the tape in a slow smooth fashion when the paint is almost dry, but still tacky, is the most common way of removal. If you remove while the paint is still wet you could have the paint bleed out of even drip. Likewise, if you leave it too long and the paint has dried, you may find it takes a lot of the paintwork with it and leaves messy chips of paint behind.
This is also true for wallpapering. Using a step ladder to reach the tops of your walls is highly recommend. Overstretching yourself can cause injury and you will unlikely get the smooth finish you really want.
There are a wide variety of step ladders out there! If you plan on using it a lot, we recommend using one that can be used in a variety of positions. These can be very handy for getting into difficult areas.
If you are a casual D.I.Y-er and don’t plan on redecorating your stairwell, you may opt to use a simple step. These are cheap and can be purchased in a wide variety of stores and online.
As we always say, preparation is key to a professional-looking finish.
If your walls have holes or bumps we highly recommend filling them in and smoothing them out. There are many types of fillers available – even quick dry one’s that will be ready for sanding in less than an hour (depending on conditions).
You will also need to check how big the holes are before purchasing fillers. You will find they will have a different formula depending on the size of the hole that needs to be filled.
Don’t forget your filling knife. This will ensure as smoother finish as possible so you will spend less time sanding once dry.
If your walls are a little bumpy or have had filler applied, you will then want to smooth it out before applying your paint.
You may think that the paint will be thick enough to cover these imperfections, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to still see them once you have got the paint on the wall.
We recommend using a few different types of grit sandpaper; 100-150. Start off at the lowest and then work your way up to a more coarse paper if necessary. The last thing you want is to sand too hard and end up with a hole again!
Using a paint conditioner can make painting a piece of cake!
We have two options of paint conditioners available; Easy Flow and Owatrol Oil. They improve the flow of the paint, easing application and eliminating brush and roller marks. As they improve the flow, they help when working in hot, cold or windy conditions. All while maintaining the inherent quality and characteristics of the paint!
Easy Flow is a paint conditioner to be used in water-based paints whereas Owatrol Oil is a paint conditioner to be used on Oil-based paints.
Simply add the necessary amount to your paint and apply it as normal!
These metal or plastic scrapers are used for removing the previous paper from the wall. It is usually used in conjunction with a wallpaper steam stripper or simply an application of warm water.
You can get these in a few sizes, so make sure you choose one that is suitable for your project.
If you are applying wallpaper rather than removing it, you will want a wallpaper pasting table. These are long, thin tables that make paste application a doddle.
They are usually wooden, although sometimes made of plastic. You can get them in a 2 or 3-way folding position and will fold down small with a handle on the side for easy transportation.
Application of wallpaper paste will be made a lot easier if you use a specific brush.
You will find the bristles are very different from other brushes. This is because the consistency of wallpaper paste is very different to paint and so picking up and depositing the paste will be a lot more difficult if you were to use a normal paintbrush.
We recommend having a bucket of clean water on stand by when wallpapering. It can come in handy when needing to clean up any spills quickly and efficiently.
You may need to use a wet but rung out, sponge to remove excess paste once the paper is applied to the wall. Not removing the paste will cause a shiny/white finish – something than can easily be avoided.
Small plastic wallpaper rollers are very handy for removing any bubbles or areas of excess paste.
Gently use the roller over the entire surface to ensure for a smooth and strong adhesion. Focus more on areas that have imperfections and work your way out from there. You can then use a large clean wallpaper brush to brush over the entire surface to make sure everything is smooth and as perfect as possible.
Although you can technically use any scissors, we recommend getting wallpaper specific scissors for cutting your paper. This is because they are very long (10-12 inches) allowing you to cut the paper in as few ‘cuts’ as possible.
You may also want to get some smaller scissors (4-5 inches) for cutting the paper around small fiddly areas such as plug sockets.
Having a very sharp knife in your kit is handy. One of the best uses for it is to cut the wallpaper when butting up against the next wall, ceiling or skirting board.
You will find that cutting length-ways down wallpaper with scissors isn’t easy! Plus, you will be hard-pressed to find a wall that is a perfect right angle all the way down. So sadly, all your hard work of perfectly cutting the paper using scissors will be for nothing.
Using a plumb bob and spirit level allows you to make sure you are hanging your wallpaper perfectly straight. Use the plumb bob and mark with a pencil to mark where the wall is straight. Then use your spirit level and pencil and draw a straight line down the entire wall. You can now follow this line with your paper so you know you are applying it perfectly straight.
If you are using a large patterned wallpaper, it is highly recommended that start from the center of the wall and work out. Small patterns or single-colored paper doesn’t usually require this so you can just work from one end of the wall to the other.
So there you have it. Our essential painting and decorating tool list!
If you have any other tips or advice, please feel free to share them in the comments below. We love hearing from you!