Mistakes to be avoided before painting your wall | homify
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Mistakes to be avoided before painting your wall

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Winchester Modern corridor, hallway & stairs by Studio Hooton Modern
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Painting walls is the easiest thing in the world, right? Wrong! Ask any painter and decorator and they'll tell you that countless people make huge mistakes when tackling this everyday home improvement project. 

Cutting corners, skipping on prep work and generally not thinking things through are all little issues that add up to a massive problem, especially when you stand back and hate your own handiwork. 

We want to help you avoid this sticky situation, so compiled a list of the most common painting mistakes to help you avoid making them yourself. Don't thank us, just pay attention and get your walls spot on!

1. Skipping the preparation stage

You absolutely cannot avoid preparing your walls for paint and still expect to get a great result. They need to be washed, dried and sometimes, depending on what's already there, stripped or keyed. 

Paint does not cover all sins so get rid of them before you start!

2. Not dealing with imperfect surfaces and holes

As well as washing your walls, you need to fill in any holes or cracks. You'll also need to sand your filler once it's dry to ensure a perfectly flat surface to paint on. 

With fresh material, you might also need to apply a coat of primer before your colour.

3. Trying to include too many textures and nuances

Modern walls & floors by Pintur Arte Modern

If you're not a professional, we suggest you stick to the basics. While you might fancy a stippled finish or something with some texture in your bathroom, unless you're a dab hand, you'll probably not end up with the look you wanted.

Worse still, you may even create extra work for any poor professional you hire to fix it and you know what that means… cha-ching!

4. Choosing boring colours

We've all been there. You think you're being sensible and sticking with neutrals, but are you actually playing it way too safe? Does a pale colour really work in that room? 

Don't go for 'boring' colours unless you know they'll come to life on your walls.

5. Not thinking about how colours will go together

Modern walls & floors by Grupo PZ Modern

At the other end of the paint spectrum are those of you that have a 'devil may care' attitude to colour selection. 

While we applaud your keenness to embrace interesting shades, it's always best to make sure they work together, or you may end up with a home that looks like the overly-colourful fruit and veg section at the supermarket!

6. Trying to be too creative

Watercolor Spots Colonial style living room by Pixers Colonial

Again, we don't want to put you off thinking outside the box, but stay inside it until you know you've come up with a truly good idea! 

Large murals with no real form aren't usually a great way to go for big expanses of wall, so reign it in a little and pop the paintbrush down for a moment.

7. Choosing hues that will quickly annoy you

A bold colour can be fun, but will you love it tomorrow? Next week? Next year?

If you don't want to be going through the rigmarole of painting again soon, ensure you trial a few swatches over a period of time before you commit to tangerine orange or neon pink!

8. Not using optical techniques correctly

If you want to give the impression of a larger, longer or taller room, there are methods for doing that with your paint scheme.

However, be sure to first research them carefully and have a trial run. The last thing you want to do is get it wrong and shrink the space instead.

9. Painting every wall the same colour

This goes doubly if you're using a bold colour somewhere: don't paint every wall the same colour. It sometimes pays to have a few neutral walls to break up a vivid colour.

Trust us, your eyes will need a break!

10. Adding bad graphics

Watercolor graphics Scandinavian style living room by Pixers Scandinavian

Bad graphics are a sure-fire way to ruin a well-painted wall that you've taken time and consideration over.

If you're going to follow all the steps correctly and then cover all your hard work with some dubious images, you should hold off and see how you like the wall without them first.

11. Not thinking about proportions

Modern walls & floors by homify Modern

If your walls are going to overshadow furniture and permanent fixtures, such as fireplaces, we suggest giving them a little more thought.

Extra mural details will compound this issue if you're not careful.

12. Going too dark too soon

Going over to the dark side is a bold move when it comes to paint because it's a scheme that's very hard to reverse if you don't like it. 

You can't simply paint over black in one swipe, so try to experiment with darker shades gradually and in small doses before you plump for a whole room.

13. Trying to bring back the sponge technique

It's not the 80s or 90s any more, so these 'funky' paint finishes you create with sponges and scrunched up plastic bags simply won't cut the mustard. 

They date a home, look terrible and are a nightmare to try and do so please save yourself the bother!

14. Trying to tell a story

Wall paint design Asian style walls & floors by homify Asian

In a kid's room, a fun paint scheme that has characters and a story are really cute, but not in a grownup living space! Leave novelty paint ideas at the door and focus on timeless styles that will look great for years to come.

For more painting advice, take a look at this Ideabook: How to paint your house like a pro (and not die trying).

Which of these painting sins will you admit to?
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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