Living room by vanHenry interiors & colours

The 42 best decorating tips of all time (part one)

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton

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It's that time of year again! Winter, we mean, when you find yourself with less inclination to brave the cold weather in favour of staying indoors and cracking on with some re-decorating. With that being the case, we have some amazing tips for you!

Let's be honest and admit that even with the best will in the world, decorating a home can get a little messy and disorganised, but it doesn't have to be that way if you follow our advice.

We've looked at what professional decorators do to minimise the hassle of completing projects and clearing up, and now we're bringing them direct to you over two parts. 

Don't forget to check back in tomorrow for the second half!

1. Grab the talc

Before you re-stain any floorboards, grab some talc and sprinkle it on squeaky boards. Silence is golden!

2. Don't wash your brushes too often

They don't need washing after every coat of paint so chill out, wrap them tightly in a plastic bag and they'll be ready to use when you need them.

3. Tease a thread

Quantock Linen:  Living room by Fermoie LLP
Fermoie LLP

Quantock Linen

Fermoie LLP

If you fancy making some new curtains, make the cutting part easy by pulling a horizontal thread in your material to give you a straight edge to work to.

5. Grab the baby oil too

While you're in the bathroom getting the talc, also grab some baby oil because after a messy upcycling project is completed, it will slide excess paint off your skin with ease.

5. Fragrance your tools

Vanilla Large Scented Candle (Case 4):  Bars & clubs by The Covent Garden Candle Company
The Covent Garden Candle Company

Vanilla Large Scented Candle (Case 4)

The Covent Garden Candle Company

No, we're not going mad. If you add a few drops of vanilla essence to your paint, the fumes will be far more bearable. Try it, you'll be shocked!

6. Thread the needle

Wooden sewing box:  Household by The OK Corral
The OK Corral

Wooden sewing box

The OK Corral

Before you sit down to do some sewing, grab some hairspray. Give your thread a quick spritz, let it dry, then it will glide through your needle.

7. Tackle paint spillages

Don't cry over spilt paint. Instead, soften it with some linseed oil, then gently scrape it off. Easy!

8. Don't be afraid to get sticky

Boulevard, Chigwell:  Living room by Boscolo

Boulevard, Chigwell


When you finally remember you keep meaning to grab a rug gripper so you can lay a fresh textural delight, don't spend more than you have to… use double-sided tape.

9. Pop the kettle on

Need to cut some delicate fabric? If you're making new textiles for your home, boil some water, dip your scissor blades in for a few seconds and then cut. 

It'll be much smoother and you'll have less wastage.

10. Don't forget to floss

 Bathroom by e15



If you fancy changing up your bathroom taps but find you have a drip afterwards, tie some dental floss around the faucet and lay it down into the plughole. 

You won't get annoyed by a dripping sound while you figure out what the issue is!

11. Catch the drips

 Kitchen by MIRADA



If you have some paper plates, or even old chipped plates laying around, use them to stand your paint cans on. You'll be delighted with how much clean up time this saves you.

12. Make a brew

Antique Reclaimed Pine T&G Floorboards:  Bathroom by UK Architectural Antiques
UK Architectural Antiques

Antique Reclaimed Pine T&G Floorboards

UK Architectural Antiques

For any dark wood items that have scratches ruining their appearance, make up some strong coffee and gently wipe it into the scuffs. They'll disappear like magic!

13. Polish to perfection

Reeded Key Hole Escutcheon Cover:  Household by UK Architectural Antiques
UK Architectural Antiques

Reeded Key Hole Escutcheon Cover

UK Architectural Antiques

Grab your nail polish, but don't sit down to give yourself a mani/pedi just yet. Apply clear nail polish to screw heads to make sure they never come loose. 

14. Get a hole in one

 Household by Studio IGI
Studio IGI

The Moment[Golf]

Studio IGI

Do you play golf? Then you must have some super handy wooden gold tees kicking around somewhere. They're perfect for pressing into holes in your woodwork, cutting off flush and painting over.

15. Waste not, want not

Hand Woven Towels:  Household by Rural Retro
Rural Retro

Hand Woven Towels

Rural Retro

Grab any leftover plumbing sundries you have and make a pretty towel rail. We think cheap copper pipe and fittings look super!

16. Easy to find

RECLAIMED FRENCH OAK KEY HOLDER WITH SOLID BRASS KEY FOBS:  Corridor, hallway & stairs by Jam Furniture
Jam Furniture


Jam Furniture

Add some practicality to your hallway with a simple key hook… but go the extra mile.

While you're tackling this project, notch a little cut-out into the key you use the most so you'll be able to locate it in your pocket in lightning quick time!

17. Get flexible

If you have any copper wire laying around, take some inspiration from this super light. Wrap it around a torch and create a little stand so you can have light even in the most awkward of places, such as under the sink!

18. Make some noise

Kilner Drinking Jar Glasses Set Of 4 Clear 540ml:  Kitchen by NuCasa

Kilner Drinking Jar Glasses Set Of 4 Clear 540ml


It can be tricky if you want to enjoy some loud music whilst decorating as you don't want to get paint on your stereo. So, use Kilner jars or glasses as a handy amplifier for your phone instead.

19. Punch a hole

To prevent too much paint wastage, drill holes around the lip of your tins so excess paint can drain back in.

20. Repair, don't replace

Garden Tools:   by Objects of Use
Objects of Use

Garden Tools

Objects of Use

While you're decorating, you might notice certain tools need new handles. Rather than throwing them out and buying new ones, set yourself a little repair project. 

It'll be fun and rewarding!

21. Creativity wins!

Veranda Oven Glove- Mint:  Kitchen by Castara Designs Ltd
Castara Designs Ltd

Veranda Oven Glove- Mint

Castara Designs Ltd

If you have an old oven or gardening glove hanging around, don't just throw it away as it can be a really handy tool belt! Simply thread onto a belt, cut holes in the tip and poke tools through.

Come back tomorrow to discover lots of great extra tips! Until then, take a look at this Ideabook: 20 cheap and easy garden DIY projects you can manage.

Which was your favourite clever decorating trick?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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