One of the easiest ways to breathe new life into your home is to repaint the interior walls.
But something so simple can seem daunting when you go into a DIY store and see the vast array of paints available.
Emulsions are designed for walls, but some paints can be used on multiple surfaces, giving you even more choice.
A wall colour you don’t like is hard to live with and, as there are so many different colours and finishes to choose from, it’s important to try the paint first, preferably applying some to all four walls so you get the full effect and can see the colour at different times of the day.
Printed colour charts aren’t accurate, so don’t rely on them, and the same is true of paint colours viewed online.
If you can’t find the perfect colour in the off-the-shelf ranges, try those available from in-store paint-mixing machines, where there are thousands of choices. Again, get a tester first to be sure of the colour.
Sometimes, only a specialist paint will do.
For kitchens and bathrooms, it pays to use kitchen and bathroom emulsion because, depending on the range, it’s wipeable and steam, stain and mould resistant.
These paints used to have a sheen, but now you can also get matt ones, which have a nicer finish – Crown Paints’ kitchen and bathroom range includes some lovely colours in matt.
Other specialist paints for walls are available including ultra-tough ones for rooms that take a lot of punishment, such as halls and playrooms, and chalkboard, metallic, textured and feature-wall paints.
For dark rooms, try Dulux’s Light & Space range, which is designed to reflect twice as much light as conventional emulsions for a lighter and brighter feel.
Once you’ve found a paint you like, the next problem is how much to buy.
The paint tin will have information on coverage, but it won’t necessarily be accurate.
You can use an online paint calculator to work out how much paint you need for a room – these calculators take into account things like the size of the walls, windows and doors – but the amount will also depend on the paint and the state of the walls.
More paint is needed to cover textured wallpaper and lumpy and bumpy walls than smooth, perfect ones.
Newly plastered walls are also very absorbent – always seal them first with plaster-sealing liquid or watered-down emulsion.
If you’re painting over dark-coloured walls with a pale colour, you’ll save time and effort by applying a basecoat emulsion first, which should cover most of the original colour so you don’t have to do endless coats of topcoat.
Some basecoat emulsions cover hairline cracks, patchiness and stains, making them a good buy.
It’s obviously better to have too much paint than not enough - most DIY stores will refund unused tins, although usually not from paint-mixing machines (unless faulty).
Sometimes the same colour can change slightly between batches of paint, especially with paints that use natural pigments, so not buying enough in the first place can be a DIY disaster in the making.