Preparation is key to a great finish when decorating

While it can be tempting to get painting as soon as possible when you want to decorate a room, it’s worth taking the time to make sure your room and surfaces are best prepared before you begin. Getting the preparation right is crucial to achieving the perfect finish. It’ll also help to keep things neater and cleaner, and reduce the need for additional coats of paint. No paint can completely cover dirty or uneven surfaces, so tackling this at the start of the project avoids the need for extra work later on.

In this guide we’ll walk you through the most important steps to take, and show you how to;

  • Empty your room ready for decorating, and protect fixtures and fittings you aren’t painting
  • Clean your walls to help paint adhere
  • Fill holes and cracks and smooth your walls for the best possible finish
  • Prime stained surfaces or those which have not been painted before

Once you’ve completed these tasks you should have a smooth, even surface ready to be painted.

Tools & materials required

 expanded,You will need


  • Sugar soap
  • Filler
  • 80 grit sandpaper, also know as medium sandpaper – choose one that indicates suitability for plastered surfaces on the packaging
  • Basecoat – if your walls have a stained or damaged surface
  • Plaster sealant – if your walls have been freshly plastered
  • Masking tape
  • Retractable knife


  • Dust sheets – choose polythene dust sheets if you want to protect carpets and upholstered furniture such as sofas from paint splatters. Heavyweight cotton dust sheets are reusable and a good alternative for protecting wooden and tiled floors
  • Dusters
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Filling knife or scraper
  • Small paint brush – to dampen any cracks in the surface of the wall before filling
  • Sanding block
  • Vacuum cleaner

Safety kit

  • Rubber gloves
  • Dust mask – to wear whilst sanding

White wall with wooden shelf

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