I am so excited to share this post with you. You asked questions and I got Phil the founder of Paint The Town Green to answer them. I am inspired and I know you will be too so carry on reading to find out some great tips, including how paint your front door without it sticking to the frame, how to renovate your old fireplace and how to make a room look bigger. First of all I must explain to you why I wanted to interview Phil over any other decorating expert and that is because he has created an incredible business called Paint The Town Green which is a one stop shop for everything home decorating. Paint The Town Green are a decorating company that have a team of amazing talented decorators. They also have their own range of eco friendly, water based paints (this means we don’t have to pollute our waters with solvents when we wash our brushes) that don’t make your house smell. On top of all this, they can source furniture and interior decoration for you and advise you on everything to do with interiors. Half way through our house decorating the PTTG team knew we were painting the door in a few days time so brought to our house colour charts and discussed which colours would work (we went with pink because of the Peridot colour we had chosen for the dining room which you see as your open the front door-pictures further down) and then hand delivered the paint we chose in time for the decorator to start the door. The biggest worry I had before decorating my house was making decisions on paint colours. So, I popped into PTTG gorgeous offices in London and had all the help I could ask for and it was great to see the colours in person and a lot of what I chose in the end were painted on walls or furniture of their office. Anyway, here are the questions you asked and the answers by the fabulous Phil.
Just for reference:
Our paint was gifted.
The colours we chose were:
WALLS: Private Universe
CEILINGS: Dream On
DINING ROOM RECESS: Peridot
LIVING ROOM RECESS: Night Swimming
If you want to order a colour card you can over here.
Is it possible to live in your house and still have someone decorate it? Or is it too smelly and messy?
Yes absolutely. If you engage a considerate decorator, the communication is good and thought goes into the products you use this shouldn’t be a problem. At PTTG we have a pre-start meeting with our clients to go through things like sleeping and eating logistics (for our clients, not our team!) to minimise disruption and maximise peace of mind during the work. As all our paints have no toxic fumes there is no paint smell to worry about.
How do I “cut in” in a professional way?
Use a good brush and go one or two mm short of the line you are cutting to on the first coat. You can then use the second coat to level things up as necessary. Much easier to rectify if you are a tiny bit short that if you have gone over. If you go too far you then find yourself going backwards and forwards with the different colours and get in a bit of a tangle!
Also, don’t try to get into little tight spaces with a big brush thinking this will be quicker. As you make your way around the room, leave any tricky bits, make a mental note of where they are and come back to do them with a smaller brush at the end. This is much more time efficient than making a mess and having to tidy it up afterwards.
What do you think about the copying of colours of premium paints?
How long have I got?! It all depends on whether it’s the colour you love or the paint quality. We like to think that not only do we have great colours but there are also genuine benefits to using our paint. Not just because it’s great to work with, has a lovely finish and covers really well, but also because it’s all water based so there is no need for white spirit and it has no toxic fumes.
I want to paint my front door but will the paint be too thick and it not shut if I don’t sand it down first?
It all depends on how tightly your door currently fits your frame. You should always sand down a door before painting anyway as it gets rid of any existing lumps and bumps and roughens up the surface so the new paint sticks to it.
Top Tip– if you are worried that the door is touching the inside of the frame when closed and that this may make the doors stick, but a little bit of Vaseline around the frame (on dry paint). This will prevent the new paint on the door from sticking to the frame and tearing when the door is next opened.
I have a cast iron fireplace with a wooden mantlepiece. It has been stripped and I want to paint it. What’s the best paint to use so it all looks the same?
I would use a water based eggshell on the mantlepiece and the same on the cast iron fireplace if you would like them to look the same. The key to a successful result will be the use of correct primers before the top coats are applied. You may well need to use a metal primer on the fireplace before applying eggshell. Alternatively if you wanted the cast iron section in black you could use Hammerite railing paint which is self-priming so you can go straight on with it.
I want to paint my radiator but haven’t a clue where to start. What paint do I need that is heat resistant? Do I gloss it? Do I strip it first?
As with the cast iron fireplace it’s all about using the correct primer. If it’s already been painted, as long as the paint is sound you should be ok to use a primer (like the Grepp primer we sell) and then apply eggshell.
Top Tip– Make sure the radiator is off before you paint it. Otherwise the heat will make the paint behave like chewing gum after a few seconds and it will be impossible to apply.
How do I go about putting in a dado rail? Should you paint the dado the same colour as the skirting?
Dado rails should ideally be screwed and glued. Be sure to check for any cables or pipes in the wall before you do any drilling. The screw holes should then be filled and sanded before painting. Yes, I would recommend painting the dado the same colour as the skirting so it is picked out and punctuates the wall but different designers have different views on this.
My living room is small, do you have any tips on making it look bigger with paint? Do I have to paint it completely white?
A couple of little tricks that can be used for this: One is to paint the backs of shelves or the recesses the other side of chimney breasts a darker colour. This gives the impression of depth, suggesting the areas goes back further than it intact does.
Another useful little trick is to utilise a picture rail to create a desired impression. If you continue the ceiling colour down to the picture rail (ie. painting the top section of wall above the picture rail, sometimes referred to as the frieze when these are decorative in larger buildings) this creates the illusion of a larger ceiling and in doing so suggests a larger room. By the same token, if you continue the wall colour up above the picture rail all the way to the ceiling, it make the room feel higher.
When I was painting my wall it starting flaking and looked bubbly, what does this mean and how do I fix it?
It could mean a number of things, unfortunately none of them are particularly good news! Most likely it means that when the walls were bare plaster they weren’t “mist coated” before the paint was applied. Mist coating is when you use watered down paint (approx. 80% paint 20% water) to reduce the absorbency from the plaster. Otherwise the moisture from the undiluted paint is sucked out of it, causing it to dry too quickly and not adhere properly to the wall.
Another possibility is that water is getting into the wall somewhere behind the paint, making it damp and causing the paint the flake. If this is the case you’ll need to work out where it’s coming from (usually either a plumbing or a roofing issue) and fix the problem.
In both situations you need to remove all the loose or flaking paint. If the plaster underneath is one colour (pink) then mist coat the area and paint. If it’s dis-coloured (i.e there was a damp problem) once it’s dried out, apply a stain block product and then paint.
Is there a way I can paint my shiny wooded Ikea furniture to make it look better?
Yes, but the correct primer is essential or the paint won’t stick and will eventually peel. I would recommend our Grepp primer and then two coats of eggshell
I have an old school desk that I want to paint but the wood is buckling. Is it beyond help or is there something I can do?
f you are happy with the shape of the desk but there are just a few cracks that’s fine. You can use a flexible filler (also called painter’s mate or caulk) to fill the gaps before painting. Again, be sure to use the correct primer before applying eggshell.
What’s the best type of paint or finish for when you have children?
Always use water based to minimise any fumes. I would recommend using PTTG wipeable emulsion in areas of high traffic or that are likely to have sticky hand marks on them. Our wipeable finish means that you can take a damp cloth to the wall and wipe it clean without the paint coming off on the cloth.
Is there a wipe clean paint you can use instead of a splash back?
Yes absolutely. Our wipeable emulsion would be suitable for this. I did this at our previous house, always meaning to get a splash back fitted but in the end spent 10 years with a painted splash back! Every week or two we would just wipe it down the same way you would tiles, glass or metal. It came up good as new every time!
Why has the gloss on my skirting boards gone yellow?
This is because you have an oil (solvent) based paint on there. Over time, the paint reacts with the oxygen in the air making it turn yellow This can be avoided by using a water based product next time you decorate. Much less fumes (none if you use PTTG eggshell) and it won’t turn yellow.
I want some colour in my house but I am too scared to go overboard, how could I just add a little bit?
Try adding some strategically selected feature walls or areas such as the back of shelving units. This can add depth to a room as well as a splash of colour without being over- powering.
I have dark wood, bleached wood and marble in my house. It’s a bit hotchpotch. What colour would you recommend I paint my walls?
If you already have a medley of colour going on I would choose something subtle for the walls. Look for a starting point to set you in the right direction. It’s very hard to match anything to timber but marble you can. See if you identify a hue in the marble that you can match a subtle paint colour too. Maybe it’s a cream, a pale grey or even a very pale pink?
I want to paint my stairs and have a runner. Please help? I have no idea what to do.
Choose your runner carpet, get it priced up and up order. Once you have the delivery date confirmed remove the existing carpet and start preparing the stairs. (otherwise you may find yourself without a stair carpet for 2 months as these are almost always made to order so can take a long time to be delivered and fitted). Check the width of your carpet runner, subtract around 15cm from this and then mark it out on the stairs. (this will endure you paint enough, you want your painted edges to run under the carpet, not stop short! Then prepare the edges, filling and nail holes etc., prime and paint with two or three coats of eggshell. I would recommend matching the colour to the rest of the woodwork in the stairwell but you can match it to the carpet if you prefer. As the edges are unlikely to be walked on you don’t need to use floor paint, eggshell should be fine.
Should I use a paint brush or roller on my walls and ceiling?
Our team use a combination of the two. A brush for the edges (cutting in) and a roller for the big open areas.
How do I get rid of paint brush strokes on my walls?
You need to sand them down before you paint. Using a good brush and working the paint thoroughly (i.e not having big build ups) will help prevent them when you are painting.
I have dented my wall when moving furniture how do I touch up the paint work I had done last year without having to paint the whole wall?
Very tricky. If you still have the original paint it will make it more likely that touch ups will be invisible. However, ultimately it will come down to how well the area is lit. We advise clients that touch ups rarely work and they may well need us to paint from corner to corner to do a blemish- free repair.
I hope you have enjoyed this interview and I am sure you have learnt a lot, I definitely have. For decorating inspiration make sure you follow Paint The Town Green on Instagram (see if you can spy our house over on their feed too) and if you are interested in getting a quote for them to decorate your house do get in touch with them here, I highly recommend it.