We are often so eager to enjoy the end result of a newly painted wall or table that we want to take shortcuts.

Practice some patience and avoid these painting pitfalls. It will pay off on the long run. 

1. Not painting colour samples

The first major mistake is choosing the wrong colour or shade of colour. Even experienced decorators choose a few colours and shades and paint samples, because what you see in the shop on a tiny swatch, is not what it will look like in your home.

Colours are deceiving and are influenced by light and by the colour of flooring and other décor items in a room.

So it is important to paint the samples in the room that you want to paint. Look at the paint samples in natural light and at night time before deciding. Most paint brands now have 250ml sample colours. Choose 3 – 7 options. 

2. Painting an unprepared surface

Make sure your walls are dust and grease free before painting, by dusting or even better, washing it. Sugar soap works well to remove invisible dirt and grease. If a surface is raw, first paint a primer, to ensure that the paint won’t peel or flake.

Choose the right primer for the surface – whether for wood, plaster or steel.

3. Using the wrong paint for the surface

It is always worth spending a little extra when buying paint. Choose a well-known brand and go for a washable water-based paint for interior and exterior walls.

If you want to change from enamel to water-based paint, you first have to prime the surface again. 

4. Water down the paint

Never water the paint down, unless you want a see-through washed effect.

Read more: Let the entrance to your home make a lasting impression

5. Not using masking tape

You might think you’ll save time or that you have a steady hand, but for a neat paint job, use masking tape for straight lines. 

6. Not covering light switches, handles and light fittings

It is less work covering fittings with masking tape or unscrewing handles, than trying to get paint off afterwards. 

7. Not using a drop sheet

No matter how neat you think you are when painting, inevitably a drop or more will spill on the floor. Buy a drop sheet that you can use again, or use garbage bags or newspaper.

Trying to get paint out of a carpet is a frustration. If you do spill, wash it immediately before the paint dries. 

8. Painting the ceiling last

Gravity is against you when painting a ceiling, paint will drip onto the floor and walls, so make sure the floor and all furniture is covered.

Painting the ceiling before you paint the walls is the headache free way to do it.