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  • Writer's picturevicky

Tips and trends from a Painter and Decorator

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

This week I got a chance to chat with Claire Ewers the owner of Appleby Interiors based in Oxfordshire. Claire is an experienced painter and decorator with a City and Guilds Craft and Advanced Craft Certification winning several awards during her study time. Claire is a full-time painter and decorator focusing on the interior of homes.

So, let’s get into the questions.

What do you love most about painting and decorating?

I thrive on the challenge of an awkward space and getting the finish spot on. I completed a stripe wallpaper in an old cottage where the walls were not only curved, but in rough shape. Part of the challenge was not only preparing the surface but getting a stripe paper to sit nicely on a curved wall.

Do you offer any specialised services?

As well as general painting and decorating I also trained in specialist finishes – graining, marbling, sign writing and guilding.

One of the most memorable jobs that I was involved with was at the Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, where major refurbishment works were taking place by a team of specialist painters.

What percentage of time should be spent on the preparation versus the final finishes?

Prep versus final finishes really follows the 80 | 20 rule. With 80% of the time spent on getting walls, ceilings and woodwork ready for those final finishes. If you want the finish to last and look good its vital to spend the time preparing the areas to be decorated. Clients often feel frustrated that the preparation stage is taking too long, and they just want to see the finished result.

When wallpapering I often 'cross line' the walls with means putting a lining coat of paper running across the wall, instead of straight up and down, to ensure a smooth finish to the paper.

What is your preferred paint brand?

Little Greene is good quality paint with a great colour palette selection. You can order colour cards online as well as sample pots to try out colours in your home before making a final choice.

Little Greene has an ‘Intelligent’ paint finish which is water-based paint and suitable for all floors and interior woodwork. It is easy to apply, low odour and dries within four hours but more importantly its durable and washable.

What is the best option to cover uneven walls?

Fill and sand as best you can.

If going for wallpaper then opt for a busy pattern that detracts the eye, and if you can cross line the paper to then have a more even surface to lay on.

With paint go for a matt finish, or a low sheen rating.

What are your top tips for hanging wallpaper?

1) Always check the batch number on rolls are the same. This means that the paper is printed on the same print run and there should not be any variation in colour. If you do happen to buy end of line rolls with different batch numbers, then plan the room papering carefully so that you use different batch numbers on opposite walls.

2) Always look at the pattern before you start cutting. Be sure that you are not cutting through a key part of the pattern at the top of the wall. There is nothing worse than seeing an animal cut through the middle at the top of the wall.

3) Not all wallpaper is rolled in the direction of the fitting. Check the wallpaper roll is rolled in the right direction. I have seen many papers hung upside down which is usually because the roll has been rolled in the wrong direction.

4) Plan, plan, plan – assess what the pattern will be at the top of the wall. Layout 2-3 pieces and look at how the pattern will fall.

Which room(s) have been the most popular for redecoration in the last 6 months?

As families are spending more time at home the living room has been popular for redecoration. Whether it’s a feature wall or a full room. Clients have been looking for a change of scenery.

The hall, stairs and landing are areas that I get asked a lot to decorate as these are trickier with different heights and awkward ceilings. Its also usually the last part of a home to be redecorated.

Which trends are you seeing clients follow?

Wallpaper is back in either full rooms or as feature walls. Clients are being braver with choices and going for quirkier papers.

With so much sharing on social media of homes patterned or decorated walls have become the norm.

From left to right:

We finished with a five-question quick fire round.

Wallpaper or paint?

Wallpaper – I love the challenge of getting the pattern and overall effect right

Magnolia or white?

White every time

Preparation or Final Finishes?

Preparation – I get the most satisfaction from spending the time ensuring surfaces are ready for their final covering.

Wallpaper paste on the wall or paper?

On the wall. I wasn’t sure about pasting the wall when it first became an option, but it is so much easier and reduces the mess on your pasting table.

Wallpaper Patters – floral or geometric?

Floral – my favourite wallpapers are from William Morris and Sandersons.

A huge thanks to Claire for giving up her time for the second post this Ask an Expert series. If you are thinking about a taking on a painting and decorating job at home please contact Claire here.

You can also follow Claire on both Instagram and Facebook, search @applebyinteriors (FB) and @appleby_interiors (Instagram)

What’s Next

If you are based in Essex and looking for a lcoal painter and decorator to complete a project in your home then drop me a message. I'm always happy to recommend the local trades that I have worked with. Drop me an email to with your location details, and a brief overview of your project and I'll get in touch.

If there are any topics that you’d love me to cover with an expert either drop me a comment below or fill out my contact from here.

If you'd like to read more blog in this series click here.

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