The top three decoration tips

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After people move into a new home, many are keen to put their own stamp on it. Here are some simple yet effective decorating techniques that can be done at almost any time and ensure those little jobs you keep putting off does not become a huge list of tasks.

Picture and mirror hanging

While almost anyone can hammer a nail into a wall, hanging heavy pictures and mirrors requires a greater deal of care. Firstly, consider the type of wall you are locating the picture or mirror on; is it an exterior wall? In which case, you will need a drill and some plugs. Is it an interior wall? Then you need to establish how solid the wall is, as it may not be suitable for certain items to be hung on.

Next, careful measurement is required. Generally, the 57-inch centre rule tends to work. Ensure the centre of the mirror, painting, photo or canvas is 57 inches (145cm) from the floor. Once this is established, place a small pencil mark on the wall, then turn over the object that will be placed on it and mark the exact centre. You can then calculate exactly where the nails or screws will need to be on the wall by measuring the distance on the back of the object to the hanging holes. All that is left to do is take out your drill set and complete the job.

Painting

Think painting is easy? Think again. While buying a brand new home will likely mean your interior walls are crisp and clear, there will come a time when you fancy a change. Choosing the colour is the first task you will have; next you will need to decide on the type of paint; matt will offer little reflection and soak up light, while silk will be more reflective and could help to brighten the room, though the latter may be excessive if the room is populated by bright colours.

Next comes the application. If you are painting a large wall, a roller is perfect for the majority of the task, but you will need a much finer brush to ensure you do not overlap the edges onto other walls, the floor, or the ceiling. Placing masking tape around the perimeter is also advisable. Avoid simply tracing the outline of the wall as this will leave brush strokes that are visible. Instead, aim to ’feather’ the edges by lightly placing the bristles against the edge of the wall then gently flicking the strokes inwards. When the roller comes close to the edge of the wall, it will fill then in the gaps and leave a seamless continuation and stunning wall.

Wallpapering

Some homeowners shy away when the word wallpaper is mentioned, and although it is not the easiest task in the world, there are ways to hang wallpaper that can add a feature to your wall or transform the appearance of the whole room.

First decide whether to paper the whole room or just one wall and choose the wallpaper itself. Always start in the centre of a wall so that the edges will meet in an inconspicuous place. Cut the first length of wallpaper so it overlaps the ceiling and skirting board by at least 5cm at each end, but remember that all subsequent lengths must be cut to allow for the pattern to repeat. If the pattern is 30cm long, this will mean that any length of paper that is cut will need to be the height of the wall, plus an additional 30cm, so it can be seamlessly matched up. Hang all the full-width pieces before measuring the width of the spaces left at either side of the wall. Cut these final pieces to size, allowing an additional few centimetres for fitting and trimming.

Always keep an eye out for bubbles, which will need to be smoothed out as you add each individual strip, and also be prepared to paper around features such as light switches. In this case, place the unpasted strip in situ on the wall, over the light switch, and make a hole in the centre of the switch. Then cut four small diagonal strips outward from the hole. Paste the paper as normal, then trim to the exact specification once it is in place to create a seamless fitting that looks like an expert has done it.