How To Give your Rooms the Wow Factor

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Get to grips with basic DIY skills, such as painting woodwork, to save a fortune on property maintenance costs

Preparing a property for sale can not only speed up the time it takes to receive a good offer but can mean it will sell for more than you expected.

But this can take a little time and effort, says Belgravia estate agent Best Gapp. However, it does not mean spending big money if you get to grips with some DIY skills.

And if you are one of the growing number of savvy homebuyers who can see past dated decoration and buy a property because of its size, location and potential for improvement, carrying out work around the home can be even more profitable.

British households waste £140m each year on calling out the professionals to carry out tasks such as changing a light bulb or retrieving lost rings and watches out of drains, the RatedPeople website reports.

That’s not to mention the money spent hiring painters and decorators over the 20.7 years the average Londoner waits before moving home.

That figure rises to 28.9 years in Liverpool, according to Hometrack, meaning residents of The Beatles’ home city could save even more money.

The first stage of redecorating a room is very often sanding and painting its woodwork. DIY experts advise this should always be done before attempting to hang new wallpaper because the dust created can ruin any wall coverings.

How to sand and paint woodwork

First, use soapy water to wash the old paintwork and clean away any grease or dirt. Next, brush wood filler over the surface to repair any cracks and holes in the wood.

Use an electric sander – or sanding belts and sheets – to remove the flaking paint and ensure the exposed surface is smooth.

Although sanding can be a therapeutic process, take care to lay out some plastic sheeting to collect the shavings.

Before applying a quick-drying wood primer, clean away any sanding dust with a cloth soaked in white spirit. This task can fill a room with a pungent aroma, so it is best to open all the windows before starting, advises property management specialist Assetgrove.

After the primer dries, painting can begin. For the best results, cover the areas you don’t want to paint with making tape and apply two coats of paint.

Once your woodwork looks good, it’s time to turn your attention to the room’s walls.

Estate agent Eden Harper advises most viewers prefer rooms to be decorated in light, neutral tones because they can make a room appear bigger. However, a well-planned colour scheme is always better than a room that has last seen a paintbrush before England hosted the 1996 European Football Championships.

How to hang wallpaper

To ensure your new wallpaper looks as good as the picture in the sales brochure, first make sure your walls are prepared and primed by removing any remaining old wallpaper that’s still stuck on. 

Next, cut sufficient lengths of paper to complete the first wall, allowing a minimum border of 10cm for trimming.

Spread some wallpaper paste into the centre of the first sheet and work it outwards to the edges.

Lightly press the top of the first length against the wall, with a 5cm overlap at the top. Next, use a smoothing brush to get rid of any air bubbles that may have appeared.

To trim the top and bottom of the length, crease the paper into the skirting/ceiling with the back of a pair of large, sharp scissors and then cut along the crease.

Hang the next length in the same way, butting the edge neatly against the first piece. Repeat the process for each length, ensuring that the edges meet exactly and the pattern is matched.