Because of the fabulous weather, I’ve not managed to get as much decorating done in the boys’ bedroom as I had hoped; it’s just too hot, but I’m not complaining! It’s lovely to have some decent weather at long last.
When I was getting ready to begin in the boys room, I was contacted by the company Harris, who make decorating products. They wondered if I’d like to try out a decorating kit – talk about good timing…
This is the great bundle of goodies they kindly sent me; everything I needed and more to get busy on the room.
In the past, we’ve tended to buy cheap and cheerful brushes and equipment, that don’t usually last too long, so it was exciting to know I’d got some quality tools to work with this time. Harris brushes have a good reputation, so I was looking forward to putting everything to the test.
The advice when decorating a room seems to be to work from the top down, so first of all I needed to tackle that water-stained ceiling. Now, there are products that are designed to cover up stains before you emulsion over them and I was planning to buy one of them, but then I read online that using gloss paint should also work just as well. Since I already had some gloss, I thought I’d give it a try.
After a coat of gloss white
Once the gloss had fully dried we painted over it with white emulsion and it seems fine – so far.
Next I painted the picture rail and door frame white – well half of it anyway, until I discovered a forgotten pot of very light blue wood and metal paint, unopened, which made me wonder about using that instead, for a contrast to the white walls I was planning to paint.
However, I decided just to try it on the radiator and keep the picture rail, skirting board and door frames white.
Because I have no clue if our old house has any lead paint within the existing layers on all the woodwork, I just painted over it all without sanding – just to be on the safe side. (Sanding old paint that contains lead disturbs the particles, which you can breathe in – it is especially toxic for young children and pregnant women, by the way.)
I used a non drip, one coat satin paint on the woodwork, using the smaller Harris gel brush, which I found comfortable to handle and slim enough for the size of the picture rail. The synthetic bristles were supple and pliable, so the paint went on the rounded shape easily.
When it came to putting emulsion on the walls, I was looking forward to trying out the roller and tray.
We have used them in the past, but tended to revert back to brushes, since rollers always seemed to splatter a lot of paint and cleaning a roller and tray felt more arduous. However, wielding a large paintbrush really make my hand ache when painting a big area and of course they also leave very visible brush marks.
For me, the roller turned out to be brilliant; it gave speedy coverage and was comfortable to hold. It also didn’t seem to splatter back at me at all. In fact, the only problem I had was with the emulsion paint I’d bought, because I’d gone with a value brand – which would be fine if painting over a light colour, but I should have thought about how effective it would be going over a strong mustard yellow. It certainly didn’t cut the mustard. I did two coats of white and it still looks a bit patchy, so I think a third is necessary.
As for cleaning the roller, when you finish using this particular Harris microfibre roller, there is a gadget called the ‘tight squeeze’ roller cleaner which squeezes off the excess paint. The technique is simple enough, you push it on the end of the roller and move it down, twisting it round as you go and loads of paint came off. I found it quite hard to do as it is a really snug fit, but of course that is the point to ensure the maximum about of paint is squeezed off. Once I did it again with the tap flowing it was much easier and less messy and did a great job at cleaning all the paint off. It left the roller fluffy and half dry, as it squeezed out so much moisture.
The middle sized gel brush came in very handy for ‘cutting in’ at the corners of the room and around the light switch – this is something I’ve always struggled to do well, but these brushes are designed for it and I think I got a pretty good result without my hand cramping up or making any mistakes.
Also, the mini rollers are brilliant for getting behind the radiator and on narrow bits of wall – I can’t believe I’ve struggled in the past with a brush, knocking my knuckles repeatedly against the radiator in the process – never again!
When the paint went on the walls with the rollers, at first it looked ‘textured’, but it dried perfectly smooth and the big revelation for me – no brush marks, making the finish look so much more professional.
So, although I’m only part way through, here is a little before and after so far…
The blue wall is now actually grey, although it looks similar in the photo – it is much more muted now.
The light was fading fast when I took the after shots, but it gives you an idea. I’m enjoying this project and looking forward to making the room lovely for our boys – I’ve got a few ‘embellishments’ in mind.
I have to say that having the right tools definitely makes the job easier. The fact that the gel brushes hardly shed any bristles, except for the odd one, has made me realise that quality definitely counts, so I’d like to thank Harris for supplying my decorating kit – I’ll be taking good care of it so I can use it again and again on all the other decorating projects I’ve got planned after this one!