Decorating? It's all in the preparation.

Image Credit: Polish Straw Doll

Spring means different things to different people. 

In parts of Poland they chuck straw dolls into the river to symbolize the end of winter’s wrath. In Switzerland they burn winter at the stake in the shape of a snowman – known as the Boogg -  stuffed with explosives (don’t we all?).

And in India, Hindus celebrate Holi by hurling vivid coloured powders at each other to symbolize connecting with each other and letting go of past hardships.

Me?  I like to decorate. 

Nothing says fresh starts and renewal like a fresh new coat of paint or, better, a beautifully wallpapered wall.

But it’s come to my attention that many others who long for a lovelier home baulk at the perceived difficulty of decorating.  So I’m here to tell you how easy and satisfying it can be. 

It’s all in the preparation.

I think about the walls of the house being like my face. Bear with me on this, it’s not as silly as it sounds.

Decorating is not so different from putting your face on. 

We don’t need to be told to cleanse the skin thoroughly and regularly. We might need to pluck out the odd stray eyebrow or – heaven forfend – whisker before considering the actual makeup. 

We may need to exfoliate a little, treat the skin surface to a serum or a primer, apply some concealer over discolouration or minor eruptions.  By the time we get to the colour – foundation, blusher, eye shadow, lipstick – we already have a smooth, even, perfected surface. 

The makeup itself is then pure creative fun.

Of course when you’re young you usually don’t need much preparation because – unless the teenage acne fairy is visiting - your skin is already fine-pored and dewy.  A veil of tinted moisturizer and a slick of lip gloss may be all the young face needs. 

But older skins might need more by way of making ready. Some of us may even feel like ‘never mind primer, bring on the Polyfiller.’ Or I might just be remembering an old Les Dawson joke.

And so it is with walls.

For a beautiful finish we need strip off the old paper and paint, pluck out the nails and fixings, fill the holes left and smooth the rough plaster until the surface is even and featureless.  A newly minted, freshly plastered wall only needs to be thoroughly dried out before the decorating process can start. 

Just as both teenage and old age faces need moisturizer, new and old walls need sizing. 

Where moisturizer on a face sinks in and, well, moisturizes, size on a wall does the opposite and prevents wallpaper paste from sinking into the plaster and causing all sorts of trouble.

So with wall cleaned, exfoliated and (un)moisturized it’s just a question of primer before the colour can be layered on. 

In the world of walls the primer is the lining paper.

While you can leave out primer in your makeup routine, you really can’t in your wallpaper application.  You need it to smooth out any remaining imperfections in the wall, to prevent the wallpaper shrinking and leaving horrible gaps when you hang it, reduce the chance of stains or marks on the wall showing through and to create a barrier to any damp or mould that might arise.

You can choose from many grades of lining paper. 

I love a thickish liner which gives a wonderful final effect, and adds another layer of insulation.  But whatever you choose, make sure it’s not below grade 800. 

Then follow the instructions for hanging to the letter.

For some wallpapers you paste the paper, for others the walls.

There’s something pure and clean about a room newly-hung with lining paper.  I’ve been tempted to live with it for longer than strictly necessary just to enjoy that sense of unlimited potential before the wallpaper goes up!

But go up it does, and oh! the pleasure of seeing a familiar room emerge into its makeover. 

Wallpapering is an art that anyone can master if they take care, follow instructions and use the best quality they can afford. At PaperBoy we send detailed instructions with every roll, and if you take them to heart you too could be standing in a room like this:

PaperBoy Which Came First Dark Blue Wallpaper

 Image Credit: Which Came First wallpaper

Happy decorating (or snowman burning)

Victoria x

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