4 smart ways to update a room by changing the colour

Sometimes a new colour or wall design is the best way to spruce up a room. Before you get started, here are some tips that will make the job much easier.

Update a room by changing the colour
4 smart ways to update a room by changing the colour

1.  Re-plaster the room for less

Use thick lining paper to give walls a smooth surface, then coat with emulsion paint.

  • Get rid of stained patches by smoothing the plaster with sandpaper.
  • Use oil-based paint to seal the stain, leave to dry, then paint with oil-based eggshell.
  • If a leak makes internal plaster bubble, scrape out the damaged plaster and repair with ready-mixed plaster.
  • Prime with emulsion diluted with up to 10% water, then paper or paint with emulsion.

2.  Prep the wall and choose your paint

Painting a wall usually costs less than covering it with wallpaper.

  • Make sure your walls are as smooth as possible before starting to cover them with paint, paper or tiles.
  • Paint sample patches on all four walls of a room. Examine each colour under natural and artificial light to see if you still like it.
  • If you want a bright colour of paint, save money by buying cheap white emulsion and adding a strong-coloured emulsion until you get the desired shade.
  • Make a note of exactly which colour you added, and how much, in case you need to make up more paint.

3.  Selecting a wallpaper

  • Check out the sales at your local decorating stores, and online shopping outlets that sell designer wallpaper at a discount all year round.
  • Just like paint, look at wallpaper samples in the room you intend to decorate in both daylight and artificial light.
  • If you select an expensive wallpaper, use it as a focal point and hang it on one wall only.
  • Combine textured paper with paint for an economical yet stylish look.

4.  Regrouting and tiling

  • Look out for cheap tiles in factory stores and discount warehouses.
  • Paint over old tiles for a new look at a fraction of the cost of re-tiling.
  • Clean the tiles and remove all traces of dust, then apply a tile primer, followed by tile paint.
  • Give aging tiling a fresh look by regrouting.
  • Scrape out as much of the old grout as possible — you can buy a grout removal tool for around $11 or make your own from an old hacksaw blade.
  • Regrout, using a Popsicle stick to smooth the grout between the tiles.
  • Save retiling whole areas by just replacing any damaged tiles.
  • Wearing safety glasses, drill a hole in the centre of a damaged tile and chisel it out along with old grout to give a flat surface, working from the centre. Then replace and regrout.
  • If matching tiles aren’t available, replace with tiles in contrasting colours.

A simple change of colour can easily update a boring room to reflect your personal style. Do it yourself with these tips and save money that you can put towards new furniture and other decorations to complete the room.

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