School of DIY: Decorating Tips and How To Guides

social school of DIY

Introducing our School of DIY. It’s a library of DIY and decorating tips, with helpful how to video guides! We’ll take you from decorating novice to DIY master! Just follow hashtag #SchoolOfDIY on twitter, Facebook, Google+ and instagram for daily tips and how to’s! Scroll down for the ultimate list of DIY and decorating tips – and don’t forget to share your own on social!

#SchoolOfDIY: The Ultimate list of DIY and decorating tips (from you and us)

Tips and advice for painting 

painting advice and tips

Charlotte – When it comes to painting a wall or ceiling, try to paint in natural daylight, as it will help you to see patchy areas clearer.

Sharon – If you buy some new bed sheets, don’t throw the old ones away. They’ll come in handy to drape over furniture when painting.

Kel -  Use cardboard and hold it against the top edges while painting so you don’t accidentally paint the ceiling

Amelia – If you’re worried about a newly painted door sticking, wait for the coat to dry, and then rub the edges of the door with a candlestick or tealight. Hold the candle in your palms first, to warm it up and soften the wax. Then, firmly rub it along the top and side of the door.

Eddie - Hard brushes can be rejuvenated after a spell in hot vinegar, comb the bristles with a fork afterwards and keep in shape with an elastic band until dry.

Breige – If you are painting a door, keep paint off the handles, hinges and locks by applying some vaseline on a piece of tissue to them before you start painting. The paint wont stick to that.

Becky - Glossing over a few days? Keep your gloss brush in a jar full of water, or at least over the bristles and retaining band. It stops the paint from drying out (a nightmare to clean off the bristles). Shake it out the next day and carry on!

Walls and Floors – Don’t skip the preparation. Give yourself a nice smooth surface to paint. Fill cracks and sand off any rough patches.

Lindsay - When storing paint you can stop a skin forming by turning the paint lid secured upside-down for a few seconds.

Callum – If you’re tired of having paint drip down the outside of the can, wrap an elastic band around it, and scrape the excess off your brush on the band. It will drip down into the can, leaving the sides clean. You’ll be able to get the lid on a lot easier, too.

Michele – After painting with a roller, if you’ve got more to do, wrap the roller in cling film. It will stop the paint from drying out (which becomes a nightmare to clean off).

Jan – If you’re painting with a roller, between painting sessions, cover the roller tray (with paint in) with cling film. This prevents you having to tip it back into the pot, which is a messy job.

Amy – To ensure you get clean lines when you’re painting against the ceiling or a border, use masking tape. Old tip, but effective.

Walls and Floors – Before you choose your colours, make sure you understand a little about the colour wheel.

Stephanie – When painting a room, take anything of any value (iPads, etc) out of the room. Anything you can’t move, such as furniture, or a big TV set, cover over with an old disused sheet.

Matthew – Remove pets from the area. Otherwise, inquisitive dogs or cats might leave some painted foot prints across the floor!

Susan – Keep a moist cloth close to you whilst you’re painting. If you get any drips, wipe them away straight away before they have a chance to dry. This prevents you have to scrape off rock-hard droplets later on.

Drilling, screwing and nailing DIY tips

drilling tips and advice

Tracey – If you’re drilling a hole in an interior wall and you don’t want the dust to pour out everywhere, take a small envelope (the kind you’d put a Christmas card in) and tape it by the flap to the wall, under the hole you’re drilling. Pinch the envelope to make it stand out a little. When you drill, the envelope will catch the dust and save you having to hoover it up off the skirting board and floor.

Walls and Floors – You can magnetise the tip of a screwdriver by running one pole of a magnet over it several times; always moving in the same direction. This will help screws to stay in place on the end of the screwdriver.

Diane – When drilling, have the nozzle of your hoover ready at hand to suck up the dust as it falls.

Dee - When using the claw of a hammer to pull a nail wrap rubber bands around the top to save ruining the surface.

Gerri – Nailing can be a bit tricky, when having to hold the nail between two fingers. You’re always anxious that you’re going to hit your finger tips with the hammer. So, stick the nail into a piece of cardboard, and hold this against the wall. Whack the nail in, and rip off the cardboard. A simple finger-saving tip.

Debbie – If you want to stop a screw from coming loose in the wall, add a drop or two of clear nail polish to the hole before tightening the last stretch of the screw.

Hannah – To prevent your fingers being flattened by the hammer (which had happened to me a few times) use a pair of tweezers to hold the nail.

Lynn – If you’re nailing into plasterboard, stick a bit of scotch tape over the area first. This will stop the plasterboard from chipping, which looks unsightly.

Tiling tips

tiling wall tips

Lynne – Replacing tiles in a bathroom? Put an old sheet in the bath tub before you start smashing off the old tiles. Broken tiles are pretty sharp, so they can scratch ceramic and plastic bath tubs or shower trays. Having a sheet there as added protection helps to stop this.

Amelia - When mixing powder type adhesives, always use clean cold water. Dirty water can have an adverse effect on setting times. Always add powder to the water – if you do it the other way round, it’s far more difficult to get the consistency right and you’ll likely end up with lumps in the mix. When mixing with a power mixer, use at low speed.

Billy – Don’t get caught short when it comes to the amount of tiles you order. Add 10% to your order to allow for wastage and for cut pieces. If you order the excess later on, you might find the tile is out of stock, or that it’s picked from a new batch, which might be a slightly different colour.

Vickie – When you start tiling, find the centre line of the wall or floor, and tile from that line. That way, when you reach the sides of the room, your cut pieces will be symmetrical.

Walls and Floors – If you’re tiling into a tight awkward space where you can’t apply adhesive directly onto the wall or floor, use the technique ‘back buttering’ – where you put adhesive onto the rear of the tile, instead.

John – If you’re aiming to make a room seem brighter, choose light coloured tiles that have a bevelled edge. The angled bevel will help to bounce light around the room.

Amelia - Make sure that you keep all your tools clean. When you’ve finished or if you’re taking a break, clean off all adhesive or grout straightaway. Hardened adhesive on trowels and the like can be a real pain to get off.

Carol – Drilling through a tile? Put a bit of clear tape on the tile first to help prevent the tiles from cracking.

Walls and Floors – If you’re tiling an awkward space with lots of fixtures and fittings to navigate around, consider using mosaic tiles. Mosaics come on an easy to cut mesh backing – meaning you can cut them to shape and size very easily. Tiling around a socket? Cut an appropriately sized rectangle in the mosaic sheet.

Interior styling ideas 

interior styling tips

Walls and Floors – To add a luxurious finish into a living room or bedroom, use full-length curtains that hang from the rail to the floor.

Louisa – Adding a mirror into your room will create the illusion that the space is larger, by adding depth.

Dee – Use cushions and accessories to help enforce a colour scheme.

Walls and Floors – If you want to update a dull cupboard door, install some eye-catching mosaics.

Chloe – Having a feature wall with staggered photos and quotes is beautiful and holds millions of memories too!

General DIY tips and ideas

diy ideas

Walls and Floors – If you’ve got a spare weekend and you want to do some home improvement, here are 8 DIY projects you can take on around the house.

Amelia - Cover wall lights with a plastic carrier bag when decorating. It will save you hours of cleaning time.

Trudee - Use leftover wallpaper to make coordinating pictures for your wall.

Kerrie - When applying silicon around a bath, dip your finger in white spirit then wipe off surplus.  No sticky fingers!

Garry – Got a rawlplug stuck in the wall? Drive a screw into in a little way, and use the claw of a hammer to remove the screw – it should pull the rawlplug with it.

Nicola – Make sure you have EVERYTHING you need before starting, there’s nothing more annoying than running out #SchoolOfDIY.

Mark – Keep a magnet in your tool box. Comes in handy when you drop small screws and pins on the carpet to go over and locate them.

Walls and Floors – Don’t take risks when it comes to electrics. Even if it’s a job as simple as changing a socket face. If in doubt, hire an electrician.

Walls and Floors – When using an extension cord, unravel the cable fully firsat, as coiled cables can get very hot and cause fires.

Amylee - Pour your wallpaper paste into a paint tray and use a roller to apply. Twice as quick, half as messy.

Robbie – Start from the top and work down, whether that’s the wall or the house.

Create your own DIY gifts

make your own gift

Walls and Floors – Buy a tea tray from Dunelm, paint it a fitting colour, and tile the base with mosaics or decor tiles! This makes for a perfect boutique gift with a wonderful home-made touch.

Louisa – Buy some Scrabble Tiles that spell out a name or word – such as ‘FAMILY’ or ‘LOVE’, stick foam pads in the corners on the underside, put them in a gift box, and give them as a Christmas, birthday or anniversary present.

Walls and Floors – Buy a cheap, plain mirror and jazz it up by adding a mosaic tile border! For a glimmering result, try iridescent mosaics.


Share your tips and you could win a DIY Survival Kit (COMPETITION NOW CLOSED)

We want School of DIY to be a two-way street. We don’t know everything, after all. That’s why we want to hear your top DIY tips, or DIY disaster stories we should all avoid! Send us yours on Facebook and twitter with hashtag #SchoolOfDIY. We’ll retweet our favourites, and immortalise them in the section below!

Entries close Monday 2nd November. We’ll choose one DIY tip or story to win a fantastic DIY Survival Kit.

In the kit, you’ll get biscuits, tea, coffee, a dust sheet, goggles, a sponge, a screwdriver set, a Walls and Floors branded high vis, a tape measure, and a fantastic tiling kit (which includes a tile saw, grout finishers, a grout float, tile sander, an adhesive spreader, and spacer).

win diy kit



Download our Dream Colour Scheme: Sanguine Lookbook

It’s full of ideas and accessories for recreating the Sanguine colour scheme in your home. Fill out the form below* and we’ll give you the download link instantly.

Dream Colour Scheme Lookbook Free Download

*By providing an email address above we’ll add you to our mailing list to receive our newsletters which are full of interior design trends, fantastic giveaways and our latest unmissable offers. You can unsubscribe at any time.



Wild west trend Keep it Teal 10 living room updates

Leave a Reply

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>