Unless you are lucky enough to have a partner, friend or relative who is handy with a paintbrush and wall paper paste, you will have to get to grips with decorating at some point in your life.

However, there is a right way and a wrong way to tackle the job, so before you end up in a Mr Bean style scene with paint everywhere but the wall, read on for a few helpful tips.

Decide on a Decorative Scheme

Prior to decorating, make sure you have thought it all through. Colours that look fantastic in the paint catalogue don’t always look so hot on the wall, so before you commit to buying a 5 litre can of vomit yellow paint, invest in a small match pot first and see whether you can live with the shade you have chosen. There really is nothing worse than spending a day painting a room, only to decide that the shade of paint you have picked is too dark, too light, or just plain nasty.

Preparation Works Come First

Before you can begin any painting or papering, it is essential to prepare your surfaces first. Existing wall paper should be removed and walls and woodwork washed down with a heavy duty cleaning solution to remove grease and grime. Holes and cracks will need filler and damp patches dealt with. If the walls are in a terrible state or you want some electrical work doing, make sure you schedule the plasterer or electrician to come before you start any decorating.

Remove Furniture and Cover Everything

Where possible, it is always a good idea to move as much out of the room as you can. Ideally clear the room of all furniture and lift the carpet (if applicable), but if this isn’t possible, make sure you cover everything up. You might think that you can paint the room without making a mess, but trust me when I say that no matter how careful you think you are paint gets everywhere, particularly when you have to paint the ceiling.

Use thick decorator’s dust sheets to cover furniture and lay plastic sheets on the floor. Protect windows with newspaper and use masking tape to cover small areas such as electrical sockets. Remove the radiators or towel rails (check a heated towel rails FAQ if you aren’t sure how). Lastly, don’t forget to step out of your shoes when you leave the room or you could end up tramping paint through the house.

In the case of new kitchens and bathrooms, fixtures and fittings will need to be installed before decorating can be started or you will end up having to touch up and repair surfaces.

In the Right Order

Decorating needs to be tackled in the right order and it is customary to start at the top of a room and work down. Paint ceilings first and then you can do the walls. However, if you are papering a wall rather than painting it, you will need to paint the woodwork before you hang the wall paper.

If new flooring is being installed, it is better to paint woodwork after the flooring is in place. It may seem counter intuitive to do this—after all, why would you want to risk dropping paint all over your new ceramic tiles? But the reason for this is that flooring installation will inevitably cause damage to the skirting boards or, in the case of laminate and ceramic tiles, the skirting boards may need to be removed. So why make more work for yourself by doing the job twice?

Decorating a home can be very satisfying, but do make sure you go about it the right way or all you will gain is an enormous headache.