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Spring is the ideal time to decorate. Fittingly, it’s also National Home Improvement Month.

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Spring is the ideal time to decorate. Fittingly, it’s also National Home Improvement Month.

24 April 2019

 Spring is the ideal time to decorate. Fittingly, it’s also National Home Improvement Month. Its “ambassador”, TV’s Georgina Burnett, has created a painting plan below.

But first choose your brand and colours. One of the most informed experts on “historic” shades is Patrick Baty, who is celebrating more than 50 years at his family store at Papers and Paints, 4 Park Walk, SW10.

Full of advice for a larger market is the established Brewers, which has 25 stores within the M25 stocking the designer brands as well as Albany, its good-value own label.

Alternatively, order an all-brands box of colour cards for £5.95 from, which also offers helpful “live chat”. Spend the weekend working out a scheme — and give the work to someone else.


Bathing beauty: Sandersons’ paint collection includes 153 colours

Paint prices vary hugely. B&Q has a GoodHome edit in “curated”colours, including speciality paints for tiles, kitchen cupboards and stairs.

It costs from £12 for 2.5 litres of emulsion. More upmarket brands charge upwards of £45 for the same quantity.

Dulux and the high-tech visualiser

Marianne Shillingford of Dulux warns against the cheapest paint, however. “Built-in toughness and superior coverage means less time decorating,” she says.

She loves a “mid-century modern colour palette. Try Mustard Blanket with Polished Pebble, Dipped Chocolate and Timeless”.

More than 1.3 million people have downloaded the helpful Dulux Visualiser App. You can also phone 0333 222 7171 for technical advice.

At Crown, colour consultant Judy Smith loves Powdered Clay, “a warm neutral”, adding pops of orange and red.

“Stick to only a few colours throughout your home,” she says. Homebase has a “three for two” deal on Crown coloured emulsion.

Designers Guild offers 156 high-pigment colours in five qualities made by Mylands, Britain’s oldest family paint maker (265-277 King’s Road, SW3).

Tricia Guild’s shades include 80 neutrals, 15 whites, and those well-loved brights (2.5 litres matt emulsion, £45).

Over the road — as well as in W1 — is a new showroom for Little Greene, currently collaborating with the National Trust.

Londoners love Farrow & Ball, which has 132 colours in 11 finishes at 14 showrooms within the M25. Its Estate Emulsion is £46.50 for 2.5 litres and the wallpapers are handcrafted using Farrow & Ball paints for a perfect match. Its flagship store is at 249 Fulham Road, SW3.

Craig & Rose (“paints of quality since 1829”) has showrooms in Notting Hill and Chiswick. Look out for its metallic.

Sandersons blends pattern and paint and issued its first small palette in 1900. Now it has 154 hues in three finishes, with emulsion costing £45 for 2.5 litres.

For advice and samples, go to the Style Library store in Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, SW10. You can also explore Zoffany paints, famous for its rich jewel tones that complement its sophisticated wall coverings and fabrics.

Georgina Burnett's four-day paint challenge

Day one: prepping

Cover everything, including yourself (I wear a shower cap).

Pull the carpet away from the walls. Put quick-dry filler into holes and level off with an old credit card. Scrape flaking paint from the woodwork, and lightly sand. Edge the woodwork with masking tape.

Day two: walls

Now it gets exciting. Prime the walls, mixing in a little of your top coat. Allow to dry completely. “Cut in” with an angled brush the areas that are too tight for rollers (but not too thickly): skirtings, ceiling and corners.


Use a roller and emulsion to fill in each area before it’s completely dry. To avoid tide marks, roller a large W on the wall in one go. Then fill in the gaps, and repeat. Go over with vertical lines.

Wipe splashes off the woodwork while they are still damp. Keep the roller well loaded, and wash it out at the end of the day.

Day three: extra coats

Apply extra coat(s) to walls as needed. Touch up the paintwork.

Day four: woodwork

Decant the paint into a “kettle” (tub), apply quick-drying all-in-one primer/undercoat with a medium-angled brush for a clean edge. You may need two coats.

During breaks wrap the brushes in cling film or an old plastic bag. Once dry, lightly sand. Apply the top coat, a hard-wearing acrylic paint. Leave to dry and wash brushes.

Remove masking tape before completely dry. Remove the dust sheets, put the room back together and go to the pub.