Must I use primer paint?

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Interior Design

Using a primer is a sound idea at most times because it gives next coat of paint a good surface to adhere to, but there is more to it than that.

There is no doubt that today’s paint is far better than we have had before, we have a number of finishes available to us that we did not see a few years ago. But even our modern paints will not do the whole job on their own, they need a good surface that they can bond too, this is where the primer and under coat come in.

A primer should always be used where it is not possible to have at totally flat surface, cracks holes and depressions is just trouble waiting and they reduce the ability of the paint to adhere properly, it will soon deteriorate. Primers can be used on both wood and metal, but wood is the reason that a primer should be used, particularly if the wood has not been painted or it has become bare. Paint primer creates a watertight seal preventing any water from getting on to the wood causing rot.

Another reason for using a good primer is to hide grain and other natural marks on the wood, lighter finishing coats will always show what is underneath if a good primer and undercoat are missed out of the repainting job.

However, no matter how good the primer will be, it will not hide defects such as mould or wet, the wood must always be thoroughly sanded, cleaned and dried thoroughly filled as necessary and then primed. You are better fitting a new piece of wood or frame rather than trying to hide one which has got wet rot.

Picture: tienvijftien

Decorating a bedroom for a teenage girl

Author: dpinning  //  Category: Bedrooms, DIY Tips, Interior Design

Your little princess isn’t so little now and has grown out of her princess themed room, so where do you start when redecorating? In this article we’ll give you some handy hints in creating the perfect bedroom for your teenage girl.

Storage, storage, storage

Storage is the key to creating an uncluttered room perfect for a teenage girl. Whether they need storage for clothes and shoes or book and CD’s it is important to have planned out space for everything. Under bed storage is great for adding storage without taking up additional space in the bedroom, whereas sliding wardrobes provide custom storage for clothes and shoes. There are a huge range of sliding wardrobes available in a range of different colours that can be built to fit into any bedroom; companies such as and offer bespoke designs at an affordable price with a range of storage options.

Ottomans are also a great option for adding storage to a bedroom and if the room has a bay window why not utilise the space by making a bench seat with some storage underneath.

Another important consideration to think about is adding some kind of desk/make up table to the room. This will provide a practical area in the room for your child to do their school work or talk to their friends through social media away from the hustle and bustle of the main house.

Painting and decorating

Pinks, red and oranges are some of the more popular colours in a girl’s bedroom, but at the end of the day it should be up to them to choose a colour scheme because at the end of the day they will be spending all their time in there.

Adding wallpaper to one wall can create a fantastic focal point for the room, whereas pastel or muted colours are timeless and will suit a variety of themes.

Designing a bedroom for a teenage girl needn’t be stressful, it’s a simple task of evaluating the storage and practical needs of your child and choosing a suitable colour scheme.

Making a London Blind

Author: dpinning  //  Category: How To Guides, Interior Design

To make a London blind, cut a piece of fabric and lining fabric to the size required. Place the fabric with the right sides together to match the raw edges. Pin the fabrics and stitch along the side and bottom edges, just half an inch from the edges. Turn these pieces the right way out and press.

Place the fabric the wrong way up on a flat surface. Mark parallel lines down the length of the fabric at six-inch, 12-inch and 18-inch intervals from each side edge.

Find a piece of Austrian blind tape. Turn one inch under at the bottom edges of the tapes and place the tapes over the 12-inch marking that you created so that the first loop is located two inches from the bottom edge of the fabric. Pin the tapes before stitching them into place.

Turn one inch of material in at the top edge and stitch. Fold the blind down the centre, with the right sides together, and match the marked lines together. Pin and stitch the marked lines from four inches down from the top edge and two inches from the bottom edge. Press the pleats along the length of the blind so that the stitching is centred over the tape.

Pin Velcro and stitch along the top of the blind on the wrong side, very close to the fold at the top. Cut nylon cord in half and secure it to the bottom loops of the tapes. Thread the cords through all the loops. Secure the blind to the batten and fix in place.

Manipulating space in the home

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, How To Guides, Interior Design

Manipulating the space in a home is key to having a comfortable environment in which to live, relax and sleep. There may be areas of the home that are too small or too big, but instead of building an extension or fitting a false ceiling why not try using different colours and patterns to manipulate the space.

Using painted walls to manipulate space

Our eyes process colours in a very specific way with some creating an optical illusion; this is great for DIY projects because you can use a variety of colours to make a room seem bigger or smaller depending on the effect you want to create.

Using a warm colour on a wall such as orange, red or brown will make the room seem smaller than it actually is, and using a cooler or paler tone like blues and greens can create the sense of space. This is especially noticeable when painting a featured wall where all of the other walls are a neutral colour.

The same effect can be made on the ceiling and floor. Painting the ceiling and floor a darker tone than the walls will make the room seem smaller, whereas lighter tones give the effect of more space. Adding lighter tones to the ceiling and floor in a hallway will make the space seem bigger and will reflect more light adding to the effect.

Using patterns to manipulate space

Using patterns is also a great way of manipulating the space in your home. Horizontal stripes will make a room seem wider, whereas vertical stripes will increase the height in a room. Large patterns that are focal points have the tendency to make a room seem smaller, whereas a small regular pattern makes the space seem bigger.

Using colours and patterns to manipulate space is a great way of changing the look and feel of a room with the minimum cost.

Picture: Little Greene Paint Company

How to reupholster a dining chair

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, How To Guides, Interior Design

When your dining chairs start to look a little shabby, you might start thinking about buying a whole new set to get your dining room looking up to scratch again. But if you buy all new chairs, maybe you need a new table too; and that’s when things start to look a little expensive. In fact, it’s actually pretty easy to reupholster a dining chair yourself, and here’s how to do it.

First you need to remove the seat pad from the chair. The frame has screws on the underside of the seat in each corner holding it on; these need to be removed. Once it is lifted away from the chair, you should remove the cardboard or plywood that is stapled to the underside. If this is in good condition, save it to be reused when you put the chair back together.

Next you need to remove the fabric itself. You can used the old fabric to create the pattern for the new piece so that you can be sure that it fits. If the padding underneath is looking a little worn, you can replace this too at a very cheap cost.

To put it all back together, first lay it all out with the fabric right side down, the padding over the top, and the seat pad as the final piece. You’ll then need to staple the fabric in place, first at the centre front and back, then around the edges. The board can be reattached using staples too, which can be hammered in if need be.

And the final step is screw the finished seat pad back onto the frame of the dining chair as it was before.

Picture: Stacie

Fitting cornices and coving

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, Interior Design

Cornices and coving are a great way to finish the edges of the ceiling where it meets the wall and has been used for hundreds of years as decoration. Cornices and coving are available in a range of different shapes and sizes from plain concave coving to decorative cornice and you should choose a style that suits your room’s style.

Fitting cornices and coving is pretty straight forward although there are a few tools that you will need before you start, these include:

•    A mitre box and medium tooth saw
•    A ladder or suitable stepladder
•    Wall adhesive

Fitting coving

Use an offcut of coving to mark the dimensions of the piece to both the wall and ceiling all the way round. If the wall has wallpaper on it remove it from the measured area and lightly scratch with a Stanley knife to provide a good key for the adhesive.

Start work from an internal corner and cut using a mitre box and saw through the face side of the piece. Apply a generous amount of adhesive onto the coving and push the piece into the corner making sure that it aligns with the guide lines. Scrape away any surplus adhesive before it has a chance to set.

Repeat this for all four corners then cut pieces for the other side using the alternative side of the mite box. Once all of the corners are done its time to fit in the gaps with straight cut coving. Use the surplus adhesive to fill in any gaps as you go along.

Once the adhesive has dried the coving can be primed and painted to match the existing rooms colours.

Picture: Ben O’Bryan

Practical, attractive bathroom blinds

Author: dpinning  //  Category: Bathrooms, Interior Design

The bathroom is the most used room in the home, so it is important to choose window coverings that are attractive, practical and easy to maintain, while offering optimum privacy. Luckily, homeowners have several versatile options for bathroom blinds.

Fabric curtains can collect dust and encourage the growth of mould. Blinds made of moisture-resistant materials, such as PVC, aluminium or bamboo, make a better choice for rooms in which humidity is a factor. Venetian blinds are a popular choice for bathrooms, because they are attractive, easy to care for and moisture resistant. A quick wipe with a soft, damp cloth removes any dust, keeping your blinds attractive and mould-free.

Roller blinds are another practical choice as bathroom blinds. Affordable, attractive and versatile, roller bathroom blinds offer optimum privacy whilst still providing ease of use. Blackout liners can be added to roller blinds for additional privacy. Liners also enhance the insulating properties of bathroom blinds. Bathroom blinds keep the room cooler in summer by filtering the sunlight, and warmer in winter.

Whatever your family’s tastes, budget and needs, there are bathroom blinds perfect for your home.

Picture: Ralph Daily

Getting ready for a painting job

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, Interior Design

Firstly you have to be particularly careful if you live in a very old house as the paint on the wood surfaces will also be old and can contain lead. Special care is need when preparing this and if your home was built before the early 1960’s it will almost certainly be lead pint on the windows, doors, woodwork and for some metal items.

The easiest way to deal with lead paintwork, if it is in good condition, is to paint over it with a coat of modern paint. This will seal in the lead and prevent it from causing harm. However, if the paint is badly chipped use a solvent-based or caustic paint stripper, or a water based one.

Dealing with the paintwork, no matter what age, if it is in good condition and although it could be several layers thick, a quick preparation is all that is needed. If the paint is oil based, rub down with a medium coarse abrasive paper wrapped around a wood block, wash down with a solution of sugar soap, allow to dry and you are ready to apply the first coat. For emulsion paints a simple wash down with soapy water is all that is needed. For paintwork that is peeling, pitted, badly chipped or crazed then the paint will have to be stripped to the bare wood.

For a first class finish it is worth remembering the time honoured advice of the professionals; “the finish is only as good as the preparation of the surfaces before you paint”, excellent advice.

Picture: tienvijftien

Removing a tiled fire surround

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, Interior Design

If you are preparing to redecorate your fireplace area and you wish to remove the fire surround, the process will vary depending on the type.  A tiled fire surround made from tiled concrete is one type, and it can be removed if you know what to do.

Get a helper

This is a task that requires two people.  Have your helper steady the surround while you are working so it does not fall.  Remember, these can be quite top heavy and when you begin removing screws they can topple and damage your flooring.  Your helper will also help you remove it when you are ready.

Find the screws

Most tiled fire surrounds are attached to the walls using screws that fit into metal lugs.  These are typically hidden behind the plaster, so you will need to remove any wall coverings and then chip away at the plaster to reveal them.  Once you find them, clear the screws of any plaster and then unscrew them from the wall.  Sometimes the screws will be stuck so if you cannot unscrew them, then prise the lugs to loosen the fittings from the wall instead.

Remove and break up the surround

Once the screws or lugs are loose from the wall, lower the surround, with your helper’s assistance, on to the ground.  If you are going to break it up to dispose of it, take it outdoors. Cover it with an old piece of sack or cloth and protect your hands and face with the right safety gear.  Then, use a sledgehammer to break it into small pieces.  If you notice any metal strengthening, which is common with concrete, pry the tiling away from this as you break up the surround.  When you are done, dispose of it properly and get ready to redo your fireplace surround.

Picture: Domonic Alves

What does Repurposing Furniture Mean?

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Interior Design

The idea of repurposing is: Making something new out of something old. Taking old furniture and household items and creating a new piece of furniture or giving an old piece of furniture a makeover.

As people look to be more economical or environmentally conscious, repurposing means that there may not be a necessity to ‘throw away’ an old piece of furniture. Rather fashion it into something which will fit your new scheme, or make something that may be broken into something useful. It does take some creative insight or imagination to repurpose furniture, but there are plenty of websites and tutorials online which can help. You don’t have to have a knack for DIY, many of the skills used can be pretty easily self-taught.

The options are endless, you can keep your original furniture, just give it a fresh new update with a coat of paint, new legs, new handles or a recover in fresh material. If you’re looking for new furniture because you don’t have anything suitable or need something, check out auctions, scrapyards or second hand sales, for items of furniture which you can repurpose, for your needs.

If your struggling for ideas, check out furniture magazines and cut out items you like. You can use these as inspiration or try and recreate it, with the old furniture you find. So if you feel like your furniture needs a bit of a makeover, and you can afford to buy new and want to help the environment then why not have a look at  repurposing what you already have.