Home Decorating Equipment – The Tools and Gear You Need

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Welcome to our beginner’s guide on the tools and equipment needed to paint and wallpaper a room, and how to use them.

Whether you’re embarking on a home improvement project or simply looking to refresh the look of your living space, understanding the right tools to use is key to achieving a professional finish.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through a comprehensive list of essential tools that will make your painting and wallpapering endeavours easier and more successful. Let’s dive in!

Tools for Painting


Paintbrushes are a fundamental tool for any painting project. They come in various sizes and types, each serving a specific purpose. Here are the different types of paintbrushes you should consider having in your toolkit.

Angled Brushes: Angled brushes, also known as cutting-in brushes, have slanted bristles that allow for more precise and controlled painting. They are ideal for painting corners, edges, and trim where straight lines are essential. The angled shape helps reach tight spaces with ease, resulting in clean and crisp lines.

Flat Brushes: Flat brushes have bristles that are cut straight across. They are versatile and commonly used for larger areas such as walls and ceilings. Flat brushes can hold more paint, allowing for efficient coverage and smooth application.

Synthetic Brushes: Synthetic brushes are made of nylon or polyester bristles. They are durable, maintain their shape well, and are suitable for use with both latex and oil-based paints. Synthetic brushes are generally less expensive than natural bristle brushes, making them a popular choice for beginners.

Natural Bristle Brushes: Natural bristle brushes are made from animal hair, typically hog or ox hair. They are best suited for oil-based paints and varnishes. Natural bristle brushes hold a lot of paint, resulting in a smoother finish. However, they are not recommended for use with water-based paints as the bristles can become limp and lose their shape.

Detail Brushes: Detail brushes have fine, narrow bristles that are perfect for intricate work and small areas. They are commonly used for painting trim, window frames, furniture, or any other delicate and detailed surfaces that require precision.

When selecting paintbrushes, consider the size of the brush in relation to the area you’re painting. A broader brush is more efficient for covering large surfaces, while a smaller brush allows for greater control in tight spaces.

It’s also important to choose brushes with comfortable handles that provide a good grip, as this can greatly impact your painting experience.

Paintbrush Quality

The quality of a paintbrush can significantly impact the finish when painting walls at home.

Here’s how:

Brush Strokes: A high-quality paintbrush with well-formed bristles will result in smoother brush strokes. The bristles will hold their shape and distribute the paint evenly, reducing the appearance of brush marks on the wall. Cheaper brushes may have uneven bristles that lead to a less smooth and more streaky finish.

Paint Distribution: A good paintbrush will hold and release paint more effectively. It will have the right balance of stiffness and flexibility to spread the paint evenly on the wall. This ensures consistent coverage and helps prevent the need for multiple coats. Lower-quality brushes may not distribute paint evenly, leading to uneven coverage and a less professional look.

Control and Precision: Higher-quality brushes offer better control and precision during painting. They have well-designed handles that provide a comfortable grip and allow for more accurate application. With a good brush, you can easily cut in at edges, corners, and trim with clean lines. Cheaper brushes may have handles that are uncomfortable to hold and bristles that splay, making it harder to achieve precise painting.

Shedding and Durability: A top-quality brush is less likely to shed bristles during painting, preventing them from getting stuck in the wet paint and marring the finish. These brushes are also more durable and can withstand repeated use and cleaning without losing their shape or bristles. Cheaper brushes may shed bristles, leading to frustration and the need to remove them from the painted surface.

Easy Cleaning: High-quality brushes are often easier to clean after use. The bristles are less likely to clump together or retain paint residue, allowing for quicker and more effective cleaning. Cheaper brushes may require more effort and time to clean thoroughly, which can be inconvenient.

Investing in a high-quality paintbrush will result in a smoother finish, more even paint distribution, better control, and increased durability. It will help you achieve a more professional-looking paint job and make the overall painting process easier and more enjoyable.

The secret to making paintbrushes last a long time is proper cleaning and storage after every use. Check out our guide for cleaning paintbrushes. It includes a handy little tip for cleaning oil-based paint from brushes whilst using very little turps or white spirit.

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Rollers and Roller Covers

Rollers and roller covers are essential tools for painting large surfaces efficiently and achieving a smooth and even finish. They consist of a roller frame and a removable cover that holds the paint.

Here’s what you need to know about rollers and roller covers.

Roller Frame: The roller frame is the handle or frame onto which the roller cover attaches. It typically features a handle with a threaded end for easy attachment to an extension pole. The frame should feel sturdy and comfortable in your hand, allowing for smooth and controlled movements while painting.

Roller Covers: Roller covers, also known as sleeves or nap rollers, are cylindrical tubes made of fabric that slide onto the roller frame. They come in various lengths and nap thicknesses, which refers to the length and density of the fibres on the cover’s surface. Here are the main types of roller covers and their recommended uses:

Smooth or Low Nap Covers: These roller covers have a short nap, usually 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch. They are ideal for smooth surfaces like walls and ceilings that require a fine finish. Smooth covers provide a thin and even application of paint, minimising the appearance of roller marks.

Medium Nap Covers: Medium nap covers have a slightly longer nap, typically around 3/8 to 1/2 an inch. They are suitable for surfaces with light to moderate textures, such as drywall or lightly textured walls. Medium nap covers hold more paint and can cover a larger area quickly while still providing good coverage.

Thick or High Nap Covers: Thick nap covers have longer fibres, ranging from 3/4 to 1 inch or more. They are designed for heavily textured surfaces like stucco or textured plaster walls. Thick nap covers hold a significant amount of paint, allowing for better coverage in the crevices and uneven areas of textured surfaces.

Choosing the right roller cover depends on the type of surface you’re painting. For smooth surfaces, use a low nap cover, while textured surfaces require a thicker nap to reach into the crevices. When in doubt, consult the paint manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate roller cover.

It’s important to note that roller covers are typically made of synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon, which are durable and resistant to shedding. However, some specialised roller covers may be made of natural materials like lambswool for specific applications.

Choose a roller cover that suits the type of paint you’re using, as some covers are designed for use with specific paint formulations, such as water or oil-based paints.

Roller covers can be cleaned and reused for future painting projects if properly maintained. After each use, remove the roller cover from the frame and wash it thoroughly with warm water and mild soap. Rinse until the water runs clear, then allow it to air dry before storing it in a clean and dry place.

Remember to check the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific care recommendations for the roller covers you are using.

By selecting the right roller frame and cover combination for your project and following proper maintenance procedures, you’ll achieve excellent paint coverage and a smooth, professional finish on your walls or ceilings.

Paint Trays

Paint trays are shallow containers that hold paint during the painting process. They are designed to hold enough paint for easy access and application with a roller or brush. Here’s what you need to know about paint trays:

Design and Materials: Paint trays typically have a flat bottom with sloping sides to accommodate a roller or brush. They are commonly made of plastic, which is lightweight, easy to clean, and resistant to corrosion from paint. Some paint trays may have built-in ridges or grooves along the bottom to help distribute paint evenly across the roller cover.

Size and Capacity: Paint trays come in various sizes, ranging from small handheld trays to larger trays that can accommodate roller frames up to 9 inches or more. The size you choose depends on the size of your painting project and the tools you’ll be using. Consider the width of your roller cover or brush and ensure that the tray is wide enough to accommodate it comfortably.

Grids and Ridges: Some paint trays feature a grid or ridges inside the tray. These features help remove excess paint from the roller cover and distribute it more evenly, preventing drips and reducing the amount of paint needed. The grid or ridges also help with loading the roller evenly, ensuring consistent coverage during application.

Disposable Liners: To make cleanup easier, you may consider using disposable paint tray liners. These plastic or paper liners fit into the paint tray and can be easily discarded after use, eliminating the need for extensive cleaning. They also allow you to switch between different paint colors or types without cross-contamination.

How to Use a Paint Tray:When using a paint tray, pour an appropriate amount of paint into the tray, filling it to a level that covers the lower portion of the roller cover. Avoid overfilling the tray, as it can lead to spills and messes. Dip your roller cover into the paint, rolling it back and forth on the tray’s ridges or grid to evenly distribute the paint.

Maintenance and Cleaning: After you’ve finished painting, it’s important to clean the paint tray promptly to keep it in good condition. If you’ve used a disposable liner, simply remove and discard it. If not, pour any excess paint back into the paint can, then rinse the tray with water or the appropriate solvent for the type of paint used.

Use a brush or sponge to remove any remaining paint, and dry the tray thoroughly before storing it.

Paint trays are versatile and suitable for use with both brushes and rollers. They provide a convenient and accessible way to hold paint during your project, making the application process smoother and more efficient. By choosing the right size and properly maintaining your paint tray, you’ll have a reliable tool that aids in achieving a professional finish.

Drop Cloths or Plastic Sheets

When painting or wallpapering a room, protecting your floors, furniture, and other surfaces from accidental spills, splatters, or drips is crucial. Drop cloths or plastic sheets serve as a reliable barrier, preventing damage and making cleanup easier. Here’s what you need to know about drop cloths or plastic sheets:

Types of Drop Cloths:

Canvas Drop Cloths: Canvas drop cloths are made of heavy-duty woven fabric, typically made from cotton or a cotton/polyester blend. They are durable and absorbent, providing excellent protection against paint spills. Canvas drop cloths are reusable and offer good slip resistance on floors, reducing the risk of accidents.

Plastic Sheets: Plastic sheets, usually made of polyethylene, are lightweight, inexpensive, and disposable. They are waterproof and provide an effective barrier against paint or liquid spills. Plastic sheets are available in various thicknesses and can be easily taped down or secured with weights to keep them in place.

Size and Coverage: Choose drop cloths or plastic sheets that are large enough to cover the entire work area. Consider the size of the room, the amount of furniture or fixtures you need to protect, and any other surfaces that may be at risk of paint or wallpaper adhesive. It’s better to have a slightly larger drop cloth than one that is too small, as it allows for better coverage and protection.

Preparation and Placement: Before you begin painting or wallpapering, clear the room of any valuable or delicate items that could be damaged. Place drop cloths or plastic sheets over the floor, extending them along the baseboards and walls to catch any drips or splatters. If you’re working on furniture, cover it entirely with a drop cloth or plastic sheet to prevent accidental paint or adhesive contact.

Securing and Anchoring: To ensure that the drop cloths or plastic sheets stay in place during your project, use painter’s tape or masking tape to secure the edges to the baseboards or floor. For additional stability, you can also use heavy objects or weights to anchor the corners or edges of the drop cloths or plastic sheets.

Cleanup and Reusability: After you’ve completed your painting or wallpapering project, carefully remove the drop cloths or plastic sheets, taking care not to spread any trapped paint or debris. Shake off any excess paint or dust outdoors before folding or rolling them for storage. Canvas drop cloths can be washed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and reused for future projects. Plastic sheets, on the other hand, are typically disposable and can be discarded.

Drop cloths or plastic sheets are essential protective measures that safeguard your floors, furniture, and other surfaces during painting or wallpapering. By using them appropriately and taking the necessary precautions, you can work with peace of mind, knowing that your surroundings are shielded from potential damage.

Painter’s Tape

Painter’s tape is a versatile tool used to create clean lines, protect surfaces, and prevent paint bleed or smudging. It’s an essential item for achieving precise and professional-looking paintwork. Here’s what you need to know about painter’s tape:

Blue Painter’s Tape: Blue painter’s tape is the most common type available. It is made of a medium adhesion crepe paper and is suitable for use on a variety of surfaces, including walls, ceilings, trim, and furniture. Blue painter’s tape is easy to use, remove, and doesn’t leave behind residue.

Green Painter’s Tape: Green painter’s tape, also known as multi-surface painter’s tape, offers similar characteristics to blue tape. However, it is designed for more challenging surfaces like cured painted walls, unfinished wood, metal, and glass. Green painter’s tape provides better adhesion on these surfaces, reducing the chances of paint bleed.

Adhesion Strength: Painter’s tape comes in different adhesion strengths to suit various project needs. Standard painter’s tape provides sufficient adhesion for most interior painting tasks. However, if you’re working on textured or uneven surfaces, consider using a high-adhesion painter’s tape to ensure secure adherence.

Width and Length: Painter’s tape is available in various widths, typically ranging from 0.5 inches to 2 inches. Choose a width that suits the specific area you need to mask off. For trim and narrow edges, a thinner width may be preferable, while wider tape is suitable for larger surfaces.

The length of the roll may vary, with common sizes being 60 yards or 180 feet. Consider the size of your project and estimate how much tape you will need to cover the necessary areas.

Application and Removal: When applying painter’s tape, ensure that the surface is clean, dry, and free of dust or debris. Press the tape firmly onto the surface, ensuring it adheres well and lies flat. Smooth down the edges to prevent paint from seeping underneath.

To achieve clean lines, make sure the tape is applied straight and taut along the desired edge or border. For corners or curves, gently stretch the tape to follow the contour while maintaining its adhesion.

When you’re ready to remove the painter’s tape, do so carefully and at a 45-degree angle while the paint is still slightly wet or tacky. This helps prevent paint from lifting or chipping. Pull the tape back on itself slowly and evenly to avoid tearing or leaving residue. If necessary, use a utility knife to score along the edge of the tape before removing it.

Additional Tips

  • Avoid leaving painter’s tape on for an extended period, as it may become difficult to remove and could leave adhesive residue behind.
  • If you’re working with delicate surfaces like wallpaper or fresh paint, consider testing a small piece of tape in an inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t damage or lift the surface.
  • For intricate designs or patterns, you can use multiple layers of painter’s tape to achieve the desired effect. Apply one layer, let it dry, then add additional layers as needed.

Painter’s tape is an invaluable tool for achieving clean, precise lines and protecting surfaces during painting projects. By using the appropriate tape for your surface, applying it correctly, and removing it carefully, you’ll be able to achieve professional-looking results and minimise the need for touch-ups or corrections.

Sandpaper or Sanding Blocks

Sandpaper or sanding blocks are essential tools for preparing surfaces before painting or wallpapering. They help smooth rough areas, remove imperfections, and create a suitable surface for paint or wallpaper adhesion. Here’s what you need to know about sandpaper or sanding blocks:

Grits and Grades: Sandpaper comes in various grits or grades, which indicate the coarseness of the abrasive particles on the paper. Lower grit numbers, such as 60 or 80, are rough and suitable for heavy sanding or removing layers of old paint or finishes. Higher grit numbers, such as 120 or 220, are finer and used for light sanding or achieving a smooth finish.

Types of Sandpaper

Garnet Sandpaper: Garnet sandpaper is commonly used for hand sanding. It is relatively inexpensive and ideal for wood surfaces. Garnet sandpaper provides a good balance between durability and effectiveness.

Aluminium Oxide Sandpaper: Aluminium oxide sandpaper is versatile and suitable for sanding a variety of surfaces, including wood, metal, and painted surfaces. It is long-lasting and works well for both hand sanding and power sanding.

Silicon Carbide Sandpaper: Silicon carbide sandpaper is often used for sanding non-ferrous metals, plastics, and fibreglass. It is durable, resists clogging, and can be used for wet or dry sanding.

Sanding Blocks

Sanding blocks are handheld tools that hold sandpaper securely in place. They provide a firm and even surface for sanding, allowing for consistent pressure and control. Sanding blocks come in various shapes and sizes, including rectangular, circular, or contoured designs for tackling different surfaces and angles.

Hand Sanding: For small areas or detailed work, fold a sheet of sandpaper into a manageable size and use your hand or a sanding block to apply even pressure. Sand in a back-and-forth motion, following the grain of the surface if applicable. Be mindful of not pressing too hard, as it can result in uneven sanding or damage to the surface.

Power Sanding: Power sanding involves using a power tool such as an orbital sander, palm sander, or detail sander. These tools make sanding larger areas quicker and more efficient. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating the power sander and use the appropriate grit sandpaper for the task at hand. Remember to keep the sander moving to avoid creating uneven spots or gouges in the surface.

Safety Precautions: When sanding, it’s important to take proper safety precautions. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from debris, and consider using a dust mask or respirator to avoid inhaling fine dust particles. Work in a well-ventilated area or use a dust collection system to minimise dust buildup.

Surface Preparation: Before sanding, remove any loose paint, dirt, or debris from the surface. Ensure the area is clean and dry to achieve optimal results. Sanding is typically performed before painting or wallpapering to create a smooth and even surface for better adhesion.

Progression of Grits: For a comprehensive sanding process, start with a lower grit sandpaper to remove imperfections or rough spots. Then gradually progress to higher grits to achieve a smoother surface. This progression helps to minimise scratches and ensure a consistent finish.

Remember to use caution when sanding delicate or thin surfaces to avoid causing damage. Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the sandpaper or sanding blocks you are using.

By using the appropriate sandpaper or sanding block and employing proper sanding techniques, you’ll be able to create a smooth and properly prepared surface for your painting or wallpapering project.

Paint Scraper

A paint scraper is a handheld tool used for removing old paint, loose paint chips, or other debris from surfaces before painting or wallpapering. It helps create a clean and smooth surface for better paint adhesion. Here’s what you need to know about paint scrapers:

Types of Paint Scrapers

Standard Paint Scraper: This is the most common type of paint scraper, featuring a metal blade with a handle. The blade is usually made of hardened steel, which is durable and resistant to wear. Standard paint scrapers come in various sizes, allowing you to choose one that suits the specific project requirements.

Multi-Tool Paint Scraper: Multi-tool paint scrapers combine a paint scraper with additional features such as a putty knife, nail puller, or even a built-in roller cleaner. These versatile tools offer convenience by providing multiple functions in one tool.

Carbide Paint Scraper: Carbide paint scrapers have a blade made of carbide, a material known for its exceptional hardness and durability. They are particularly useful for scraping stubborn or hard-to-remove paint layers.

Blade Design and Replacement

Paint scrapers typically have a straight or angled blade design. The angled design allows for easier access to corners and tight spaces, while the straight blade is useful for larger flat areas. Some paint scrapers have a replaceable blade, allowing you to swap out dull or worn blades for fresh ones.

Scraping Techniques: When using a paint scraper, hold it at a slight angle against the surface and apply firm but controlled pressure. Start from an edge or corner and work systematically across the area you’re scraping. Avoid using excessive force, as it may damage the underlying surface.

Safety Precautions: When scraping paint, it’s important to take appropriate safety precautions. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from paint chips or debris. If the paint being scraped is old, it may contain lead, so it’s essential to use a dust mask or respirator to avoid inhaling any harmful particles. Follow safety guidelines and regulations related to lead-based paint removal if necessary.

Surface Preparation: Before using a paint scraper, ensure that the surface is clean and dry. Remove any loose paint chips or debris with a brush or vacuum before scraping. This helps prevent further damage to the surface and allows for better adhesion of new paint or wallpaper.

Proper Disposal: Dispose of the paint chips and debris collected from scraping in accordance with local regulations. Collect them in a sealed bag or container and dispose of them appropriately, considering any hazardous waste guidelines that may apply.

Maintenance: After using a paint scraper, clean the blade to remove any remaining paint or debris. Use warm water and a mild detergent, and dry the blade thoroughly to prevent rusting. If the scraper has a replaceable blade, ensure that it is properly secured or replace it if necessary.

Paint scrapers are valuable tools for removing old paint and preparing surfaces for painting or wallpapering. By using the appropriate paint scraper and employing proper scraping techniques, you can ensure a clean and well-prepared surface for your next home improvement project.

Putty Knife

A putty knife, also known as a scraper or a spackle knife, is a versatile tool used for various purposes in painting and wallpapering projects. It is primarily used for filling cracks, holes, and imperfections in walls with spackling paste or putty. Here’s what you need to know about putty knives:

Blade Design: Putty knives feature a thin, flat blade made of metal or flexible stainless steel. The blade can range in width from about 1 inch to 4 inches, allowing you to choose a size that suits the specific task at hand. Some putty knives have a tapered or rounded edge, which helps create smooth finishes when applying putty or spackle.

Filling and Smoothing: Putty knives excel at filling gaps, cracks, and holes in walls or wood surfaces. They allow you to apply spackling paste, joint compound, or putty evenly and smoothly. The flat blade is ideal for spreading the material evenly and ensuring a flush surface. It can also be used to scrape away excess filler for a seamless finish.

Surface Preparation: Before using a putty knife, ensure that the surface is clean and dry. Remove any loose paint, debris, or rough edges around the area you plan to fill. This helps create a clean and smooth surface, ensuring better adhesion of the filler material.

Types of Putty Knives

Stiff Putty Knife: Stiff putty knives have a rigid blade, making them suitable for heavy-duty filling tasks and scraping away tough materials. They are commonly used for repairing larger cracks or holes in walls or woodwork.

Flexible Putty Knife: Flexible putty knives have a more pliable blade that bends slightly under pressure. They are ideal for working on curved surfaces or areas that require more precision, such as corner repairs or small nail holes.

Additional Uses: Putty knives have uses beyond filling and smoothing. They can be used for removing old wallpaper, scraping away loose paint or adhesive, and even applying and spreading glue or caulk. The thin and flat blade design makes them versatile for a variety of scraping and spreading tasks.

Safety Precautions: When using a putty knife, be mindful of safety. Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris or particles. Use caution to prevent the blade from slipping, which could result in injury. Keep your fingers and other body parts away from the blade while working.

Cleaning and Maintenance: After use, clean the blade of the putty knife thoroughly with warm water and mild soap. Remove any dried filler material or residue, and dry the blade to prevent rusting. Properly maintain and store your putty knife to ensure its longevity and optimal performance.

Putty knives are essential tools for achieving smooth, even surfaces and repairing imperfections in preparation for painting or wallpapering. By selecting the appropriate putty knife and employing proper techniques, you’ll be able to achieve professional-looking results in your home improvement projects.

Extension Pole

An extension pole is a telescopic tool used to extend your reach when painting or wallpapering high walls, ceilings, or other elevated surfaces. It attaches to paint rollers, brushes, or other compatible tools, allowing you to work comfortably and efficiently without the need for a ladder or step stool. Here’s what you need to know about extension poles:

Length and Adjustability: Extension poles come in various lengths, typically ranging from 2 to 12 feet or more. The length you choose depends on the height of the surfaces you need to reach. Adjustable extension poles offer flexibility as they allow you to adjust the length to your desired reach. They often have a locking mechanism or twist-and-lock feature to secure the extended length.

Materials: Extension poles are commonly made of lightweight and durable materials such as aluminium, fibreglass, or composite materials. Aluminium extension poles are lightweight and suitable for most painting and wallpapering tasks. Fiberglas poles are more rigid and provide extra strength, making them ideal for heavier tools or extended use. Composite poles offer a balance between durability and weight, often incorporating both aluminium and fibreglass components.

Compatibility: Extension poles are designed to be compatible with various tools, including paint rollers, brushes, dusters, and even window cleaning attachments. Ensure that the extension pole you choose has a universal threaded tip or a compatible connection mechanism that fits the tools you plan to use.

Benefits and Advantages

Increased Reach: The primary advantage of an extension pole is its ability to extend your reach, allowing you to comfortably paint or wallpaper high walls and ceilings without the need for a ladder. This eliminates the safety risks and inconvenience associated with constantly repositioning a ladder or working from an unstable surface.

Time and Energy Savings: With an extension pole, you can cover larger areas more quickly, reducing the time and effort required to complete your project. It enables you to work in a more continuous and efficient manner, without the interruption of constantly moving a ladder.

Consistent Coverage: Extension poles provide better control and balance, resulting in more consistent coverage when using a paint roller or brush. This helps achieve an even coat of paint or adhesive, reducing the likelihood of visible roller marks or uneven application.

Safety Considerations: While extension poles can make painting or wallpapering safer by eliminating the need for ladders, it’s essential to still follow safety precautions. Ensure that the extension pole is securely attached to the tool and that the locking mechanism is engaged. Be mindful of your surroundings and maintain stability while working at heights. Always use caution and follow proper safety guidelines.

Storage and Maintenance: When not in use, collapse or retract the extension pole to its shortest length for easier storage. Clean the pole regularly to remove any dust, dirt, or dried paint. Inspect the pole for any signs of damage or wear, such as bent sections or loose connections. Replace any worn or damaged parts to ensure the pole remains sturdy and safe to use.

Extension poles are valuable tools for reaching high surfaces and making painting or wallpapering tasks more convenient and efficient. By selecting the appropriate length and material, ensuring compatibility with your tools, and adhering to safety guidelines, you’ll be able to work comfortably at heights and achieve excellent results in your projects.

Paint Trimmer

A paint trimmer, also known as a paint edger or cutting-in tool, is a specialised tool used to achieve clean and precise lines along edges, corners, and trim while painting. It helps create a professional finish by providing a sharp boundary between different painted surfaces. Here’s what you need to know about paint trimmers:

Design and Function: Paint trimmers typically consist of a handle and a flat metal or plastic blade with a slight curve or angled edge. The blade is designed to guide the paint along the edge, creating a straight line and preventing paint from bleeding onto adjacent surfaces. Some paint trimmers have guide wheels or rollers attached to the blade, aiding in smoother movement and maintaining consistent height from the surface.

Usage: Paint trimmers are primarily used for “cutting-in” or painting along edges, corners, and trim where a roller or brush cannot provide the same level of precision. They are particularly useful for achieving clean lines between different colors, adjacent walls, or where walls meet ceilings, baseboards, or window frames.

Application Techniques: When using a paint trimmer, dip the edge of the blade into the paint, ensuring only a small amount is applied. Gently glide the trimmer along the edge, using steady and controlled strokes. Apply light pressure to ensure smooth application and avoid excess paint buildup. The curved or angled blade helps guide the paint along the edge, preventing smudges or uneven lines.

Suitable Surfaces: Paint trimmers are suitable for various surfaces, including walls, ceilings, trim, baseboards, and window frames. They work well on both smooth and textured surfaces, allowing for precise lines regardless of the texture.


Clean and Sharp Lines: The main advantage of using a paint trimmer is the ability to achieve clean, crisp lines with minimal effort. It helps create a professional finish and eliminates the need for time-consuming and less precise masking with painter’s tape.

Time and Effort Savings: Paint trimmers allow for quick and efficient edge cutting, saving time and effort compared to using a brush alone. They enable you to work more efficiently and accurately, reducing the need for touch-ups or corrections.

Versatility: Paint trimmers are versatile tools that can be used with a variety of paints, including latex and oil-based paints. They can also be used with different sheens, such as flat, satin, or gloss, without compromising the quality of the finish.

Maintenance and Cleaning: After each use, clean the paint trimmer thoroughly with warm water and mild soap. Remove any excess paint or residue from the blade and handle, ensuring that it is completely clean and dry before storing it. Inspect the tool for any signs of wear or damage, such as bent blades or loose connections. Replace any worn or damaged parts to maintain the effectiveness of the paint trimmer.

Paint trimmers are valuable tools for achieving precise and professional-looking results along edges, corners, and trim. By using a paint trimmer in conjunction with brushes or rollers, you can enhance the overall finish of your painting project and achieve clean, well-defined lines.

Tools for Wallpapering

A wallpaper steamer is a specialised tool used to remove wallpaper by softening the adhesive underneath with steam. It simplifies the wallpaper removal process, making it easier and more efficient. Here’s what you need to know about wallpaper steamers:

Design and Components: A wallpaper steamer typically consists of a boiler unit, a hose, and a steam plate or wand attachment. The boiler unit contains water that is heated to produce steam. The hose connects the boiler unit to the steam plate or wand, allowing the controlled release of steam onto the wallpaper.

Steam Generation and Control: Wallpaper steamers use electricity or gas to heat the water inside the boiler unit, generating steam. The steam is then released through the attachment onto the wallpaper, softening the adhesive and loosening the wallpaper for removal. Some wallpaper steamers offer adjustable steam control, allowing you to regulate the steam output based on the wallpaper type or thickness.

Benefits of Wallpaper Steamers

Efficient Wallpaper Removal: Wallpaper steamers make the process of removing wallpaper faster and more efficient compared to traditional methods. The steam penetrates the wallpaper, softening the adhesive, and making it easier to peel away the wallpaper in larger sections.

Minimises Surface Damage: By softening the adhesive with steam, wallpaper steamers help prevent surface damage that may occur when using scraping tools alone. This reduces the likelihood of gouging or scratching the underlying wall surface.

Versatile: Wallpaper steamers can be used on various types of wallpaper, including vinyl, fabric-backed, and traditional paper wallpapers. They are effective for both strippable and non-strippable wallpapers, allowing for successful removal regardless of the wallpaper’s characteristics.

Environmentally Friendly: Wallpaper steamers use steam as the primary method of wallpaper removal, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals or solvents. This makes them an environmentally friendly option for wallpaper removal.

Usage and Safety Considerations: When using a wallpaper steamer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Start by filling the boiler unit with water and allowing it to heat until steam is produced. Hold the steam plate or wand attachment against the wallpaper for a few seconds to allow the steam to penetrate. Once the adhesive is softened, use a wallpaper scraper or putty knife to gently lift and remove the wallpaper. Be cautious of hot steam and ensure proper ventilation in the room during the process.

Safety Precautions: When working with a wallpaper steamer, be mindful of safety precautions:

  • Protect yourself by wearing heat-resistant gloves and safety goggles to shield against steam and potential debris.
  • Ensure the power supply is grounded and use caution when working with electrical connections and water.
  • Be aware of the potential for burns from hot steam or the steam plate attachment. Keep hands and body parts away from the steam release area.
  • Take care not to over-steam or saturate the wallpaper, as excessive moisture can damage the wall surface or lead to additional repairs.

Cleaning and Maintenance: After using a wallpaper steamer, allow it to cool down before emptying any remaining water from the boiler unit. Clean the steam plate or wand attachment thoroughly to remove any adhesive residue or debris. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning guidelines and maintenance requirements.

Wallpaper steamers are effective tools for efficiently removing wallpaper by utilising steam to soften the adhesive. By following proper usage and safety guidelines, you can simplify the wallpaper removal process and achieve successful results while minimising damage to the underlying wall surface.

Wallpaper Smoothing Brush

A wallpaper smoothing brush, also known as a wallpaper brush or seam roller, is a specialised tool used during the installation or removal of wallpaper. It helps ensure a smooth and bubble-free application or removal of wallpaper, resulting in a professional and seamless finish. Here’s what you need to know about wallpaper smoothing brushes:

Design and Construction: A wallpaper smoothing brush typically consists of a handle and a wide brush head. The brush head is made of bristles or soft fibres that are firmly attached to the handle. The brush head may be rectangular, square, or oval in shape, depending on the specific design of the brush.

Using a Wallpaper Smoothing Brush

Wallpaper Installation: During wallpaper installation, the smoothing brush is used to eliminate air bubbles, creases, and wrinkles. It helps adhere the wallpaper securely to the wall surface, ensuring a smooth and even application. The brush is gently pressed against the wallpaper, starting from the center and working outward toward the edges. This process helps to evenly distribute the wallpaper adhesive and remove any trapped air bubbles for a seamless finish.

Wallpaper Removal: When removing wallpaper, the smoothing brush assists in loosening the wallpaper from the wall surface. It is used in conjunction with a wallpaper steamer or wallpaper stripping solution to help lift and loosen the wallpaper for easy removal. The brush is pressed against the wallpaper, providing extra leverage to peel away the paper in larger sections.

Benefits of Wallpaper Smoothing Brushes

Smooth and Bubble-Free Application: The primary advantage of using a wallpaper smoothing brush during installation is the ability to achieve a smooth and bubble-free application. The brush helps to evenly distribute the adhesive and eliminate air bubbles or wrinkles for a professional finish.

Efficient Wallpaper Removal: During wallpaper removal, the brush aids in the process by helping to lift and loosen the wallpaper from the wall surface. It provides additional leverage and control, making the removal process more efficient and minimising damage to the underlying wall.

Versatility: Wallpaper smoothing brushes are versatile tools that can be used with various types of wallpaper, including vinyl, fabric-backed, and traditional paper wallpapers. They are suitable for use on smooth or textured walls and work well with both strippable and non-strippable wallpapers.

Handling and Technique: When using a wallpaper smoothing brush, hold the handle firmly and apply even pressure on the brush head. For wallpaper installation, start from the center of the wallpaper and move outward toward the edges, ensuring that any air bubbles or creases are smoothed out. For wallpaper removal, press the brush against the wallpaper while peeling it away from the wall, assisting in the removal process.

Cleaning and Maintenance: After each use, clean the wallpaper smoothing brush with warm water and mild soap to remove any adhesive residue or debris. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to air dry. Ensure that the brush is completely dry before storing it to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.

Wallpaper smoothing brushes are essential tools for achieving a smooth and professional-looking finish during wallpaper installation or removal. By using a wallpaper smoothing brush correctly and following proper techniques, you can ensure a seamless and bubble-free wallpaper application or removal process.

Wallpaper Paste

Wallpaper paste, also known as wallpaper adhesive or wallpaper glue, is a specialised adhesive used to attach wallpaper to walls or other surfaces. It plays a vital role in ensuring proper adhesion, durability, and longevity of the wallpaper installation. Here’s what you need to know about wallpaper paste.

Types of Wallpaper Paste

Pre-Mixed Wallpaper Paste: Pre-mixed wallpaper paste comes ready to use, eliminating the need for additional mixing. It is convenient and time-saving, as it is already in the correct consistency for application. Pre-mixed paste is available in different formulas suitable for various types of wallpaper, such as paper-backed, vinyl, or fabric-backed wallpapers.

Powdered Wallpaper Paste: Powdered wallpaper paste requires mixing with water before use. It typically comes in a powdered form and needs to be carefully measured and mixed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Powdered paste is available in different formulations and provides versatility in terms of consistency and strength.

Application and Mixing: When using powdered wallpaper paste, carefully measure the appropriate amount of paste into a clean bucket or container. Gradually add the required amount of water while stirring the mixture with a stir stick or paddle. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct water-to-paste ratio and mixing time.

Wallpaper Compatibility: Different wallpapers may require specific types of paste for optimal adhesion. Ensure that the wallpaper paste you choose is compatible with the type of wallpaper you are installing. For example, vinyl wallpapers often require a specific vinyl-over-vinyl adhesive, while delicate or fragile wallpapers may need a gentle paste formulation.

Hanging Time: After mixing the wallpaper paste, allow it to rest or “book” for the recommended time specified by the manufacturer. This resting period allows the paste to fully activate and achieve the proper consistency for application. It ensures that the paste evenly saturates the wallpaper, improving adhesion and preventing seam separation.

Application Techniques

Roll-On Application: Wallpaper paste is typically applied using a paint roller or brush. Start by applying an even coat of paste to the backside of the wallpaper, ensuring complete coverage. Work from the centre to the edges, avoiding excessive paste buildup or puddling. Fold the pasted wallpaper onto itself (booking) to activate the adhesive and allow it to rest for the recommended booking time.

Paste-the-Wall Application: Some modern wallpapers and adhesive-backed wallpapers allow for a “paste-the-wall” application technique. In this case, the paste is applied directly to the wall surface using a roller or brush. The wallpaper is then positioned onto the pasted wall, adjusted as necessary, and smoothed into place.

Safety and Environmental Considerations: Pay attention to the safety precautions provided by the manufacturer on the wallpaper paste packaging. Some wallpaper pastes may contain chemicals, so it is important to follow proper ventilation and safety guidelines during use. Consider using low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) or environmentally friendly wallpaper pastes if you have concerns about indoor air quality or environmental impact.

Clean-up and Storage: Clean any excess paste from the surface of the wallpaper immediately using a damp sponge or cloth. After completing the installation, properly dispose of any leftover paste or paste containers according to local waste disposal regulations. Store unused wallpaper paste in a cool, dry place and seal the container tightly to prevent drying or spoilage.

Wallpaper paste is a crucial component in the successful installation of wallpaper. By selecting the appropriate type of paste for your wallpaper, following the recommended application techniques, and adhering to safety guidelines, you can achieve a durable and long-lasting wallpaper installation.

Wallpaper Seam Roller

A wallpaper seam roller is a specialised tool used during the installation of wallpaper. It helps to create smooth and flat seams, ensuring a professional and seamless finish. Here’s what you need to know about wallpaper seam rollers:

Design and Construction: A wallpaper seam roller typically consists of a handle and a small cylindrical roller at the end. The roller is made of durable material, such as hard rubber or nylon, that allows for even pressure and smooth rolling. Some seam rollers have a smooth surface, while others may feature ridges or grooves for specific wallpaper textures.

Wallpaper Installation: During wallpaper installation, the seam roller is used to press down and flatten seams between wallpaper strips. It ensures secure adhesion of the wallpaper to the wall surface, eliminates air bubbles or wrinkles, and creates a seamless appearance. The roller is gently rolled over the seam, exerting even pressure to create a tight bond.

Benefits of Wallpaper Seam Rollers:

Smooth and Flat Seams: The primary advantage of using a wallpaper seam roller during installation is the ability to achieve smooth and flat seams. The roller helps to securely bond the wallpaper edges, ensuring a seamless appearance without visible gaps or overlaps.

Enhanced Adhesion: By exerting even pressure along the seams, the seam roller helps to ensure proper adhesion of the wallpaper to the wall surface. This reduces the likelihood of peeling or lifting over time and enhances the overall durability of the wallpaper installation.

Handling and Technique: When using a wallpaper seam roller, hold the handle firmly and roll the roller over the seam with gentle, consistent pressure. Start from the centre of the seam and roll outward toward the edges, ensuring complete coverage. It’s important to avoid excessive pressure that may damage the wallpaper or underlying wall surface.

Cleaning and Maintenance: After each use, wipe the wallpaper seam roller with a damp cloth to remove any adhesive residue or debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that may damage the roller. Allow the roller to air dry before storing it to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.

Safety Considerations

When working with a wallpaper seam roller, be mindful of safety precautions:

  • Protect yourself by wearing safety goggles and gloves to shield against debris or potential hazards.
  • Use caution when working near corners or delicate areas to avoid tearing or damaging the wallpaper.
  • Ensure proper ventilation in the room, especially when using adhesive-based wallpapers or when working in confined spaces.

Wallpaper seam rollers are essential tools for achieving smooth and seamless wallpaper installations. By using a wallpaper seam roller correctly and following proper techniques, you can ensure tight and flat seams, resulting in a professional and polished finish.

Measuring Tape

A measuring tape, also known as a tape measure, is a flexible and retractable tool used to measure distances, lengths, and dimensions accurately. It is a fundamental tool in various fields, including construction, carpentry, sewing, and home improvement projects.

Utility Knife

A utility knife, also known as a box cutter, retractable knife or Stanley knife, is a versatile cutting tool used in various applications. It is commonly used for cutting materials such as cardboard, carpet, vinyl flooring, drywall, and more. Here’s what you need to know about utility knives:

Design and Components: A utility knife typically consists of a handle and a retractable blade. The handle is often made of plastic or metal, providing a comfortable grip during use. The blade is sharp and can be extended or retracted into the handle as needed. Some utility knives feature a locking mechanism to secure the blade in the desired position.

Blade Options: Utility knives offer different blade options, allowing for versatility in cutting various materials. Some common blade types include:

  • Standard Straight Blade: This is the most common blade type, featuring a sharp straight edge suitable for general-purpose cutting tasks.
  • Hook Blade: Hook blades have a curved design with a hooked end, making them ideal for cutting materials like carpet or vinyl flooring.
  • Scoring Blade: Scoring blades have a fine, serrated edge that allows for precise scoring and cutting of materials like drywall or wallpaper.
  • Replaceable Blades: Many utility knives have replaceable blades, allowing you to swap out dull or damaged blades for fresh ones.

Safety Features: Utility knives often come with safety features to minimize accidents or injuries:

  • Retractable Blade: The retractable blade can be safely stored inside the handle when not in use, reducing the risk of accidental cuts.
  • Blade Locking Mechanism: Many utility knives have a locking mechanism that secures the blade in place during cutting, preventing accidental retraction.
  • Blade Breakaway Sections: Some utility knife blades have segmented sections that can be snapped off when they become dull, providing a fresh cutting edge.

Safety Guidelines: When using a utility knife, follow these safety guidelines:

  • Always cut away from your body and keep your fingers and other body parts away from the path of the blade.
  • Use caution and apply moderate pressure while cutting to avoid slipping or overexertion.
  • Ensure that the blade is properly secured and locked in place before use.
  • Dispose of used or damaged blades safely by retracting them fully or using a blade disposal container.

Maintenance: To maintain a utility knife, keep the blade clean and free from debris that can affect its cutting performance. If the utility knife has a replaceable blade, swap out dull or damaged blades for new ones. Check the handle for any signs of wear or damage and replace it if necessary to ensure a secure and comfortable grip.

Utility knives are versatile cutting tools that find applications in a wide range of tasks. By using a utility knife properly and following safety guidelines, you can achieve precise and efficient cutting results in various materials, making it an essential tool for home improvement projects, crafts, and more.

Sugar soap

Used for cleaning grime and dirt from painted walls before painting or wallpapering. It’s available as a powder or a liquid and mixed with warm water to use. You can also use it to clean walls if they’re particularly dirty. After applying it to the wall, you’ll need to rinse it off with clean water.

Step ladders

A decent set of step ladders is essential when decorating. You’ll need to reach into high corners and paint the ceiling and the top of the walls. You could use a paintbrush or roller extension but I much prefer to use step ladders. Most step ladders are made from aluminium so they’re light and easy to carry, but strong when in use.

Tape measure

Retractable tape measures don’t cost much but come in handy when doing DIY jobs around the home. You’ll need one for measuring the room so you know how much paint or wallpaper to buy.


Used for marking wood, wallpaper and other bits and pieces.

Plumb line

A weight is attached to a thin piece of string or cord that will give you a vertical level.

Spirit level

Used for checking horizontal levels. Spirit levels come in a range of lengths.

Stanley knife

AKA utility knife.

Filler knife

For filling holes and cracks in wood and plaster.

Wallpaper scraper

You’ll need one of these to help scrape old wallpaper off the wall. Also known as a ‘putty knife’.

Wallpaper steam stripper

Definitely, the best way to remove wallpaper from a wall. A cheap one will set you back about £30 but saves a ton of time and elbow grease. The whole family uses mine.

Wallpaper pasting table

Used for measuring, cutting and pasting wallpaper before hanging.

Wallpaper paste brush

Used for applying wallpaper paste to the strips of wallpaper.

Two buckets or trays

One for paste, the other for an easily accessible supply of clean water.


For cleaning.

Wallpaper brush

Used for brushing away air bubbles that inevitably appear under strips of wallpaper during the hanging process.

Wallpaper seam roller

A wallpaper seam roller is a specialised tool used during wallpaper installation to achieve seamless seams between wallpaper strips. It has a small roller head designed to apply pressure and smooth out the seams, ensuring that the wallpaper adheres properly to the wall surface.

The roller head is typically made of durable materials like rubber or nylon. Using a wallpaper seam roller helps eliminate air bubbles and wrinkles, creating a professional-looking finish. It’s easy to use – simply roll the seam roller over the seams in a consistent and even manner.

Wallpaper scissors (10″ (250mm))

Wallpaper scissors, also known as wallpaper shears or wallpaper trimmers, are specialised tools used for cutting wallpaper during installation or removal.

They have long blades made of stainless steel or carbon steel for precise cuts. The scissors feature an ergonomic design for comfortable grip and control.

Some may have a non-stick coating to prevent adhesive residue from sticking. They can also be used for other tasks like trimming fabric.

Maintenance includes keeping the blades clean and sharp. Safety precautions should be taken when using wallpaper scissors.

Standard scissors (4″ – 5″ (100mm – 125mm))

For the more intricate cuts around light switches, electrical sockets etc.