Welcome to my comprehensive list of all the home decorating equipment and tools you need to keep your house or flat looking smart and presentable. Under the umbrella term ‘home decorating’ I include painting, wallpapering and ongoing cosmetic maintenance.
You can buy cheap versions of all this equipment from markets, hardware shops and online. But I’m a firm believer in avoiding the cheapest gear and instead buying mid- to top of the range tools and equipment. The main reason for this is because cheap gear will break easier than their more expensive counterparts. And I don’t like buying the same tool twice! I also prefer brands I recognise and trust (Stanley, Purdy, Dulux, Crown etc).
This list is fairly comprehensive and includes all the gear you need to decorate your home. You don’t need to own everything on it straight away, just buy the stuff you need when you need it.
- Paintbrushes – Ideally, you’ll have a range of paintbrushes between 1/2″ (12mm) and 3″ (75mm). You can buy differently sized paintbrushes in multipacks of three, five, ten and twenty. Cheap brushes are fine for minor jobs, but if you want a high-end finish, you’re better off paying once for good quality paintbrushes you can use time and again, rather than buying new ones every few years. The secret to making paintbrushes last a long time is proper cleaning and storage after every use. Check out my 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
- Paint roller and tray – Use a paint roller and tray when painting walls or other large surfaces. You typically buy them in two different sizes – 9″ and 4″. The smaller ones are for little jobs like painting behind a radiator and smaller surfaces. The painting trays are made from plastic and the roller sleeves are made from various materials depending on usage
- White spirit or turps – You only need this for cleaning paintbrushes when using oil-based paint
- Dustsheet – An absolute must for protecting laminate flooring, carpet, hardwood flooring and furniture. Old sheets and towels will do the job if you don’t want to buy an actual dustsheet
- Masking tape – Used for protecting walls, windows and other surfaces when painting an adjacent surface.
- 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.
- Sandpaper – We use sandpaper on wood and plastered surfaces to create a smooth finish and to help paint stick. It’s available in a range of grades, from very smooth (for light work) to very rough (for harder work). Typically, but it all depends on the type of work you’re doing, you start with a higher grade and work down to lower grades for finishing-off.
- 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.
- Pencil – Used for marking wood, wallpaper and other bits and pieces.
- Plumb line – A weight 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.
- Sponge(s) – For cleaning.
- Wallpaper brush – Used for brushing away air bubbles that inevitably appear under strips of wallpaper during the hanging process.
- Small, medium to soft roller – To press down the edges of the wallpaper.
- Wallpaper scissors (10″ (250mm)) – For cutting wallpaper.
- Standard scissors (4″ – 5″ (100mm – 125mm)) – For the more intricate cuts around light switches, electrical sockets etc.