Your #lockdown decorating questions answered part II

21st May 2020


When lockdown was announced, we all found ourselves in our own homes twiddling our thumbs with time we would otherwise be losing to commuting and socialising.

For many however – lockdown has presented an opportunity to do all those jobs in the home that we have in the past all too readily found excuses not to do. Indeed, it would seem a perfect opportunity to invest into your home. In Mad About the House’s recent blog ‘Lockdown Decorating Tips‘, Kate Watson-Smyth cites that twenty one per cent of those surveyed by Barclays reckoned the DIY jobs they have been doing could have added up to £2,000 to the value of their property with 11 per cent thinking it might be up to £5,000!

Even more significantly, Mad About The House notes that 57 per cent of respondents said they had taken on tasks they would normally leave to the professionals. It didn’t take us long to clock this spike in DIY decorating and home improvements either. Last month – traditionally ‘decorating month’ – saw even more paint orders than normal as we helped customers plan their new painting projects.

Not everybody realises that Paint the Town Green is a decorating company as well as a paint shop. Decorating is actually how it all began. With well over ten years under our belt, we are experts in our field. We look always to improve the service we provide and we only employ hard working decorators who are able to work to the high standards we have come to expect from our team.

It is because we are a decorating company, we really are more than just a paint shop. We do a lot of colour consultancy, which is a favourite part of what we do; but we are also very happy to advise our customers on best decorating practices too, whether they choose our decorating service or not. There is little point in sending a customer out the door with a lovely provençale shade of blue for up-cycling a tired chest of drawers if they don’t know how to sand and prep it first. For starters, without the correct primer, the paint won’t stick and the hard work involved in up-cycling this piece will feel redundant as the paint starts to flake off.

Which was why – when lockdown struck – we opened up our metaphorical doors (for our actual showroom sadly had to shut up shop) and invited everybody to email us in with their decorating queries. It was really exciting to see what projects people set themselves and help them on their way. It’s all about using the right products, the right tools with the right instructions and in the right order! From antique mirrors to rotten exterior windows – we have advised the correct course of action and if customer feedback is anything to go by, with resounding success. Our last blog covered a couple of questions customers asked. We can’t share them all as it would take too long but we picked out the ones we think will be the most useful for our readers in this blog, part I and part II.

As well, we also made a batch of self-isolation decoration online tutorials which addressed common questions people face when decorating at home. From ‘how to hang wallpaper‘ to ‘how to paint kitchen cabinets‘. These can be found here or on our IGTV (@paint_thetown_green). With its rather catchy theme tune (composed and performed no less by PTTG founder and keyboardist Phil Robinson), they have been really well received.

It’s all small stuff in the great scheme of things but we are pleased to help and to put a bit of effort into helping during these unprecedented times.  If you’re embarking on a DIY project, we hope these Q&A blogs provide some useful advice.

Step by Step

Dear Paint the Town Green,

With all this time on my hands, I am hoping to do some very long awaited DIY projects – one of which is to our staircase. I would like to repaint and wallpaper the risers. I’ve very little idea about decorating and so I have no idea what I need in the way of materials. I don’t want to completely strip the stairs, but instead, sand and prime and then top coat (I think that’s the process?). Can you advise on what I would need? We have 3 flights of stairs and so this is going to be a pretty big job and I reckon I will probably need to do the handrails too?

The process for painting your stairs and treads is reasonably straightforward, the complication is going to be in achieving the various effects on the risers. To paint the stairs, firstly you need to get all the surfaces a good rub down with some sand paper (I’d recommend 120 grit paper). You then need to do what we call “spot prime”. This is where you go around and paint primer on all the areas where the paint has flaked and the bare wood is showing. Once this is done you can then apply two coats of your paint. Now this is the very important bit – the paint you put on the treads (i.e. where you walk) needs to be floor paint. Otherwise it’s likely to flake and chip. That might be the issue you have with the existing. If it was done with an eggshell that may be why it is flaking.

If you’re painting the risers the same colour then you might as well use floor paint here as well but it’s not essential. For the effect you want on the risers, it looks like these will need to be wallpapered. For this, it may help to watch our IGTV tutorial (Episode 10) on wallpapering. The principals are the same.

The same painting system can be used on the skirting and spindles and newel posts, if you are painting these too but obviously there’s no need to use floor paint here. Eggshell would be the ideal finish for this. We don’t sell floor paint but our eggshell finish for wood is very popular. The finish gives a sophisticated natural sheen – not too matt and not too shiny. Good luck!

Alfresco Rosa

I have an outside garden bench that needs a makeover. It’s very rustic and it’s carving lends itself to a certain kind of ‘distressed’ finish – like this. This is for our garden for our home out in the country – a converted barn. It’s a mix of very contemporary and antique. The colour scheme will be pink (yes, you heard correctly!). Can you advise?

Antique Wooden Freestanding cabinet from Nukuku

Thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately we don’t do exterior paint so if this bench is to remain outside we won’t be able to supply the products you need.

However….the easiest way to get that look is to randomly rub a beeswax block fairly hard over edges and on the flats here and there. Then brush on wood primer ( suitable for exterior water based paint). When this is dry, paint your pink topcoat (a water-based exterior eggshell) all over. Then, when dry use a flat scraper and/or coarse wire wool with a heat gun (although don’t let the paint get hot enough to blister) and wherever the wax was rubbed on, the layers of paint will lift off. The more wax you put on at the start, the more wood will show. Good luck with it!


Dear Paint The Town Green, I was wondering if you could help? I was seeking advice on Instagram on how to paint laminate flooring and was advised to come to you for help. Do I need to sand it, so the paint sticks to the surface or do I use a primer? Thank you so much for your advice. I really appreciate it.

The best plan of action all depends Are you able to send me a photo of the flooring in question please? The best plan of action all depends on what you’ve got there. Looking at the pics you sent, it’s a tricky one to be totally honest with you. 

I would suggest a bit of trial and error in a discrete corner and see what gets the best results. You may find that the floor can be sanded if it has a thin layer of timber on top. However, if it’s not timber and has some sort of plastic coating it will tear when you try to sand it which we don’t want.

Irrespective of that I would definitely start with a primer. Products like Zinsser Bulls Eye® 1-2-3re designed to adhere to more surfaces. So I would recommend this or something similar. If it’s got a real timber top I can see in the photos a lot of knots there. These will need to be treated before painting, something like this is ideal for that. It’s the same brand as the first primer but this is Shellac based so is much more robust and will over most stains, knots etc. You may decide that it makes sense to prime the whole floor with this product. Ultimately this would give you a great base to work to. However, it absolutely stinks and has a high fume content so make sure you ventilate the area well and ideally wear a breathing mask if you have one. 

I would give serious consideration to using this product whilst in lockdown and therefore presumably sleeping at the property. Maybe do a small area one morning and judge the smell and level of fumes before doing the whole flat, finishing in the evening and then going straight to bed or you could wake up with a shocking headache. 

Once primed, two coats of a good quality floor paint should give you the look you’re after. To reiterate, do a test area in a discreet corner and make sure you’re happy with your technique and products before doing the whole place. Good luck! Would love to see pics when you’re done.

Pretty in pink

We all love a before and after picture! This customer was going to get rid of this little step stool as it had been abused by family members over the years and looked a little tired but thought they’d give it one last chance and see how it looked with a lick of paint. Choosing Peridot from our Nicky Haslam capsule collection ‘The Stones’ – they gave it a jolly good sand, a prime and two coats of pink. The transformation is quite remarkable. It now stands in the family pantry and used by all to reach the sweet treats that are meant to be out of everybody’s reach on the high shelves!

If you have any ‘how to’ decorating questions, just email – we’re happy to advise.


Paint the Town Green offer an in-house colour consultancy. Our eco-friendly paints have the lowest possible levels of VOCs making them a better choice for you and the environment. All water based, they are odourless, quick drying and come in three finishes: matt, wipeable or eggshell.

For more information about our paints or for a decorating quote, please visit our showroom at 39a&b Allfarthing Lane or call us on 020 8871 0531.










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