Decorating Materials

Tin of white paint and a small paintbrush

When you are about to embark on an interior decorating project the best way to go about it is get all your materials together at the start, that way you wont have to rush out in the middle of a paint job and buy an essential item.

Here’s a list of some of the most essential decorating materials and why you need them.


Paint is of course an obvious item, but there are many different kinds of paint and you may not be sure which is the right one for you. Here’s a paint guide to help you decide.

  • Primer Primer is applied as an undercoat if the surface you are painting is porous or you are applying a type of paint over a precious coat of paint that is incompatible -such as a latex paint over an alkyd. For kitchens and bathrooms, choose a primer with a stain remover that is mildew resistant.
  • Acrylic Acrylic paint should be used for baseboards and trim.
  • Oil based paint This type of paint is used for cabinets and other surfaces that are frequently touched. The oil content in these paints stops the oils and acids in your skin from causing the paint to deteriorate over time.
  • High-gloss This type of paint is easy to clean but it shows up even the slightest imperfection on the painted surface.
  • Eggshell Eggshell finishes are flat. Over the past few years their quality as been improving; they are now becoming more durable and are easier to clean.

Brushes and Rollers

Brushes can be efficient for painting any area no matter how small or large, but if you have a poor quality brush then you will get a poor finish. Paint brush filaments are made from animal bristles (including hog bristle) and manmade filaments including nylon, polyester and other synthetics.

Tapered polyester filaments are recommended for all paints. They do not absorb water or lose resiliency as do natural bristles and nylon. Natural bristles work well only with oil-based paints. Nylon can be used with latex paints or oil-based paints.

Rollers are often a more convenient choice if you have a large area to cover, particularly a ceiling. A 5-gallon bucket with a roller grid is preferable to a roller pan, as it will hold more paint than a pan. A painter’s rod, or pole, can help you paint ceilings more quickly.

There are basically two types of roller:

  • Natural Oil-based paints work best with natural materials, such as mohair or lambs’ wool.
  • Synthetic These rollers are made of nylon, polyester, or a combination. Use with water-based paints.


The two most common thinners used are water (for emulsions/acrylic) and turpentine substitute or white spirit (for solvent/oil based paints). Special spirit thinners are needed for cellulose paints.


If your hand is a little unsteady or you don’t know how to cut into the edges with a paint brush, then you probably want to use tape around the edges of your surface. Choose a good one and make sure it is firmly in place because sometimes paint can bleed behind the tape.

Drop Cloth/Dust Sheet

No matter how careful you are, some paint splatter is inevitable so a good drop cloth is a must. The best material for a drop cloth is heavy canvas.

Plastic is slippery and can be very messy. If you have hardwood floors be sure to vacuum before you lay down the cloth to avoid any scratching to the floor.

See Also
Paint roller
Tips for a Perfect Paint Job
Colour card
Decorating Rented Accommodation