Painting the Kitchen

So, in our post on the book nook we discussed the merits of sometimes splashing out on paint, because sometimes it's better to pay for quality rather than having to keep paying to patch up. Let's face facts, we're not made of money but neither can we keep affording to come back and patch up mistakes that should never have been made. We have done that before and when you sit down to add up all the money and time you've thrown at it you were probably better off stretching your budget first time. However, after awhile you learn some tricks to rake back any money you spend on decorating. This comes in the form of a very large tub of Leyland brilliant white which we have been using as an undercoat in the kitchen. We have enough left to do our bedroom and Little D's, meaning that our undercoat for three rooms comes to a grand total of £12.99 ($17 or €15); these rooms are not small, the kitchen alone is 22 foot long (6.7m). So, how do we approach painting new plaster?

How to paint new plaster

New plaster is a hungry beast and we always water down any undercoat with water, a 50:50 ratio. You are best doing this outdoors on some tarpaulin or old cardboard, do it on something you're not fussed about spilling paint on; trust us, you'll be incredibly ticked off if you spill brilliant white paint on stone flooring. Mix it altogether in clean bucket, do not be suckered into buying those paint buckets, you can pick up a cheap bucket for 99p ($1.32 or €1.12, visit us after Brexit when a bucket costs half of Birmingham), mix your water and paint with a stick or the paint brush you are going to use. The trick in painting walls for the first time is not to use a roller. We hate rollers -- they don't save time, they just make a mess. Think about it, you added water, this stuff will spray everywhere. We use a large paint brush, taking off any excess paint on the rim of the bucket. Less is more here and though it looks thin going on it will dry quickly, do not be tempted to add a second coat, leave for at least 4 hours and at best 24 hours. To give you an idea of how well it covers, above you can see the raw plaster and below you can see it after one coat of that 50:50 mix.

Painting plaster for the first time, some tips to save money

The grey areas on the wall are not areas we have missed, these are stones that butt out of the wall and which we thought, 'Sod it, let's make them a feature'. When we came to painting around the stone work we did use a smaller brush. The great thing about brushes over rollers is that they're easier to control, and easier to wash afterwards. Never over load a brush with paint, it shouldn't drip as it moves from bucket to wall. You want to get the paint on the wall, not the floor, or you, or the furniture, or the ramblers wandering past in the road. As it is an undercoat you don't have to keep going the same way with brush. This goes for any quality paint too when doing a final coat. A good brush won't streak the walls. A good paint won't be patchy when finished. Sometimes it's better to save a little longer, we saved for seven years to complete the kitchen.

Save for the best and have patience.

As we said in our previous post, 1/8th of a bucket covered the walls under the stairs, most of the ceiling and the wall. It's hard to get across in a photo how much light is now bouncing around our kitchen. We'll be applying a second coat soon, yes we'll still be using a brush and after we have completed all the woodwork we'll turn to the more expensive paint to complete the walls. We're saving money by doing the work ourselves, and sometimes that the best option for all of us. That is the difference between a house and home, how much of yourself you have put into it.


  1. Looking good. TBH it would be better to use a proper sealant, we did both in our house when we had new ceilings done, the one with the sealant has stayed fine but the one with the watered down emulsion paint has pealed badly.

    1. Thanks for the advice, Liz. We discovered a few years back that paint tends to peel on plaster not fully dried out. Our plaster has been drying for six months. I know you can add PVA to the paint and this prevents peeling too.