First-time home owner - decorating with friends the easy way

First-time home owner - decorating with friends the easy way

Author Aira Torralba

If you’re a first-time buyer on a budget, you’ll want to make your new residence ‘feel like home’. One way to do that is to extend the housewarming invitation: ask family and friends to help you get stuck into those all-important decorating tasks.

  • Freshening up the kitchen as a team, perhaps, before you have that housewarming meal.
  • Quickly papering or painting a room for your children (or the grandchildren).
  • Maybe even getting everyone together, getting to grips with a bathroom and a loo that’s a little less clean than you’d like it to be.

However, is your party-painting plan really a good idea? It’ll probably be okay if your friends are interior designers by design. But if Dad was a disaster at DIY, and Mum always put odd colours together in your bedroom at home, then you may need some help.

Here are our tips for everyone lending a hand, without things getting out of hand…

Tip 1 – relax

Be happy about your new home! Enjoy yourself! Decorating isn’t supposed to be a military exercise, and if you’re stressed out before you begin, things are bound to go badly. Remember, it’s only a lick of paint. If you don’t like it – that’s the beauty of having bought your own home. You can always change it. Later. When everyone’s gone home.

Tip 2 – do make a plan

Believe it or not, people love structure. So while written Job Sheets and Timesheets may be a step too far, an overall guide to what’s going on, that everyone can see, will help things go smoothly.

  • A marker pen, a large sheet of paper, and a ‘hit list’ of who’s doing what taped to the kitchen door will gently remind Mum she’s not supposed to be chatting to you, she should be washing down the walls in the other room between mid-day and 2pm.
  • More people in your home means more trips to the loo. Add a budget pack of loo-roll to your shopping list, and a couple of inexpensive, pump-action hand-soap dispensers. You won’t regret it.

Tip 3 – plan to take breaks

Even if you’ve promised a take-away meal for everyone at the end of the day, it’s important to have drinks and snacks on hand throughout the day. Low sugar levels have a tendency to impact even the firmest friendships.

  • Tell everyone you’re taking a break, together, half way through the morning and then again in the afternoon. It’s a brilliant opportunity to catch up for 5 minutes, see how things are going – and perhaps swap people round (if Dad’s wallpapering skills turn out to be less than ideal).
  • In addition to tea, coffee, or soft drinks, make sure there’s plenty of water available. Better still, find a discount store locally and pick up a stack of strong, disposable paper cups. That, and a bin-bag taped to the kitchen sink, is a great way to avoid loads of washing up. (Paper plates are also useful for decorating weekends).
  • Don’t be tempted to hand out alcohol during the day.

Finally, sit back and relax

Remember this is your home. Parents – even close friends – may have strong ideas about mood boards, colours, the latest trends and what works well as interior design. And if you’re stuck for ideas, that’s great. But if you have your own feelings about what needs doing, and what your home should look like – share them.

It’s much better to spend half a minute making your point now, than to live for months and months with unwanted ‘Neon Shock Cerise’ on your bathroom walls or ‘Gormenghast Green’ on the ceilings. 

For more decorating tips, try these articles too:

Plan it in advance

Knowing what you’re capable of and how much your budget is helps to make sure your first foray into decorating will be a success.

What’s possible, what’s not?

Hour-long projects, half-day decorating ideas – a quick guide to what’s possible in a weekend, and what may be a step too far as a first-timer.

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