Decorating for First Time Buyers – How Not to Do It

It’s your first real estate in Malta and you want to do your own home decoration. Some ‘Do-It-Yourself’ stories speak of success, some are best left untold. Then again, you can be positive and consider that DIY disasters can contribute to a fair measure of experience gained the hard way. But if you’d rather avoid mishaps, we understand.

Take wall-paper. The idea is to fit a room with it once and then forget about it… no more annual re-paint jobs needed. Fine idea but… wallpaper glue can be extremely messy to work with for the un-initiated.  Be sure to follow instructions and mix in just enough water – too little will create tough glue, too much will create wishy-washy glue that runs…. fast. Too much glue and the paper puckers in places and needs re-fitting, or slicing slightly to let the air bubbles or the glue globules out. Then again, if you don’t quite measure the length of the wallpaper strips properly, you’ll be left with some ugly and unkempt endings at the top edge of the ceiling. If it’s your first wallpapering adventure, choose block colour paper rather than paper which comes with a design. Designs will have to be meticulously matched and strips have to be measured carefully to make sure you get unified designs on those walls. Unless you are very patient and willing to carry on with it, then you’d better choose some other way to spend a Sunday morning. If you’re trying to disguise an unsightly wall, try using textured wallpaper – it is usually the best trick. Eventually, much like wrapping books with self-adhesive plastic, the whole project eventually falls into place but be prepared for these mishaps. So, if you’re intending to get on with it albeit your inexperience, start experimenting with cheap wallpaper on the walls of the broom cupboard and don’t start off with super-expensive designer wallpaper on the living room walls.


Whatever your project at hand make sure you remove perishables to safer quarters, cover up anything you cannot move out of the room with old sheets, and use newspapers to cover up floors. Paint, limewash and cement are particularly cruel to aluminium or metals in general, so cover up those banisters, door or window frames well. Use lots of  masking tape to line such frames so you get an even outline once the tape is removed. But don’t leave the masking tape basking in the sunshine for too long… after days of sunshine, it will have baked hard and firm, and you will have a feat on your hands trying to scrape it off.

Ultimately – Think safety. Emergency rooms will tell you that most injuries happen at home, are self-inflicted and caused by inexperience, hurry and negligence…. and the victims are usually DIY in-experts. Read instructions on chemically-laden mixtures, solutions and paint…. before opening up the tin, tub or tube. Use gloves, eye protection, knee pads, safety shoes and gloves as recommended. If you do not posses safety shoes, make sure you wear non-slip ones. Sturdy ladders are a must and a helping hand is always useful.

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This article was written by Marika Azzopardi, a freelance writer and journalist. A frequent contributor to national English language papers and magazines, she writes about a bevy of topics including art, people and life in general. She is also the author of children’s books and short stories, delving into adult fiction from time to time.