Sunday, 12 August 2012

Interior Decor

Well I'm nearing the end of the shed build. As I type this I'm waiting for the glue on the skirting board to set, and will likely be spending the next few days boxing up the mountain of paperwork and computer stuff on my desk, in preparation to move in!

In this post I'm going to detail what I've been doing over the last week. This includes painting the walls, painting the door/window (aka the wood work) and laying the floor.

Lets get started:

Interior Painting

I really didn't know what colour I wanted to paint the room. All I knew is that it had to be reasonably light, as there is only light coming in one one wall, which the sun doesn't shine on until late in the afternoon. 

With this in mind, I had planned to go with an off-white on three walls, and then a light green on one wall to add a bit of colour into the room. 

Well that didn't exactly happen. I went into homebase to see what paint was available and to try and get an idea of what I should go for. While I was there we accidentally found a 'clearance' shelf, with misc paints on it. 5 minutes later I'd picked out a coffee/mushroom type light colour for the three walls, and a darker chocolate colour for the feature wall, in addition to a "Liquor-off-white" colour for the ceiling. 

The total cost? £0.00. Yep, thats right. Free. 
  • The cost of the the light-coffee (big tin) colour was originally £32.99, but was reduced to £15. 
  • The cost of the chocolate tin (a smaller tin) was originally £14.99, but was reduced to £8.
  • The cost of the liquor-off-white (big tin) colour was originally £14.99 but was reduced to £8.
So thats £62.97 worth of paint, that once reduced was £31. However upon pulling the nectar card out we were informed that we could pay for it on the points we had, so did that instead, resulting in it being (effectively) free!

The paint went on beautifully and worked really well. I was a bit worried about the darker chocolate colour and that it may make the room seem too dark, but thankfully it doesn't.

Wood-work Painting

For the door/window/windowsill I had planned on staining the wood to a dark-brown colour, so bought a tin of Homebase wood stain, called something like "ash oak". On the tin, it was very dark, however once painted onto the windowsill, it came out a very ugly bright orange! Despite having three coats, it just looked terrible, so in the end I had to change the plan and go for white. This meant the wood had to first be primed before it could be painted. Here's where that nice bargain I got at homebase on the interior paint gets off-set. For the primer, undercoat and eggshell white paint it cost £60. A complete rip off, but I had little other options. 

Thankfully as it turned out, I didn't need the undercoat as the primer was a 2-in-1, so I can get £20 back on that. I still fell £40 is still a heck of a lot of money to paint such a small area white, but maybe I'm just being a tight git!

The whitework didn't come out brilliant, with a few streaky marks on the door, but it will suffice. I certainly wasn't going to go about doing it all over again, as by this point I'd already waisted 4 days in the process.


For the flooring, I opted for laminate. I did look into both carpet and solid (bamboo) wood, however for the low-cost and efficiency, laminate seemed like the best option. I'd have loved a solid bamboo floor, however I know it'd get scratched to bits and would need replacing in half the amount of time. 

The laminate I chose was a Wickes branded one called 'Butter Oak'. It's a mid-range flooring that uses a lock-together system, so doesn't require any glue. 

I used a silver-faced underlay, which acts as a vapor barrier in addition to levelling any minor imperfections. I'd have liked to use the green fibreboard, however from the information I've read, on thinner laminate flooring such as mine, it would have created a very bouncy floor. 

The silver underlay went down very easily, and has an adhesive strip on it to fix each length together. This creates a complete vapor seal (much like using aluminium tape on celotex does). 

Once the underlay was done, the flooring went down and was surprisingly quick and easy to do, with minimal cutting needed. In total it probably only took a couple of hours to do!
Laying the floor

Skirting Board

I added a pre-finished white skirting board around the edge of the room. I paid the extra for the pre-finished ones as not only is the paintwork way better than I could do (it looks like its sprayed on), but it would have saved me a good 2 days waiting for the primer and paint to dry.

The skirting boards were fixed to the wall using small soffet nails (which have a white head, making them blend in) and some instant grab adhesive. 

Room complete!

At this stage the room is now complete and ready to be used! There are still a number of fairly minor things to do on the outside (such as a guttering and another coat of exterior paint before winter), but these can all be done over the next couple of months. So long as they get done before the end of summer, it'll be fine. 

This certainly is not the end of the blog posts. I'll be posting a price roundup soon in addition to a tips and common problems that happened, as well as more photos of when I move in, how security is done, heating, lighting, etc as well as some posts after I've been in there over winter and such.

Floor and skirting board finished!
Another view from the door.

Completing the walls

(Sorry its been almost a month since the last post. I've not been able to upload pictures. All fixed now though!)

After the electrics were all finished in the last post, I set about completing the walls.

Joining/Taping the walls

Given that there were some fairly large gaps that needed filling (in most part due to my poor cutting of the plasterboard), I opted to go down the standard taping and filling route. Had the walls been a little more level with no gaps between the boards, I'd have probably not bothered.

As you'll know if you've been following the blog, I'm a complete DIY novice, so this was something completely new to me that I was convinced I'd royally screw up! I spent a good few hours researching the best way of doing the taping/filling. This included watching countless guides on youtube too.

When it came down to it though, this information was fairly useless and it's just a case of going for it and seeing what happens. So thats what I did!

The first few bits came out pretty poor, however once I got the hang of it and figured out how much filler you needed, it wasnt too bad.

For the edge of the door and windows, I used a metal corner bar to support the edges (aka "Plasterboard Anglebead" - pictured below). This will ensure that if the corners are nocked, it wont rip the (cut, so very flakey) plasterboard apart. These just tack onto the plasterboard, and were then covered with the tape (I used the mesh-style tape, not the solid paper style tape as this allows the filler to go in-between it) and then used filler to effectively make it part of the wall. The end result is that you cant see any part of the metalwork, and the corners are near perfect smooth 90 degree angles.
Wickes Metal Anglebead used to protect the corners of the walls.


Once the filler had dried, it needed sanding to get it as level as possible with the plasterboard. For this I used an electric sander. A word of warning. This is messy. In fact, its probably the worst and most messy part of my entire build. It took a good 6 hours of solid sanding to get a half decent result. The cleanup work afterwards took another good hour!

Final Result

The end result of the joint and taped walls was ok. It wasnt perfect, but then I never expected to get it perfect, this being my first time doing it.

To help smooth the walls even more, I used a 1200 grade lining paper, which made the walls MUCH better, with only a sight line visible on either side of the wall where there was filler.

Walls done, just putting up the lining paper!


One thing I did need to do was get a windowsill put in. I initially planned to just go and buy a length of windowsill from Wickes and cut it to size, however given its extortiantly high price, I decided to first attempt to make my own. I already had a huge amount of leftover wood from the shed build, so used a spare roof plank and cut it down to the correct length, then used an electric plainer to flatten the surface, and to create a curved edge (and to remove the tongue/groove that was on the edges). Once it was plained to a rough size and shape, I finished off the edges and corners by manually sanding them. The end result was pretty much exactly what I'd have paid £15 for at Wickes, and it only took 10 minutes to make...result!
My home-made windowsill in place!

In the next article I'll detail the interior finish!

(Note: more photos from this post are on the flickr set!)