Decorator's corner

Things we’ve learned so far:

1. When choosing carpets, place all sample squares on the floor to compare colour and style. When you have whittled down the choice to say three or four and feel you really can’t make a decision, take off your shoes and walk on the samples. I made my decision straight away, after feeling the carpet on my feet.

2. Wallpaper strippers are essential tools for scraping off woodchip. Get the best, don’t get the cheap £19.99 ones, they’re not worth it because they won’t work as well. Some stupid designs have the water in the hand unit, just like an iron, so you’ll be holding up the weight of the water with one hand – who the hell thought of that?! Make sure to get the kind where the water is stored in the base of the machine with the light plastic steamer bit separate. This way your arms won’t ache. Bosch seem to be the best make in my experience.

3. Fitting a kitchen is expensive. If you can’t afford to buy new kitchen cupboards, just give your old ones a makeover. Two simple things do this: 1) change the handles 2) paint them a fresh colour. Done, sorted, easy. A new counter top will also make your kitchen look completely different. Expect to pay around £150 for your average length (2metres40cms) laminate worktop.

4. Paint the trim and baseboards when there is absolutely no risk of dust sticking. So if you’ve got a dusty room or are about to saw wood, make sure to rid the place of dust before painting with gloss. Bits of hair and dust balls stick to the baseboards and will look terrible.