The Insider: Unforeseen decorating dilemmas


You're doing the place up. It's all planned... until, just as you're running out the door, late, the builder floors you with the question: "So, where do you want this plug socket?" For this and other common unconsidered decisions, interior designer Nicola Gill of So Urban Design ( shares her experience...

Socket to 'em

"With sockets, forethought is important," says Gill, "especially in a kitchen, where mistakes can be awkward to undo." But, failing that, she suggests overestimating, not underestimating, the number you'll need. For other rooms, unless you have specific needs, "Ask your electrician for a 'standard layout' – which is four sockets around the average room."

Chuck the rulebook out

Go with your gut. For instance: "Books [or decorators] will tell you bathrooms need special paint," says Gill, "but I hate shiny walls and we have successfully painted even family bathrooms with normal paint. Simply cover watermarks with a brush of paint and it's good as new."

Manage your overheads

My own top tip: don't bother repositioning mains lighting by "chasing" into walls/ceilings. Avoid commitment instead by extending cables and hooking them in place. Flexibility, and a nice feature, too.

Drain resources

Repainting your exterior and stumped by the drainpipes? Colourwise, says Gill, blend them in: "Never make a feature of drainpipes! Black is best, even against brickwork, though very dark grey also looks classy."

Quick change

Panic can paralyse, but, "some decisions can be made on the hop – and it's no biggie to change them", says Gill. And never feel guilty about asking the builder to re-do something – you have to live with it. But do pay for the extra work.

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