Old School Vs Modern Decorators

Posted Jul 10, 2022 | Life of a Decorator, Miscellaneous | 4 comments

I often see the same arguments over and over on the Forum. It doesn’t take a genius to work out there are two main camps when it comes to professional decs. It’s always the old school Vs modern decorators who can’t see eye to eye. Not many, if any, sit between the two camps. The question is, who’s right?

I’ve been in the trade around 20 years. Does that technically make me an old school decorator? I do keep up with modern techniques and I think I know which camp I’m in, so this blog may sound biased. Anyway, I figured I’d take you through some of the arguments we see and the opinions given by the two sides. You can make your own mind up.


Paint Brands


Old School – Johnos has gone sh1t, I’ve gone back to Dulux and Crown.

Modern Decorators – I keep playing around with different ceiling paints. The Tikkurila Anti-Reflex is my favourite, followed by Teknos Teknoceiling. Ahh, I love the flatter durable matt emulsions that are around now!! The Johnstone’s Perfect Matt, Teknos Pro5, WRX wall paint and Tikkurila Optiva 3 are all fantastic. Then Benjamin Moore Scuff X when it comes to trim!!


Water-Based Paints


Old School Decorators – Nothing gives you a better finish in fewer coats than oil-based. There’s no need to faff around. A good dog’s cock and a steady hand is all you need.

Modern Decorators – You’ll get a better finish with water-based paints than you ever could with oil. You just need to change the way you apply it. It’s quicker to apply, more environmentally friendly, sprays beautifully, never yellows and you can apply multiple coats in a day.


Taping Windows to Paint Them


Old School Decorators – There’s no skill left in the trade!! People can’t cut in anymore, yet they’re running around calling themselves professional decorators!! I was never even allowed to use tape on carpets because I needed to learn how to cut in!

Modern Decorators – Anyone can cut a window in, we’re not stupid. It takes more skill to tape a window than it does to cut in. You’ll also get sharper lines, particularly with water-based paints. Plus, it’s much quicker for multiple coats.




Old School – Spraying isn’t even part of the decorating trade, it’s a separate thing. By the time you’ve faffed around taping, I’d have had everything painted. Overspray will wreck cars. I’ve lasted in this trade for 130 years without a sprayer, I’m not going to start now. You can’t touch up with a sprayer. You get a better finish with a brush!

Modern Decorator – You can’t spray every job, but it does have its place. I know there are a lot of myths about spraying, but it’s generally quicker and you’ll always get a better finish. Plus, you’ll make much more money!!

Posted Jul 10, 2022 | 4 comments

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  1. Phil

    So I guess that makes me one of those decorators that falls into the in between camp! The job I’m on right now? I sprayed the trim and brushed and rolled walls and ceilings, so actually best of both worlds I’d say! I think generally it’s horses for courses out there. Some clients prefer the traditional methods to achieve their desired finish and some clients prefer sprayed with modern, cutting edge coatings. I’m flexible and more than happy to do whatever.

    • Mike Cupit

      great comment

  2. Andy Smith

    I couldn’t care less what other decorators do, old and modern. My background before decorating, was as a business analyst and that’s the approach I take to decorating. It’s about problem solving, taking on a project and doing it the most efficient way without compromising on quality. It’s about never accepting that you have found the best trim paint because thare are always new products coming onto the market and it’s logical to try them instead of dimissing them because you can’t be bothered. And it’s about never thinking you have a perfect technique – we should never stop learing and never stop trying new things. Perfection doesn’t exist because we should always be looking for something better.

    • Andy Smith's Dad



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