The Future for the Painting and Decorating Industry

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Mar 6, 2022 | Professional insight, Business, Life of a Decorator | 3 comments

Leading Tool manufacturer ProDec wanted to know what professional decorators think the future has in store for the painting industry. So, they posed the question on a well-known forum. Below is an example of the answers they got back.

Oil based will be almost completely obsolete in the future- technology will have moved on so much that water-based paint finishes will be indistinguishable from oil in appearance and durability.

There will be a general move away completely from harmful chemicals to environmentally friendly products. There will still be a place for limited use of oil-based and solvent based products, but it will be very specialist use or for restoration purposes etc. and will be tightly regulated.

Spraying will be almost ubiquitous with the possibility of machines that will literally spray paint a room on their own – mask up, set parameters and go. There will still be a need for a human to set all this up etc. Brush and roller, and other traditional methods will have its place still – you just have to look at the rise in craft and restoration to see that a lot of people still really value quality craftsmanship – probably more than any time in the last 100 years.

Portable Printers will become common for murals and may well almost completely take the place of wallpaper in many settings… although I doubt they could tackle a 3 storey hallway 😆 so there will still be an element of wallpapering – again, tradition and the rise in valuing quality craftsmanship will play a big part in this. We’ll still be using Fat Hog paste though!!

Method of payment is a tough one – if someone had told me even 3 years ago that I would be doing all my banking, purchases and payments on a phone using my fingerprint, I would have laughed. Don’t think I can even remember my PIN for my card. Obviously, it’ll be digital, probably just hold your “device”, whatever that looks like, next to the clients “device” and the money will be automatically moved.

I don’t think the changes in what people want and the technology e.g. digital walls, smart paint etc. will be that extreme, 50 years isn’t that long really (compare 1972 to now). When it gets down to it, people like traditional things – just look at the rise in vinyl record sales and the way many Japanese houses are still decorated with paper screen walls and Tatami rush rugs, in the most technologically advanced country in the world. Thinking we’re all going to have walls that change pattern and colour at the touch of a button is a bit like reading the predictions from the 60a that we would all have flying cars and tinfoil suits by now. Even back to the future, made in the mid-80s, is way off the mark with how we would be living now.

Richard Thomson

Professional Painter and Decorator


I think spray systems are definitely the future for the painting and decorating industry in the UK. As spray systems become more readily available from both manufacturer and suppliers, and as more ‘decorative’ paint companies start developing products primarily for spraying.

I believe that the technologies that allow us to spray, as well as the extra peripheral equipment that allow us to make the job easier and quicker will completely change the face of how we conduct our work. How this will affect future pricing remains to be seen, bit while the earning is good, I’m all for it!

Martin Reynolds

Professional Painter and Decorator

For me, the future of the painting and decorating industry looks nothing like it does now. Everything seems to be moving at a fast pace. Decorators are spraying now, we’ve all got dust-free sanders and we’re using water-based paints. We weren’t doing any of that 20 years ago.

I think the main difference between how the industry looks now and how it will look in another 20 years is the diversity of the trade. We’re seeing specialisms cropping up all the time, and I don’t think it will slow down. Things like kitchen spraying, digital wall murals, Silk Plaster, uPVC spraying and whatever else comes up. With developments in marketing and the training available, there will be no need for decorators to plod on with the same sort of work as everyone else.

James Carter

Professional Painter and Decorator

Short term future (5 – 10 years) I think oil/solvent-based paints will become specialists paint that requires a licence to use or will be totally scrapped. Long term most probably we will have to train in programming to use robots for painting lol

Peter Thompson

Professional Painter and Decorator

Coatings with tech embedded. Or automated sprayers, similar to car production lines, but with built in shields and with the ability to set parameters to prevent overspray and eliminate the need for tape, etc.

Charlene Hewitt

Professional Painter and Decorator

I think in the future there will be no requirement to paint new houses, as we currently do. They will be pre-finish or digital element to it.

Renovation of older properties will still be there. A lot of the houses I work on are hundreds of years old and there is no reason why they won’t still be here for a few hundred more, if looked after. This style of property will become even more desirable than they are now, as time goes on. All decorating  products and processes will have to have an environmental assessment done on them. I’m starting to do that now because like it or not, it’s the way and the public want it to go.

There will be more regulation, unfortunately but inevitably, because these assessments will need accreditation. Therefore, more training in how to do and what to use will grow as a sector of the industry. Thay’re my thoughts. Oh… And there’ll be more tape used too! 🤣

Neil Bridgen

Professional Painter and Decorator

Technology will continue to develop for our industry, spraying and dustless sanding are the norm now, the bigger brained folks will come up with more tech to make our job faster and more efficient.

Campbell Ross

Professional Painter and Decorator

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Mar 6, 2022 | 3 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. Jack Wardley

    the best brush and rollers is still pure bristle and sheepskin dont care what anyone says have used all the synthetic brushes and rollers and none are has good as natural products but would refuse to use badgers brushes because the badgers are killed just for their hair

    • richard

      Try the 18inch purdys for speed save good hour a day on average.

  2. Jack Wardley

    i think oil based paints will be around for long long time yet oil based paints are still just as numerous in decorating centres etc all though if they regulate them any further like they did in 2007 and 2010 they will be quite bad i would imagine


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