Job type

Painter and decorator

£17k - £32k

Typical salary

35 – 44

Hours per week

Painters and decorators prepare and apply paint, wallpaper and finishes to different surfaces.

More info

  • Prepare, paint and decorate rooms for homes and businesses
  • You'll need to be able to work in a space with paint fumes and sometimes at heights
  • Progress to lead a team, set up your own business or specialise in heritage and conservation work

As a painter and decorator, you'll work on domestic, commercial or industrial jobs. These can range from redecorating homes or offices to applying heavy-duty finishes to structures like bridges. You'll follow a job plan drawn up with your client.


  • Measuring surface areas and working out how much paint or wall covering is needed
  • Preparing the materials you need
  • Stripping off old wallpaper or layers of paint
  • Filling holes and cracks and making sure surfaces are level
  • Covering surfaces with primer and undercoat
  • Mixing paint to the right shade (often using computerised colour-matching equipment)
  • Applying coats of paint
  • Hanging wallpaper and adding special finishes like glazes or marbling
  • Tidying up after finishing
  • Cleaning your tools

On industrial jobs, you'll use abrasive methods like sandblasting to remove old paintwork, and apply finishes with spray-painting equipment.


You'll travel from site to site to complete jobs. Some of the work will involve working at height from ladders, scaffolding or a safety cradle. You'll wear protective clothing on all jobs.

You'll need

For this role, you'll need thoroughness and attention to detail, leadership skills, the ability to work well with others, flexibility and openness to change, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, customer service skills, knowledge of public safety and security, and business management skills.

There are no set requirements. You could start as a painter and decorator's labourer or 'mate' and learn on the job.

You could take a college course like a Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Painting and Decorating, which will teach you some of the skills you'll need and help you find a job as a trainee with a decorating company.

You could get into this job through a painter and decorator intermediate apprenticeship which will take 2 to 3 years to complete.

You'll need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on most building sites.


With experience, you could become a team supervisor or move into related areas like estimating, contract management, interior or set design, or apprentice training. You could also work in heritage conservation, or set up your own business.