Painting Your Home? 5 Ways to Save Money and Hassle

march falardeau/flickrPainting your house's interior is one of the most popular redecorating tasks. And it's no wonder! Compared to other, more complicated renovations, a fresh coat of color will spruce up your home quickly, simply, and inexpensively. If you’re thinking of going the DIY route rather than hiring a professional painting contractor, here are a few tips to make the project easier on both your wallet and your head.


  1. Spend less on paint. Buy the expensive stuff. No, that’s not a contradiction; good-quality paint lasts longer and works out cheaper over time … not to mention the fact that it is easy to apply and looks great! Look at your local hardware store for mistints -- the term refers to perfectly good paint which was tinted to order, but turned out not to be the color the original customer had in mind. It’s subsequently sold for a fraction of sticker price. If you’re planning to paint two or more rooms, choose a neutral hue and invest in a 5-gallon container (it’s cheaper than purchasing five individual gallon cans). Or check in with your local recycling and hazardous household waste center to see whether they have any unwanted paint to give away. And don’t forget to prime; primer is relatively inexpensive and will make your pricy paint go much further. Whatever amount you spend, be sure to use low- to no-VOC paint, for the sake of your indoor air quality.


  1. Calculate how much paint you’ll need -- now and in the future. An essential step is measuring the surface area to be covered and carefully calculating the number of gallons which you are going to need. Allow for a little extra, so that when touch-ups are required at some later date, you won’t feel like you have to repaint the whole room. (Leftover paint keeps very well in a cool dry place, away from extremes of temperature.)


  1. Prepare your walls and the room as a whole. Move the furniture out if possible, to protect it from splatters and make it easier for you to maneuver. Otherwise, push it to the center of the room and cover well. Protect the floor with canvas drop cloths. Non-toxic and reusable, canvas also absorbs paint spills and does not become slippery when wet, unlike plastic sheeting. Set up all the tools and equipment you’ll need in one convenient location. Wash walls and ceilings, using a degreaser if necessary; scrape old peeling paint; patch cracks and dents, using hypoallergenic joint compound; and sand (a sanding pole makes this part easier) to get your painting job off to a great start. Apply primer as the first coat to improve paint coverage and prevent “flashing.” Tint it with a little of your finish paint for best results.


  1. Take care of yourself. Allow plenty of time to tackle painting your rooms (several days might be necessary). Take frequent breaks, covering your roller, paint can, and tray with a clean damp rag so they won’t dry out. Don’t overdo -- you’re more likely to miss glitches like drips or visible brush strokes. And make sure you have a tasty and nutritious supper or two prepared in advance and stashed in the fridge. That way you’ll be less tempted to spend money going out for fast food at the end of a long day painting.


  1. Help the paint to dry. There are few things more boring than waiting for paint to dry, but you can speed the process up a little. Do your painting on a clear, breezy day, with all the windows open. Set up an electric fan before you get started to ventilate your rooms and help the paint dry faster. Run a dehumidifier as well if the relative humidity is high. All of these will enable you to get your furnishings moved back in and your life back to normal ASAP.


Laura Firszt writes for

Get Free Quotes

Looking for a Pro? Call us at (866) 441-6648

Get Free Quotes
  • Service Needed
  • Zip Code
Get quotes from qualified local contractors