How to Paint a Room for Less

Occasionally I’ll use PT Money to present some of the Do-It-Yourself projects I’ve done around my house.  While this isn’t directly related to the main theme of the site, hopefully it will provide some motivation to try your own money-saving project.  If I can do it, you can!

How to Paint a Room
Painting is messy, but it can be fun and rewarding.

Today I thought I would share some tips I picked up on how to paint a room in your house.

Plus, I’ve got some additional tips for keeping the costs down.

I spent some time over the Holidays painting a few rooms in our townhome.

I started with our soon-to-be baby girl’s room, then I painted two walls in our dining room, and now I’m wrapping up the painting of our downstairs bathroom.

I’m worn out!

Paint a Room in Your House

Purchase Your Paint and Supplies – Generally, a gallon of paint will cover a 10 x 10 room once. Additionally, the cheaper the paint and the more textured your wall, the more likely it is to need two coats. To give you an idea, I have textured walls and I used two gallons on the baby room, one on the two dining room walls, and one on the bathroom.

Besides paint, you’ll need painter’s tape, a 2 inch brush, a roller (thick rollers needed for more textured walls), roller bin, and some sort of drop cloth. If you’re using oil-based paints, you’ll also need a can of thinner for clean-up. It’s also good to have some old rags and paper towels lying around.  Lastly those mini-rollers are great for the hard to reach areas (i.e. behind a sink).

Prepping the Room – Taking the time to properly prepare the room makes a huge difference in the end product. You need to remove as much as possible from the room. What furniture you can’t remove you’ll need to cover with a bed sheet (be careful though, as big drops of paint might bleed through sheets).

The floors should be covered with plastic drop cloth. Next, remove all the fixture and outlet covers. Lastly, you’ll need to put the painter’s tape up on the ceiling, on the baseboards and around doors and windows.

Cutting In and Rolling On – Now that you’re room is prepped you can start the actual painting process by “cutting-in” on one wall. Basically, this is taking a 2 inch brush and painting the edges (where you taped). It’s best to “cut in” about 3-4 feet at a time, and then roll in the middle section.

Move down the wall in one direction using this process so that you keep what’s known as a “wet edge”. I recommend pulling off your painter’s tape a minute or two after you cut in on a section.

Don’t wait till the paint dries to pull off the tape or you’ll get some peeling. A second coat can be done by simply rolling again. Cutting in again is usually unnecessary.

Clean Up – Like prepping the room, cleaning up can be a drag. But it’s just as important. Make sure you’ve removed all your tape and drop cloths. Pour all excess paint back into the cans, sealed tight and stored for touch-ups later on. Clean your brushes and rollers asap (see below). Then, kick back and enjoy the room.

Painting a Room for Less Money

Do-It-Yourself – First of all, simply doing it yourself is going to save you quite a bit of money. It does take some time, and a little patience to do it properly, but doing the painting yourself is going to save money.

Only Paint an Accent Wall – To change the look of the room, you may only need to do one wall. Choose the wall behind your bed’s headboard or the back wall in the dining room and pick a nice complementary color. It’s less expensive than a full paint job, won’t take as much time, and might even create a nicer effect.

Search for Unwanted Paints – Before you spring for the designer paints, visit’s “materials” section and search for paints. Also, check WalMart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and the like, for “mistake” paints. These are cans of mixed paints that weren’t sold for some reason. If you’re not stuck on a particular color, then you can find some nice deals.

Spend Where it Counts – If you want a paint job to turn out nice, put your money in quality paint and brushes/rollers. Everything else you can go the cheap route. Save money by purchasing cheap tape, roller handles and bins, using old plastic bowls to hold paint for your “cutting in” work, and using plastic you already have (like a shower curtain) for a drop cloth.

Take Care of Your Brushes – Lastly, I’ll just add that if doing multiple rooms and projects, you’re going to save some money by re-using brushes and rollers as much as possible. It’s a big pain to clean up after painting. It’s the last thing I always want to do, but it must be done unless you just want to waste money by having to go get all new supplies.

Immediately after finishing, wash your water-based paint brushes and rollers thoroughly in the sink using only water. Wash your oil-based paint brushes in paint thinner first using an old jar or bucket. Then move to the sink and finish cleaning them with soap and water.

So now you’re ready to take on your first paint job, and do it for less. Good luck.

Image by basykes

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