Sunday, July 8, 2012

How to Paint a Room for Less

Our walls have been looking HORRIBLE. There are scuffs, scrapes, food smears, grime, and pen/pencil/crayon marks. I blame the kids...in part.

I also blame the guy who built the house. When we got this house, it had just been constructed. One of the many things that the builder promised he would fix before we moved in was the paint. There was one thin, cheap coat of an eggshell finish and that's it. He never did paint properly, and needless to say, what we have hasn't stood the test of time.
Here's one of the worst spots:

Since it has gotten to the point that I am embarrassed to have people over, I thought it time to paint.

My husband and I are teachers and it's summer break. This means that we have lots of time right now and no money. Thankfully, if done right, painting can be an inexpensive way to totally change any living space for the better.

Hiring a professional painter to do our whole downstairs (which is small) would have run about $1500. Instead, we chose to do the work ourselves.

We invested $130 for five gallons of paint. We saved money by going with the Valspar Ultra, which is a paint and primer in one.
Equally as important, this paint is low VOC. For the first time in a long time, I was dealing with paint and didn't need Benadryl or an inhaler. After about a day or so, there was no paint smell left AT ALL.

Since it also has the primer in it, it covered brilliantly. Here's one wall in progress:

While at Lowes getting the paint, we also got rollers, tape, etc. bringing our bill up to just under $200.

There are a few things to remember when painting a room.

1) Prepping is more crucial than painting.
If you do your prep work well, your ability as a painter just isn't as important.

Use low tack painter's tape to mask off trim, heaters, etc. Take off all outlet and switch face plates, and tape the outlets and switches themselves. Remove or cover furniture. Roll up any area rugs. Tape down drop cloths over carpets and floors. TAKE YOUR TIME. We started our taping two days in advance, so it didn't have to happen all at once.

2) If you need to hire extra hands, hire people you know.

I guarantee that you know someone who is unemployed or underemployed. If you're going to shell out to have help, give $50 for a friend to join you, then make some lunch and make a day of it. It's a good way to spend time with a friend, help them out, and save yourself buckets of cash. Friends will either do a good, careful job, or risk hearing about it at every barbecue for the next three years.

Our efforts look wonderful. We went for a light, warm yellow that makes our whole place glow. Total investment: well under $300. Compare that to the $1500, and we made out like bandits.

Lovely, isn't it?

It looks all beautiful with our new rug. Now I just have to refinish the end tables and lamp, and figure out how to re-tile the downstairs bath. I think we'll have this place ship shape by fall, and on a shoestring!

P.S. We got a satin finish paint because it's not too shiny, but still supposedly cleans up well. Two hours after the paint dried, we had to put this to the test. I discovered a smear at toddler height that I fervently pray was chocolate cookie. It cleaned up no problem with a wet wash cloth. The smear disappeared and none of the paint came off with it! VICTORY!


1 comment:

  1. Painting estimates can be outrageous! Great tips for the do-it-yourselfer!