10 Painting Tips to Help you Save Time and Money

I love to paint. I know some people just hate it and would rather hire someone to do it, but I just loooove seeing a room become new again with every brush stroke of color. The whole prep part I really dislike, but other than that, I actually get really excited to paint a room. Painting provides endless possibilities!

SONY DSCI have painted quite a lot in my day. I’ve helped my mom paint many rooms in our house growing up, and now that I have my own house, I’ve painted all of that, too. My amazing mom has most definitely painted her fair share of rooms, so I picked her brain on some of the things she’s learned in all her years of experience. Together, we came up with these 10 painting tips to help you save time and money!

1. Do your Research!

SONY DSCBefore you go out and buy your paint, make sure you’ve done all your research. It’s important to measure your room to get an idea of how much paint you’ll need. To estimate the amount of paint needed for your room, add together the length of all the walls. Multiply that number by height of the room (measure from floor to ceiling). Now you have to determine how much of that square footage is paintable surface area. Because you will use a different paint on the doors and windows, subtract those areas from the room total (You can just subtract 20 square feet per door and 15 square feet per average sized window in the room – these are average measurements). You’ll end up with a number that is pretty close to the actual wall area you’ll have to cover with paint. For more help, Behr has a fabulous and easy paint calculator that you can plug your measurements into. See it HERE.

Usually you can expect 1 gallon of paint to cover about 350 square feet. You’ll need slightly more than a gallon if the walls are unpainted drywall, which absorbs more of the paint. You also need to consider whether to paint more than one coat. If you’re painting unfinished walls, heavily patched, or dark in color, plan on applying two coats of paint for sure.

Make sure you also know what supplies you’ll need as well. Do you need a roller, or a small brush? Make sure you also invest in good brushes; they’ll last you longer and will cost you less in the long run!

2. Know your Paint Finishes

This was totally foreign to me when I first started painting. Paint finishes? Isn’t all paint the same? It’s totally not, my friends! Paints come in a wide variety of finishes: flat, satin, eggshell, gloss, high gloss, etc. Each serves a purpose for different rooms/furniture pieces. For example, flat paint is reaaaalllly hard to clean. It’s nice because it doesn’t have any shine, but it shows a lot of flaws (if any) in the wall or furniture because it doesn’t reflect the light. So, based on that, you’re not going to paint your child’s bedroom with flat paint when they’re probably going to be scuffing up the wall and inevitably using their markers on it to draw you a pretty picture. You’d have to paint over it all again and again to keep it looking nice. For your child’s bedroom or a place with high traffic, you’ll want to use an eggshell or satin. It has a little shine, but is a lot easier to wipe down and clean! If you’re not sure about paint finishes and what kind you’ll need, Behr Paint and Bob Vila have great information to get you going.

3. Use Those Free Paint Chips!

SONY DSCMost, if not all, stores will have paint chips and samples all organized by colors for you to take. Take them! Bring home all your favorite colors that you like, and place them with furniture, curtains, pillows, bedding, anything that will be in the room you’re painting so you can get a feel of what it’ll look like and if the colors will match. Clearly I took the above paint chip with me everywhere; it was the color we chose for Jade’s nursery, and I kept it with me just in case we were at a store and needed it! (And, when you’re all done with those paint chips, you can use them to make some really neat stuff like these adorable Ombre Paint Chip Earrings or this gorgeous Paint Chip Wreath!)

4. Paint A Few Sample Colors

SONY DSCOnce you’ve narrowed down your few favorite colors from the paint chips, go back and get a couple of small sample tubes of those colors. Paint them on your wall next to each other in fairly large sections. Make sure you look at the colors at different times of the day. They may look different depending on lighting and where the sun is. A color may appear to look white with a light on in the room at night, but when the sun shines in on it in the morning, it might appear beige which can change the look of the whole room. sit on it a few days before deciding so you don’t choose a color you end up hating, only to have to spend more money and time repainting!

5. Go BOLD

Kitchen-and-DiningOur tendency sometimes with paint is to go the safe route and get a neutral color. I’m all for neutral, but don’t be afraid to go bold! Having an accent wall of a bright color can really add some dimension to a room and give it a little extra character. We chose a neutral gray for our living room, but I painted an accent wall green for fun. I recently painted over it with the same gray paint to match, but I really loved having something different as a focal point in our huge living/dining room area. There are so many beautiful bright colors out there. BE bold and GO bold! Check out Behr’s 2015 Paint Color Trends for inspiration on some bright and fun colors!

6. Get High Quality Paint

SONY DSCI know this may sound like the opposite of saving money, but it’s truth. When we moved into our house, we were on quite the budget. I really wanted to paint our living room and kitchen gray to get rid of the ugly yellow beige color we had, but didn’t want to spend a ton. So, I went and got the cheapest paint I could find. Let me tell you; though it’s tempting to save a buck, it was NOT WORTH IT. We ended up using a ton of paint, and I had to go back and get two more gallons just to finish. It also was super thin, and we needed 3 coats just to cover up a light beige! And since then, there’s so many little chips here and there from things banging on the wall. Even hanging birthday decorations with tape ripped off the paint when we pulled them down. Moral of the story? Use QUALITY PAINT! It might mean it costs more, but you’ll use less and save more in the long run. It’ll go on smoother, cover more evenly, and last so much longer. Behr is the only brand we use now, and they have fabulous quality paint!

7. Do the Prep

As I said above, I HATE prepping to paint. And by prepping, I mean all. the. taping. Now, there are a ton of tips and tricks to not having to tape off your baseboards and doors. But in reality, you’re either going to spend the time taping, or spend time going really slowly along those edges as to not get any paint where you don’t want it. I’d rather just spend some time taping everything off to ensure I don’t have any paint where I don’t want it, rather than having to repaint and touch-up later. When purchasing, make sure you get good quality tape. Cheap tape doesn’t stick as well and causes paint to leak through underneath. Been there, done that! Frog tape is a great alternative to painter’s tape and I think works even just a little bit better! (Because ceilings tend to have more texture, I do use the cutting in method with a good brush for the top of the walls. Taping the ceiling may result in leakage because of the texture! Canary Street Crafts has a great tutorial on how to cut in that you can read about HERE.)

8. Paint High to Low

Crib-view.jpgAlways start painting from the highest area to the lowest. Start from the ceiling or top of the wall and work your way down. This way, you’ll catch any drips or splatters, and you won’t ruin your beautiful freshly painted wall!

9. Use Thin Coats

It’s tempting to start by rolling on a super thick coat to help with not having to do another coat, but that doesn’t always work. Painting a thin coat is better than loading up your brush or roller and getting too much paint on the wall. Otherwise, you’ll have drips and the paint won’t look as even. A second thin coat will cover anything you may have missed the first time around, and it will look much more even!

10. Paint Trim Last

This might just be our preference, but we’ve found it’s a lot easier to paint the whole wall first, then go back when that’s dry and paint the baseboards and trim. When you’re rolling the paint on the walls, it splatters all over and can get on the trim. Even with tape, it still can splatter or drip on the untaped places. You can easily use a small brush and paint the trim without worrying about the other paint colors dripping in.

These are just some of the things we’ve learned in our painting endeavors, but I hope they can help you save some time an hopefully some money next time you have some painting to do!

Do you have any paint tips? I’d love to hear them!

Have a great rest of the week!

(I link up at these fun parties!)


85 thoughts on “10 Painting Tips to Help you Save Time and Money

    1. Thank you, Amy! Ah I know, I was SO confused by finishes and didn’t really understand them in the beginning. It’s amazing HOW many finishes there really are and how they each serve a purpose! And I love your cutting in tutorial, I was happy to include it!! 🙂

  1. I am definitely pinning this for later! We moved into new construction last year and they sprayed on flat paint in our ENTIRE main floor. It is awful. Our walls look terrible now, 9 months later. Every wall has a scratch or scuff or some kind of mess on it. We know we are going to have to paint the entire house soon and I am just dreading it, so happy to have these tips! We also have dark trim that I really want to paint white. I would love to see any tips you have for painting trim…I think that’s what I’m most nervous about! I don’t want to mess it up 😉
    Natalie@SheBuildsHerHome recently posted…When Dreaming Leads to DiscontentmentMy Profile

    1. Yay! Thanks so much, Natalie! Yikes, they sprayed on flat everywhere?! You’d think they would have known that was a terrible idea!! Hopefully these tips will help a little when you get down to it! 🙂 Hmm, trim… I’ll think on that. 😉 I know Abby from Just a Girl and her Blog has a fabulous post on painting trim! Hope your week is going great! 🙂

        1. Absolutely, unfortunately they often try to take the quick and cheap route, cutting corners and doing a not-so-great job! Which is sad. I guess we should always just DIY then! 😉 Hope you have a great weekend, Natalie!

    1. Thanks, Lauren!! I LOVE those adorable earrings, I was so happy to reference to them!! I seriously want to go get every paint chip there is and make a ton! One for every occasion. 😉 Thank you SO much for pinning! Hope your week is going lovely, friend!

    1. Thanks Kendra! There are definitely times when I am tempted to hire someone, too… HA! But most of the time, I really love painting. Maybe I just need to hire someone to do the prep for me. 😉 Hope your weekend is great!

    1. Thanks Antionette! You are SO right in that statement!! A house is never finished, especially when you own. There’s always so much to be done! Good luck getting your basement finished! 🙂

  2. What about washing the walls? The ONLY time I painted I was told to use- I think TSP. I just did what I was told, not knowing to while it off!?! Turns out you can have problems even with quality paint. . .

    So. . . Do we need to wash the walls?

    1. That’s a great point! I have never personally used TSP, but it can help in some cases if your walls are really grimy or dirty. I’ve found that just wiping them down with either soap and water or just a damp towel works great. Then let it dry. And, I don’t always even wipe the walls down! I think it depends on what and where you’re painting. But, to be safe, just a quick wipe down with water should do the trick! I should have added that in the tips, thanks for reminding me! 🙂 Hope that helps!

  3. Great tips Amanda ~ especially how to calc the amount of paint needed for a project! I’m with you on the prep stuff. It’s work anyway you do it, but the results are fresh and clean. Who doesn’t like that result! Thanks for linking at our Something to Talk About link party. Hope to see you next week too 🙂 Bwg ~~~
    Bluwatergal recently posted…Something to Talk About Link Party #2My Profile

    1. Thank you! Sometimes I feel like calculating the paint is SUCH a pain, but it really does help! Thanks for stopping by, and for hosting a great party! Have a great week. 🙂

  4. Great tips! I always used to think buying the samples were a waste of money, but it really does save you from buying a color you end up hating. Yes, speaking from PLENTY of experience lol. Plus when you are through, you can use those samples on a number of projects! Pinned and shared on G+! Have a great week!
    Amanda recently posted…Meal Plan Monday 2/2My Profile

    1. Thanks Amanda! I totally thought the same thing, but my mom swore by buying the samples. Now it’s a genius idea! And you’re right, I’ve also used my leftover sample paint on other crafts! 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting, hope your week is going great so far! 🙂

  5. haha. well, well. I keep finding your posts! Great tips. My husband is the painter of the family, he does amazing and enjoys it (score!) but I want to tackle some smaller projects while he’s working instead of having to wait for him. I will def keep these tips in mind.
    Jamie @ All That Srocks recently posted…Customized Wine GlassMy Profile

    1. Ha, thanks Jamie! So funny, my hubby is totally NOT the painter in our family. He tries, but he hates it… and I usually end up going back over what he paints. Shh, don’t tell him. 😉 I hope these tips will help you in your painting projects!

  6. All these are great tips Amanda! All the houses we are looking at buying need to be painted and I HATE painting… but maybe now that I have a guideline of what to do I can find it more enjoyable. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Talented Tuesdays. I hope you join us again next week and I hope you have a great rest of your week friend!
    Sydney @Tastefully Frugal recently posted…You’re ‘Toe-tally’ Awesome ValentineMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Sydney! I hope these tips can help a little when you settle on a house!! Painting CAN be fun.. 😉 Hope you’re week is going great friend!

  7. Wow, I pretty much violate tip number ten every time that I paint. I always tend to paint the trim first. I bet that it would be a lot easier if we painted it last. I guess you learn something new every day. Thanks a lot for this blog, it was very helpful. http

    1. Thank you, Emily! I hear ya, I used to paint the trim first for a long time, too! But I was always dripping when I’d paint the rest of the wall! Oops. 🙂 Glad these tips could help!

  8. The third tip about using the free color swatches from hardware and painting stores seems incredibly simple, but it’s often a step that’s overlooked. Painting a room, especially a large one, can be overwhelming, but having to do it twice because you selected a color you weren’t sure about is a nightmare. By using a color swatch, you can match it to pillows, curtains, and any other patterns you may already have in the room you want to paint, which makes matching colors far easier.

    1. I completely agree, Audrey! When I put my daughter’s nursery together, I took the paint swatches with me everywhere so I could make sure the decor matched the paint. It worked perfectly. And, they’re FREE! It’s a no-brainer! 🙂

  9. I need the interior of my home re-painted. Sadly, I am wheelchair bound and cannot reach the high points of the walls or ceiling. Can I buy the paint and then have the painters do the job for me? My hope with this is that it will save me some money on painting services.

    1. Hi Bryan! I’m sure you can absolutely buy the paint and have painters do it all for you! You might even be able to do the lower portion of the walls as well, and have the painters do the rest to help cut down on costs. Hope that helps! 🙂

  10. Amanda, it seems like you sure know very well about painting walls.Tip 10 sure got my attention since I am thinking about telling that to the wall painters who are coming to my house. Part of their project would be to paint all the rooms of my home.

  11. That’s a great tip to bring home the free paint chips. I like the idea of bringing the colors home and making a decision there. There have been times in my life where I’ve felt pressured in the store. I like making decisions better in my own house!

    1. I agree Westly, it’s easier to make decisions in the room you’re painting, rather than the store! The lighting will change it every time. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  12. I totally agree with your tip to use quality paint. It’s easy to think that cheap paint will save you money, but there’s a reason it’s cheap. You won’t end up saving money if you have to use three times as much paint to cover the area, only to have it chip off soon afterwords. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Yes Hazel!! Exactly! I have to say I sadly learned the hard way, but never again. It’s so worth it to pay a little more but only have to paint once and not have chips. Hope the tips help you a little, too! 🙂

  13. I am looking to repaint my bedroom to get rid of all the nail holes and change the plain, white color. I have never painted a room by myself before, and I really appreciated this list especially the idea of trying out a few paint samples. I really want to pick the right color, so I think this tip will really save me money and stress! I am definitely going to use the advice to paint from high to low and paint the trim last. Thanks for such a helpful list.

    1. So glad some of these tips will help you, Vivian! Painting is always such a process, but having strategies in place will really help it go faster! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  14. I never realized how many things there are to know about painting before beginning the process. I would agree that having the right materials for the job is essential. Samples of colors would be a perfect way to find a color that you like without purchasing several paint colors.

    1. It’s crazy how much there is to know about painting! But knowing it all will really help save some time, since painting already takes so much time as it is! Hope these tips help you in the future, Tara! 🙂

  15. Nothing is worse than making a mistake while painting. I definitely agree that those free paint chips are important to avoiding mistakes! It’s great to be able to see what the paint will probably look like before actually painting.

    1. Your right, Silas! Paint chips are such a great way to make sure you love the color you choose before getting it all on the wall! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  16. Go Bold! Awesome advice for paint color and life itself. We recently had to make the choice between a plain off-white and a more striking tone of blue – we chose the blue and everyday since we’ve been thankful for doing so. It does so much more for the room – now we’re trying to decide what next. lol. Thanks for the article!

  17. My husband and I have talked about hiring a painter to do our living room. I didn’t even think about finding quality paint before we hire someone. It didn’t really occur to me that the type of paint could make a difference. I would rather have a paint that lasts a lot longer than something that is cheaper.

  18. I appreciate your post, Thanks for providing so much information and all of the great tips! I had no idea about some of these but it is always great to learn something new. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Such a beautiful home! The paint color you added makes it absolutely stunning. Thanks for providing so much information and all of the great tips! I had no idea about some of these but it is always great to learn something new-especially when it comes to home appearances! Thanks for sharing!

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