Painting Tips That Save Money

Image by Alexa
Image by Alexa

I admit it. I goofed, and it almost cost me big time. This post is so you won't make the same mistakes I did.

Last week on my "floor post" I mentioned that I had decided to paint the living room/kitchen before the tile people show up. (More on the tile people later.)

For over two weeks I'd been mulling over swatches. I wanted something neutral but warm. I wanted "greige" but when I put it up on the wall it was terrible.

I chose something called heirloom silver. It had just a hint of beige on the gray. In bright sunlight, it didn't look bad. It was brighter than I anticipated though. As it dried, and as the sun started to go down and I drew down the shades, that heirloom silver was downright cold.

It might've looked good in a contemporary setting but not in my home. I stopped at one wall to see if we still hated it in the morning.

We did.  We just wasted $172 on three gallons of the best Behr paint. 

I bought it at Home Depot, so I went to check on their return policy. In the past, I've often seen lots of returned paint on their "Oops shelf", but I had to admit I hadn't seen much oops paint lately.

It turns out they're a lot less forgiving than they used to be about returns. The store closest to us turned us down and told us to go back to the store where we originally bought it, another 30 miles away.

Did I mention I'd had only 3 hours of sleep the night before? That's how much this bad paint color bothered me. We trucked off in another direction to see if the other store would accept a return. 

Thank the Maker, they did. I was never more grateful. And if given a choice I will always send my business to the Greenville Home Depot from now on.

I grabbed some more swatches--this time only in the warm beige/tan spectrum and let Greg choose.

He chose a color called Basketry.

It was surprisingly similar to our original paint, BUT warmer. It was the color I should've painted these rooms 15 years ago.

Here's where we saved money.

In the past I've always opted for the middle grade paint. I like Behr and I stand by it, but over the years they've changed their formulation. The middle grade paint didn't cover in one coat like it used to.

Greg made me buy their best paint. 

It was the best decision ever.

15 years ago I needed three gallons to paint those rooms. This year, Behr Marquee covered the same walls in a little over one gallon. 

Fortunately, since I realized from the gray paint that it was covering so well, I opted to buy only two gallons instead of three.

Other Painting Tips

  • Always prep your room before painting. I usually take an entire day to dust walls, scrub cabinets and molding, and tape off any areas where I don't want paint. You want everything pristine and dry before you paint.

  • Don't settle for cheap or mid grade paint. I'm a believer in the best quality paint now. Yes, it's more expensive, but not only did I use less paint, it also took far less time. Time is money. I recommend Behr Marquee.

  • If you nick the wrong spot with paint, use a damp rag or sponge. A sponge is great for really tight spaces.

  • Good quality paint now comes with a screw on spout that makes it easy to pour paint without gumming up the lid and rim. The spouts are free. Use them.

  • Tape. I use blue painter's tape. It's sticky without leaving a residue. A time saver for sure. The 1 1/2 inch tape is the size I like to use.

  • Drop cloth. Don't use those flimsy plastic sheets. Make sure it's hefty enough to lay flat on the ground and not waft all over the place. Look for plastic sheeting that is 1-2 mil.

  • If you can't finish in a day, cover your brushes and roller in plastic wrap and then in one of those plastic grocery bags. I try to use up the paint in my tray before I stop, but the brushes and rollers can be wrapped up then put in the fridge. It'll be ready to go the next day. I don't mind wrapping my roller for the night, but I prefer to wash my paint brush every night. That's just me. A good paint brush should be well cared for.

  • Use a good quality roller for walls, but cut in edges and corners with a paint brush. I use a 2 1/2 inch angled paint brush.

  • Ladders. Ah, something even more expensive than paint. I had a corner in my kitchen that in the past I could not reach. This time we had a better ladder that could be adjusted on either side to fit the space. I don't recommend this ladder to everyone, but if you know you're going to need it for tricky spots, it's a lifesaver. FYI: No matter what they tell you, The Little Giant is not easy to fold and adjust--at least not for me, but it does a job that most ladders can't. Greg can manage it though so I'm safe.

  • Clean up is tedious but necessary if you want to keep your brushes in good shape. Don't skip this part. A good brush is essential. A cheap brush is a waste of time and money because you'll constantly be pulling brush hairs off your painted surface.

Because Behr Marquee paint covered so well, I was done in three days, despite one day of painting the wrong color and all the running around we did to return the paint.

It's a good thing I like to paint. If it weren't for that one setback I might've called it the easiest paint job I've done in a long time.

Back to the tile people. Would you believe I have not heard back from them when I asked for a new estimate for more tile?

Hopefully, I will hear from them this week. Here I was worried I wouldn't get done in time and now they're keeping me waiting. 

I really hope I can get all these projects done by Thanksgiving. 

Do you like painting or do you prefer to let the professionals do it?



B.E. Sanderson said…
Ooo, I love our Little Giant ladder. Of course, Hubs is the one who works with it, but it does everything we need it to do and then some. I'm glad you finally found a paint you could live with. And that you found a place that would take back the stuff you couldn't bear.

I wouldn't say I love painting, but I certainly like it more than paying someone else to do it. ;o)
Maria Zannini said…
BE: I see Greg pulling this knob or knocking in another, growing that ladder in any direction he wants. It's really an amazing piece of engineering. But it looks daunting for me.

I agree though. It does everything we need.

re: ...but I certainly like it more than paying someone else to do it.

Ha! Me too. As long as I can still scramble up ladders I don't mind in the least.

I was lucky, when the roof leaked two years ago, the insurance adjuster caught two little spots--which I didn't even see--on the ceiling so they paid to have the whole ceiling painted too. (I hate painting ceilings.)
Dru Ann said…
I prefer for the professional to handle the painting task.
Mike Keyton said…
I leave it to Bernadette
Maria Zannini said…
Dru: I don't blame you. You have enough to deal with.
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: Is that Bernadette I hear growling in the background. I hope you at least move all the furniture.