Save Cash on Painting Save Cash on Painting

Painting is one of the fastest and least expensive ways to revamp the look of a room or even your entire interior. But, it can still be somewhat costly.

Throughout my years of painting, though, I've run across some awesome money-saving tips. You can change the look of your home without breaking the bank.

Find Quality Paint at a Price

I’m not talking about a sale, anyone can find a sale. Obviously, one of the most expensive parts of your painting project will be buying the paint. However, by being flexible on which color you want, you can save a bundle. Almost all paint and home improvement stores offer deep discounts on paint that has been returned or mistinted. Many of these stores have clearance paint sections, but you may have to ask for it specifically. And, your local hazardous waste recycling center most likely takes people's extra paint and sells it to thrifty do-it-yourselfers to save them the disposal fees. This isn’t cheap paint or off brands. This is the good stuff that someone else didn’t want for some reason, and can’t go back on the shelves because it was customized.

I was able to find a rich forest green for my bright office just by poking around the old forgotten shelves at my local paint store.

Skip the Painter's Tape

One of the many mistakes I made when trying to paint my first apartment was snapping up rolls of painter's tape at the hardware store. Not only did it take a nice chunk out of my budget, but it also prompted my brother, the contractor, to give me that "Are you crazy?!" look that I've gotten so used to. I quickly learned that painter's tape can be a handy little prep tool, but it's not a necessity. At a few bucks a roll, painter's tape can tack on a hefty sum to your total painting costs, especially if you're painting several rooms.

Instead, Contractor Brother gave me a quick lesson on how to carefully cut in around windows, doors, and ceilings with an angled trim brush. Inexperienced painters or those with unsteady hands-like me-can also opt to use paint edging tools. To keep my project even cheaper, I used a piece of thin, rigid cardboard as a barrier between the wall I was painting and the area that I want to keep clean.

Replace Expensive Drop Cloths

Any painter knows that protecting your furniture and floors is important. After all, you don't want to end up with that bright blueberry paint on your nice new chocolate brown carpet. Odd combination, I know, but that's what I get for letting my fiance pick out the color scheme.

Instead of dropping big bucks on commercial drop cloth, we decided to use some cheap old blankets and heavy sheets we were going to throw out anyway. They didn't cost us a thing, since we already had them laying around. Of course, if you don't have any, they'll only set you back a few bucks if you purchase them from a thrift store.

Refresh Your Old Colors

This is where I always seem to go wrong. When I change the look of a room, I go all out, and choose a completely different color. Not only does this take more time and frustration to cover up, but it also makes it much more expensive to cover up.

If you can live with the same colors-or even just a different shade-you're in luck. By opting to stick with a similar color palette, you'll be able to use less coats of paint, which means that you'll need to buy less paint. In some cases, you may only need one coat of paint, cutting your paint costs in half.

Buy Only as Much as You Need

If you're only painting a small area, such as an accent wall or trim, there's a good chance you won't need more than one gallon of paint. Determine the square footage of the area you'll be painting or use an online paint calculator. In some cases, you may be able to get away with buying a quart of paint or even an inexpensive pint sample.

Invest in a Good Primer for Dark or Bright Walls

You may be tempted to save money on your painting project by skipping the primer, but this could end up costing you in the long run. Dark and brightly colored walls are notoriously hard to cover, and may take several coats of regular paint.

Using a primer on these surfaces, however, will make it much easier to cover these colors. This means that you'll use less paint overall, and therefore spend less money.

Skip the Roller Pan Covers

This is one money-saving paint tip I learned very early. After all, I couldn't justify spending money on little pieces of plastic that I would simply toss later anyway.

While they do make cleanup much faster and easier, roller pan covers are just another unnecessary painting expense. Instead, nix them completely and take a few moments to wash the pans out afterward, or cover them with grocery bags or inexpensive garbage bags. The bags can be scooped up and thrown in the trash when you're done.

Take the Time to Clean Your Tools Properly

Letting paint dry on your paint brushes and roller covers is one of the biggest money wasting habits that do-it-yourself painters have. I can't count how many expensive brushes I've ruined because I was just too tired to do a good job cleaning up. Once I let paint dry on my brushes, they become completely useless, forcing me to go out and buy new brushes.

When you're taking a break or finished with the job, clean your tools properly. Latex paint should be cleaned with soap and warm water, and oil-based paint should be cleaned with mineral spirits and dish detergent. Cleaning your tools thoroughly will keep them in tip-top shape for your next project, saving you both time and money.

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