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Money-saving tips for home improvement using Home Depot: Painting

By (view all posts by Susan.Yoo-Lee)
at 6:00AM Tuesday March 5, 2013
under Money Saving Tips

Painting your room is the easiest way to take it from drab to fab. It gives it an instant facelift and updates the look and feel of the room in only a few hours. The best part is that it costs less than $100 to do it (dependent on square footage) Yay!

As a new homeowner, I had all these initial thoughts of how my living room would look like before I moved into my home. But after I moved in, reality set in. The money I wanted to use for my dream living room makeover had to be used towards getting a new roof.

So I sat in my blue living room and was trying to think of ways to change it on a very low budget. There was no way I was going to stare at that ugly blue wall for the next year. Then, ding-ding-ding-ding, I got my answer - changing the color of the room. The biggest thing that I hated about the room was the color, so why not change it?

Since I've never painted a room before, I was a little scared of what I was getting myself into. Could I actually paint the room myself? What if it comes out looking crazy and I would spend more money fixing the problems that I had created?  I had a lot of what-ifs and a whole bunch of question marks. So instead of driving myself crazy trying to hash it out in my brain, I went into my local Home Depot store.

I walked over to the paint department and was immediately overwhelmed with the aisles of paint, paint supplies and everything I had no clue about. Even the area with the color swatches scared me because there was so much to take in (Behr had 3 sections to themselves).

Instead of freaking out, I thought I would enlist the help of an associate. There was no way I was going to live with that ugly blue wall for the next year (even though I tried to convince myself in the store).

Phyllis (paint associate), kindly went through the entire process with me. Starting with the paint color, then moving on to the supplies that I needed to make the magic happen. But there are a few things you need to know before coming to the store:
  1. Is your wall flat or shiny? This will determine what sort of paint you will be getting.
  2. What color is your wall now?
  3. What room or surface are you painting?
  4. Square footage of your room.
Paint color tip: If you have a color you have in mind or a swatch from let say Walmart or Dunn-Edwards, you can bring it to Home Depot and they will color-match at no extra cost to you. So you get custom color for the same cost. I found a Martha Stewart color that I liked and I wanted the thickness of the Behr brand, they were able to color match into the Behr paint that I wanted (instead of Glidden, who owns the Martha Stewart colors).

These are some of the items you'll need to paint your room:
  • Painters Tape
  • Plastic or any other cover for floor and furniture
  • 2"-2 1/2" angle brush to cut in around the wall (like a frame)
  • For narrow spaces, use smaller brush like 1"-1 1/2"
  • Use 3/8 - 1/2 roller nap.
  • Tray
Money saving tip: Instead of buying everything separately, I bought a kit that included a metal roller tray with ladder-lock legs, several roller covers, a 3 in. frame and a 9 in. frame, a 2 in. brush and a paint-can opener.  If I bought this separately, it would have cost $25. I saved 60% by paying only $9.97 (plus tax) for the kit.

My room was 12 x 12, so it came out to 576 square feet (we had to multiply 12x12=144 square feet then multiply that number with 4 and we got 576 square feet). I was told to buy 2 gallons since 1 gallon covered approximately 300 square feet. Remember, the square foot can change depending on how many doors and windows you have in the room and if you're going to paint your ceiling.

I also asked if I needed to buy 2 more gallons for another coat, but the associate said that the paint from Behr was really thick and a lot of people were good after one coat. She said that if I needed more, I should just come back because they don't accept returns on leftover paints (another money saving tip).

Money saving tip: You may buy a cheap generic brand of paint thinking that you are saving money. The lower costing paints are thinner and need 3 or more coats. In the end, the price will either equal the premium brand's one coat or even come out to be more. Stick to a good premium brand with good thickness and you will save time and money.

When I returned home, I taped all the crown molding, ceilings and corners to prep the space (this took the longest time). After that, it took me 3 hours to paint the room and I had a half gallon of paint leftover when I was done (I didn't subtract the doors and windows from the room). I'll be using the extra paint for any future accidents such as paint chipping or if my daughter decides to draw on the wall. The total cost came out to be less than $100 including tax.

Now I have a brand new room that feels more like me and makes me smile every time I walk through the door (it was worth every penny and even the muscle aches I felt the next day). Small changes can make big impressions and doesn't have to break the bank!

Come back tomorrow when I talk about my experience on getting new windows installed. If you've been thinking about changing out your windows for aesthetic reasons or to be energy efficient, this is not to be missed.

Every day during our 5 part series, answer the question of the day by commenting on the post to be eligible to win a $100 Home Depot gift card. You must comment on all 5 posts by 11:59pm PST on 03/10/2013 to be eligible (please see contest rules). Plus, take advantage of this rare Home Depot coupon to get $5 off your purchase over $50. Today's question is: What is your favorite paint color and why?

(Source: Savings.com)