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One of the easiest ways to save money re-decorating is to paint a room yourself. Use these easy steps to save hundreds of dollars per room on painting!

10 Tips For Painting A Room

10 Tips For Painting a Room

One of the easiest ways to save money re-decorating is to paint a room yourself. It can cost anywhere from $200-$500 to have one room painted. You can paint it yourself for under $30. Here are some tips that we have used to save money painting:

  1. Check your local hazardous waste recycling center for free or low cost paint. I’ve painted many rooms and pieces of furniture just by checking their free paint section. I painted my entire house for $45 using three of their low cost five gallon buckets of brand new but leftover construction paint.
  2. Use a vinyl tablecloth or sheet to use as a drop cloth (see notes below) or spend $1.00 for one at a thrift store. They are are heavier than the plastic drop cloths at the store and will last for many rooms of painting. Hang over a clothesline or fence to dry before folding and storing.


  1. When removing the outlet and switch covers, put the screws back into the holes so they don’t get lost. You can also put the covers and screws in a zip top sandwich bag.
  2. Line your roller pan by putting a plastic grocery sack or trash sack (inside out if it has writing on it) on the paint tray. Then you can just invert the sack when you’re done and throw it away. You can also line with foil.
Line Your Roller Pan with a Grocery Sack
Paint Tray - The bag is getting sloppy, but not the roller pan
Invert the messy bag from the roller pan and throw it away
  1. Poke four or five holes with a nail in the groove on the top of the can. That way the paint doesn’t get stuck in the groove around the edge of the can and make a mess when you put the lid back on.
  2. Use the paint at the bottom of the paint can when it’s nearly empty to paint the trim. I got enough paint out of this “empty” gallon to do the entire room’s trim. Also, pour a small amount of paint into an old small plastic container to use for trim instead of lugging the paint can around. I like to use a container with a lid. This way when I am all done and everything is put away I have a little in my container for touch ups. I also keep one paint brush out that I store in a plastic bag and don’t clean for a few days for touch ups.
Use the leftovers at the bottom of "empty" paint cans to paint trim or to touch up
  1. Don’t use painter’s tape. Painting is just like coloring inside the lines in school. Use a small, one-inch, angled paint brush and slowly go around the edges. It takes less time than putting up and taking down tape. Keep a wet rag by your side in case you make small mistakes. Some tape also lets the paint bleed through, so it’s not a very clean finish.
  2. Store your rollers and brushes in a plastic grocery sack between paintings. You don’t have to clean them after each use if you keep them from drying out. Refrigerate overnight or freeze them if you are not going to be painting for several days or weeks.
  3. Turn the ceiling fan on in a room to speed up drying time.
  4. When you’re done with your painting clothes, turn them inside out as you take them off. This way, you don’t accidentally get wet paint on anything but your head. ;-)

Here I am in my messy paint clothes

“How is it that the lady on HGTV paints in a cashmere sweater and high heels? If I can get off the couch to paint at all, it’s a miracle! ;-)” -Tawra


After we originally posted this, we had several people email about these paint tips. Wow, I never knew painting could cause such a controversy!

First, about putting the rollers and brushes in a bag in the freezer or fridge if you aren’t going to be painting for a few days: One reader said she ruined her meat because the bags broke down. When we say put them in the freezer we mean for a few days or weeks, not months or years! Also double bagging would be a good idea. Another reader said that she thought the fumes would not be good. I personally don’t see a problem with this. If the bag is sealed then not much gets out.

Another lady wrote about using a sheet as a drop cloth. I guess I didn’t make myself clear. I use a sheet to cover things but on the floor where the paint is sitting I put extra newspaper, plastic or a shower curtain, vinyl tablecloth or anything else that is more durable under the paint in case it spills.


The same reader said, “it’s a better idea to tape the screws to the back of a wall or light switch plate or better yet, place them in a Ziploc bag with only these items in there. I have known many people to get a bit of a shock when trying to put the screws back in the electrical box and with a bobbling screwdriver have the head slip and BZZZZT! I did it ONCE and never again.”

Ok, I agree! When I said screw them back in I used my fingers and not the screwdriver. Nothing was sticking out of the wall and I wasn’t poking anything metal into the socket. So use common sense on this one and either tape them on the back or screw them back in with your fingers.

Here is a common tip for saving on paint that I don’t think really saves: “Buy tinted primer to put up first. It keeps the paint from being sucked into the wall (especially if it’s textured sheet rock that has never had new paint on it). If you’re painting over a dark color with a lighter one it will help keep it from bleeding through.”

I hear this tip all the time and it makes no sense. They say it’s saves time and money. How? You are still putting on two or three coats of something whether it’s paint or primer. Unless it’s had something like water or smoke damage or is a new wall why waste money and extra time cleaning brushes using primer?

Just get two cans of paint instead if you don’t really need the primer. Then you’ll have some leftover paint if you need it for something else. If you need the primer, get it, but if you don’t need it, it really doesn’t save money or time. If you spend $25 per gallon on paint and the primer is significantly cheaper, then go ahead, but I have never found expensive paint to be worth the additional cost over inexpensive paint.


For helpful tips to make organizing, cleaning and laundry easier, take a look at our How To Organize And Clean Your Home e-books.