5 Places Where It's OK to Skimp on a Paint Job

Ugh, painting. Just when you think you've made a responsible decision and gone with a moderately-priced paint and your project is underway, you realize you need another bucket, or maybe two. And while you're at it you really could use another roller, and as it turns out cutting in is not your forte so you should probably throw in a few rolls of painter's tape. It all mounts up quickly. Here are a few ways to save a little money without sacrificing quality or having to revisit this painting thing any time soon.

It's totally okay to skimp on:

  1. Ceilings. This is the perfect place to go with an inexpensive paint. There's no wear and tear up here, so the decreased durability of a cheap paint is not a consideration, and ceilings are painted infrequently, so if you have to do a little extra touch-up during the process it's not the end of the world.
  2. Garages, Closets, and Other Storage Areas. These are other great places to simply save money on the paint itself. Go with an inexpensive line of paint, or search the mistints section at the paint and hardware stores for a higher quality discounted paint. I, for one, would love to see a fun pop of color when I open the garage door!
  3. Furniture. Low-use furniture, like the table your television sits on, can handle a less durable, cheap paint. Higher-use furniture is another good way to put the mistints section to work. Years ago I bought an ugly green turned-leg table at a thrift store for $42, then picked up a mistinted gallon of high-gloss black paint for $8. The $50 combo gave me an awesome, inexpensive dining table for six years (until I decided to hack it up to make two desks instead!).
  4. Painting Supplies. Tape, dropcloths, and buckets can really add up. Skimp on anything that's not part of the finished product, (i.e.NOT the paint and brushes or rollers). In the end it doesn't matter if you used the store brand tape or if your dropcloth is enjoying a second life after starting out as a vinyl tablecloth.
  5. Samples. This is my favorite way to save money on a paint job! Paint and hardware stores sell little sample pots (usually for just a few dollars), which are a great way to test a color in your home before committing to a large project, but these little samples are even better for cheaply accomplishing small projects. Let's say you have the misfortune to fall in love with an expensive paint, Farrow and Ball's paint gallons can be over $120, but a sample pot is just $7.50. That sample could give a high-end finish to a thrifted chair, or a couple of samples could paint an accent wall for far less (more than $100 less!) than the cost of the full gallon.

(Image credits: Carolyn Purnell)