Painting a space can be a daunting task if you've never attempted it. But it's also one of the quickest and cheapest ways to completely change a room, according to Cathy Peroff and Jana Oliveri of Spokane's HUE Color and Decor.
"Paint, new throw pillows and a new rug are the most inexpensive items to buy, and they can completely change the look of a room," Oliveri says. "I would say you could totally revamp a room with paint, pillows and a rug for less than $200" [for the paint].
Before starting the process, you need to decide on a color. Peroff notes that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and recommends first looking at palettes to get an idea of how you want the space to look.
"Once you know a color you want to use, then you can build a color palette around that," Oliveri says.
One of the biggest misconceptions of painting a room is that it is a long, arduous process. Peroff doesn't agree.
"If we are talking about a standard bedroom, start to finish I would say it takes four hours to paint," Peroff said. "It's all in the prep. It takes awhile to tape and clean everything off, and if you don't feel comfortable doing that, it takes even longer."
Oliveri explains that if you are painting a porous surface or painting a dark wall a lighter color, you'll need to prime the surface, which also adds to the total time.
"A lot of times with clients we look at how much prep needs to be done," Peroff says. "If the walls are in good shape and if it's a lighter color, it shouldn't take too long."
While most homes have walls you can definitely do yourself, some spaces do require a more skilled hand, and that's where professional painters and decorators come in.
"When you are in doubt, hire someone who knows what they are doing — like us," Peroff says. "People think it's expensive to hire professionals, but it's not. You end up saving a lot of time and money hiring someone if you don't know what you're doing. You don't spend endless hours buying samples or furniture that you won't like later."
When you decide it's time to tackle a painting project is totally up to you. You don't need to wait until a wall or room looks bad to break out a brush and bucket.
"It's always a good time for a fresh coat of paint in my opinion," says Erin Haskell Gourde, interior designer and owner and creative director of Design for the PPL. "It's really just an economical way to feel, you know, reborn again."
Haskell says it is best to stick strictly to specialized paint stores for first those attempting DIY painting. They exist for a reason: to guarantee your paint doesn't fail. Cheaper, lower quality paints found at big box stores are simply not up to par with higher quality products that paint stores like Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore carry. And, of course, employee expertise is another factor falling in favor of a trip to a specialized store.
Haskell also says it's time for home decorators to reconsider the current, trendy instinct to select matte finishes. Although many find the look of a matte finish aesthetically pleasing, its look regresses significantly faster than paint with a glossier sheen, since matte finishes are more difficult to clean.
Painting is all about sheen, or the glossy presentation of paint finish, Haskell says. As a designer, Haskell is an enthusiast of a glossy finish.
"Don't be afraid to go full-gloss, or semi-gloss, especially if your walls are smooth," she says.
Once you have decided your preferred sheen, purchased a fresh can of paint and tackled the messy, often tiresome portion of the project, it's time to channel some creativity and accessorize. Keyword being accessorize, not over-accessorize.
The best way to complement your brand new walls, Haskell says, is to decorate simply and focus on one single standout feature. Hanging a print, painting or installation, or even highlighting a built-in bookshelf are great ways to add a finishing touch.
"The best way to refresh your wall is to paint it and then put a huge piece of art on there," says Haskell. "That's a big wow factor." ♦[Editor's note: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect Jana Oliveri's cost estimate for paint]