Many people know that painting is one of the easier home improvement efforts you can make yourself. If you have the time, and doing it right does take time, then you can save a lot of money if you can do at least the basics yourself. And that's what we're talking about today, giving your rooms a face-lift without the expense of painting contractors.

What are you painting and how do you want it to look when you're finished? Color is beyond the scope of this discussion, so let's wrap up that point by saying that unless you're going to live with the color for a good, long time, don't get  too crazy: You'll wind up having to tone it down when you decide to sell.  

You probably know there are a variety of interior paint types you can work with, but in general, you're going to use a flat, non-reflective finish on the main walls and semi-gloss or gloss finish on trim, moulding, baseboards, and door and window frames. You'll get great advice for your particular situation from the folks at your local paint store or in the painting section of Lowes or Home Depot.

How much paint to you need? You'll need to determine how many square feet you'll need to cover. Simply measure the height and width of each wall (in feet) and multiple those numbers together. If you have a lot of windows or doors along the wall, you'll want to subtract the square feet they take up from the total square feet. The paint can itself should tell you how many square feet it will cover.  Remember, paint left over is great for when you need to do repairs or touch-ups later!

You'll also need the tools to do the job: Brushes, rollers, roller tray, painter's tape and drop clothes. Don't skimp on these items - the quality will make a difference! Make sure you have a sturdy ladder. And grab some  face masks, because breathing those fumes isn't good for anyone! For more on the tools you'll need, here's expert painter Grady Johnson:

Before you start painting, you'll need to ensure your walls are ready. You're going to have big problems if you don't take care here. You need the painting surface to be in great shape, and that means fixing holes or other damage, and make sure the wall is free of dust and debris. You're going to also need to make sure you have plenty of space to work in and that the floor and any items in the room are properly protected with drop cloths.

For more details, let me suggest these articles on, or the TLC network's articles on And stay tuned here for the next step, actually putting the paint on the walls!

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy Wuertele/