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Don't go for the cheap stuff. Splurge for quality paint and painting tools that are good for the environment too. You'll thank us later.

When we decided to paint the tiny bedroom in our previous rented apartment, my husband and I opted for bold color: a deep Moroccan blue inspired by a Paris hotel room we'd once stayed in. We went into it knowing full well that we'd have to paint the dark walls back to boring, landlord-approved white before moving.

I knew that trying to cover up a dark color with a light color wouldn't be easy. That said, I never realized that painting such a tiny space (it fit little more than our queen-size bed) could take so long! I would find out later that it didn't have to be so hard.

When I made my second trip to the hardware store to get my second gallon of paint for the smallest bedroom ever, I shared the saga of my (expensive) marathon paint job with the owner. I had invested in quality, non-toxic paint - Benjamin Moore's Natura paint -- and had the paint department color-match my landlord's preferred shade. Quality paint, check. Prime walls first, check. So why was it taking more than two coats to cover the blue walls? In short, I learned that night that you get what you pay for when it comes to painting tools.

Originally, I had bought the cheapest roller covers and brushes at the hardware store. But the cheap-o roller cover translated to poor paint adhesion: the paint was sticking more to the roller cover than to my walls! And the brush, which I used to cut into corners and along the baseboard, was spitting bristles left and right and leaving streaks. Saving that extra $3 on the roller cover wound up costing me another $45 gallon of paint, 3 hours of painting time, sore shoulders, and a heap of aggravation. And I wound up buying a new and improved roller cover for the second round of painting. So much for being frugal.

My advice is simple: invest in quality painting tools. Don't buy the cheapest painting supplies at the store. It makes all the difference when it comes to quality -- and a paint job is something you'll (hopefully) live with for a long time. The good news is you can find quality painting tools that are eco-friendly, too. Two birds with one stone! Here are my picks:

- Roller tray: This Green Depot paint tray is made from recycled plastic beverage bottles! And it's recyclable itself. I've seen similar trays at The Home Depot and my local Ace hardware store.

- Paint cup: There are Green Depot paint cups and plastic liners in every shape and size now that are made with this special recycled plastic.

- Painting dropcloth:
As you might have surmised, if I'm going to buy something plastic, I like it to be recycled plastic, so I'm not putting more plastic out into the world. For painting dropcloths, I prefer plastic dropcloths made from recycled plastic. You can also opt for a reusable canvas dropcloth.

- Roller frame: I've had a few roller frames break on me, so I finally invested in a wood frame that will last.

- Roller covers: Using less materials is more green in my book. I saw a 200 percent difference in painting when I switched to Purdy roller covers -- the only ones that I'll use now.

- Paint brushes: I love the idea of a brush that lets you replace just the bristle pack (instead of tossing the entire brush!). With this brush, the bristles snap into a recyclable plastic handle. I've definitely had paint dry on my brush more than once - which ruins the bristles - so this would be a great eco-brush that saves money over the long-term.

Oh, and we loved that rich blue color so much so that I painted the walk-in closet in our new space the same color. And I feel relieved knowing that painting it back to white before we move will be a breeze (because I won't be using that $1 roller cover.) Lesson learned.

  • Jim Bob

    Use a purdy 2" sah brush for corners,casings and base boards.Your purdy will last a long time if you remeber to clean it promptly after use.Oxiclean does a great job. Use a wire brush to remove the stubborn stuff. When you are reurning a room to a neutral color ,use kilz latex primer first,then your finish color,Satin looks and wears better than flat.Behr makes very good paint.Save that roller cover,wash,wash and wash,less expensive than new each painting.You standard 6x8 oudoor tarp about $6.00 moves with you and can be used many times.When doing ceilings be sure to use a extension pole and stay off the ladder,much easier to see where youve been . Happy painting.I still do mine at smarter no harder Jim Bob

  • lily

    If you really wanted to help the environment, don't buy unnecessary materials. Purchase a paint cup?.....common. Cut the top off a clean empty milk jug to paint out of-that's recycling plastic. Use old felt backed table cloths, blankets etc. as drop cloths instead of buying a new plastic one.

    This article is hypocritical.

  • Barb

    I just remodeled my bathroom Http:// and with paint and it looks awesome!

  • Joanne

    I save my old plastic shower curtain liners and use them as drop cloths. These come in handy for lots of things and you aren't adding any more plastic to the environment. Thanks for the tip about rollers. I didn't think they made a lot of difference.

  • Collins Pt.

    Biodegradable plastic and packaging is a modern necessity for our ever-endangered environment.
    Now PLA has been used to line the indoors of Paper Cups in place of the oil based lining additional usually used, create Plastic Cups, Plates, Carrier Bags, Food Packaging and even Nappies.
    Eco Pure is our proprietary blend of organic materials that does not modify the base resin to which it is added.

    Thanks a lot for your information

  • Moremo

    You should clean your rollers. And there is a fast and easy way. I found a product that cleans the rollers with warm water in 30-40 seconds. I don't have to litter anymore, and I can invest in good quality roller covers to get the best painting results. Its called Washaroller and it is amazing.

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