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.