Painting is one of those home improvement tasks that a lot of people take on themselves, instead of hiring a pro. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s always great when you can save money and get your hands dirty helping to make your house beautiful. What a lot of inexperienced homeowners DON’T realize, however, is that painting is a lot harder than it looks! Here, from actual professional painters, is a short list of things that DIY painters generally don’t think of before they take the first brushstroke. 

Prep is everything!

If you think actual painting is hard, you clearly haven’t thought about the prep work. Ryan Benson, a professional painter in Apple Valley, MN, who was quoted by, says that preparation takes up about 30 percent of the total time of a paint job. This includes laboriously covering all furniture and flooring with plastic and agonizingly taping off all the edges at both ceiling and baseboard level. And don’t forget the little things, like removing all the electrical covers. Experts say you should also start the project by washing the walls first with a residue-free cleaner.

You probably didn’t buy enough paint.

Benson says that running out of paint is a very common mistake for experienced painters, who tend to think that a gallon will go a lot further than it actually will. Not counting primer - and yeah, you need that as well - you should put two coats of paint on the wall. One gallon will generally cover about 400 square feet, which is the size of a small bedroom. Luckily, it’s easy enough to avoid this problem by plugging your space’s dimensions into an online paint calculator that will tell you just how much you need.

It’s going to take more time and money than you expected.

“Easy peasy,” you’re telling yourself. “I can knock out painting my whole living room and hallway in a single day off. Let me tell my boss.” Hold up, cowboy! If you are not an experienced painter, it is going to take you an entire weekend to paint an average sized master bedroom, which is 12 x 12 feet. First of all there is the time it takes to prep and actually paint the room, then there is the time you have to wait for one layer to dry between coats - this can be as little as one hour or as long as two days! And then there’s the money. Per “Between paint, primer, and supplies (e.g., brushes, rollers, sandpaper, and tape), it costs, on average, $200 to $300 to paint a 10-by-12-foot room. But those amounts can increase significantly when painting a textured wall, since texture adds more surface area, which means you need more paint to cover the entire room.”

Still feeling confident about that paint job you were planning? This isn’t meant to intimidate you into hiring a pro, but rather to encourage you to plan properly so that you can do the job right the first time. Nothing sucks quite like having to excruciatingly touch-up a shoddy job where paint splattered the ceiling or dried all streaky. If you go into it willing to put the time, energy, and money into it, you can definitely tackle a paint project by yourself.