How much will painting that room cost?

Painting the wallNo matter what room you want to update, painting is the cheapest and fastest way to transform a dull design and give it that immediate “wow” factor. As such, interior house painting is the most popular DIY project. In addition to the benefits above, it is also one of the most forgiving for our painting rookies. Nonetheless, like any home remodeling project, it comes with a cost. Whether you hire an interior painting pro or not, expect to open up your wallet for this home renovation project. But how much, exactly? Continue reading to see the average interior painting cost as well as the factors that can increase or decrease your overall painting budget.

According to our interior painting cost estimator, the average price to paint an interior room is $1,655. There are many factors that go into this overall price, but some include:

1. Types of Paint
Giving a room a new coat of paint is the best opportunity to replace your current paint with a healthier, more eco-friendly alternative. As a result, many homeowners choose a water-based latex style of paint as opposed to the historically popular oil-based paints. Oil-based paints contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. When some people are exposed to VOCs, they may experience dizziness, nausea, eye irritation, respiratory discomfort, or asthma attacks.

2. Quality of Paint
As we are dealing with interior walls (or cabinets), you are most likely going to go with a flat paint. However, low-sheen, eggshell, semi-gloss and gloss (all enamels in the painting world), are often used to paint kitchen and bathroom cabinets. All will have an effect on the total price.

Flatter paints tend to be more expensive. These low-luster paints contain minerals that roughen the surface, creating an even coat that hides flaws. Glossier paints, on the other hand, have fewer minerals and form a smoother, more durable finish. They do show imperfections—but, as you can guess—are less expensive.

3. Amount of Paint
The more paint you buy, the more expensive your project will be—obviously. A general rule is that one gallon will cover between 300 and 350 square feet. While the cost of paint will be a majority of your material costs, don’t expect it to largely affect the overall project cost. It’s rare that the cost of materials exceeds even 10 percent of the project. The bulk of the expense will be labor, size of the space and professional services (if needed).

4. Hiring a Pro
The interior painting cost mentioned earlier ($1,655) assumes you are hiring a professional to complete the job for you. As you might imagine, you can drastically reduce this cost by painting the room yourself. As mentioned above, a majority of the painting expense comes from labor. While your time and effort certainly come with a price, it’s not nearly as much as hiring a pro. Be that as it may, many homeowners soon regret this DIY project after realizing how much work actually goes into it. Hiring a pro will assure no headache, and guarantee a quick completion.

5. Desired Space
Sadly, all interior rooms and walls do not cost the same if you hire a professional painter. Bedrooms and living rooms, for example, tend to cost more than kitchens because all of the walls are exposed rather than covered up by cabinetry. The same goes for bathrooms.

On the other hand, painting a ceiling is another obstacle all together. Because of the height, tackling this job as a DIY project can be a serious challenge, and it also requires additional equipment in order to evenly roll paint along the ceiling’s surface. On average, expect to pay between $242 and $412 for professional painting services on the ceiling of a 50 square foot room, a project that should take between five and six hours to complete.

6. Size of Space
The larger the walls or ceiling, the more expensive your project will be.

7. Complexity of Design
There are certain designs that demand more time and thus, increase the average interior painting cost. Whether you go with stripes, diagonals or anything but a solid color wall, the average cost will rise. Complex designs demand more prep. It demands more work. It demands different color paints (usually). As such, it demands more money. If you want to keep costs down, limit the complexity of your designs.

8. Tools
The tools needed for any painting project will largely depend on the size of the work. If you hired a pro, you won’t need to worry about painting tools, but if you’re taking it on as a DIY project, you should have a:

  • Roller frame
  • Roller cover with a one-half inch to one-inch nap
  • Two-gallon bucket
  • Rolling pole (especially if you’re painting the ceiling)
  • Roller tray
  • Extra foam brushes and rollers
  • Safety goggles (regular swimming goggles will work just fine)

9. Time
It takes about an hour to put a single coat of paint on the walls of an average-sized bedroom. It takes another two to three hours for a coat of paint to dry in order to re-coat. Most rooms require two coats of paint, so it may take up to six hours to finish the average job. For deep, rich or vibrant colors such as reds, blues, oranges or purples, three or more coats may be necessary. Getting thicker, more expensive paint can reduce the amount of time you have to spend on multiple coats.

The average price to paint an interior room is $1,655. As you have seen above, there are plenty of ways to decrease this cost, the most effective of which is to paint the room yourself.

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Spruce Up Your Kitchen for the coming New Year

Photo by: Nancy Hugo

Photo by: Nancy Hugo

These days the kitchen is the most important room in the house. We’re constantly calling it our main hub, where we cook fresh meals, entertain guests, do homework, post messages and, yes, every now and then watch TV. But with the increased focus on function comes a lot of stuff that needs fixing, replacing, tweaking, cleaning, and organizing. For that you’ll need to arm yourself with some kitchen knowledge so you can stay on top of what’s most important. Here are 19 projects that every home dweller should know about.

1. Choose a new kitchen sink. Is there anything in your kitchen that gets used as much as your sink? Doubtful. That’s why it’s important to choose the right one — size, width, style — for your space.

2. Pick a new kitchen faucet. Sure, a faucet is a must for practical tasks, but it also helps define the style of your kitchen.

3. Replace your kitchen faucet. This is a project that’s straightforward enough for many homeowners or a handy friend.

4. Reface your kitchen cabinets. The costs of buying or building new cabinets can add up quick. Refacing might be a more affordable option for you — and can add 10 years of life to your cabinets.

5. Paint your cabinets a new color. Maybe refacing isn’t what you need but a jazzy new paint color is. This is another more budget-friendly option than replacing, but the glossy finish on the woodwork may prove challenging for some DIYers.

6. Choose new cabinet knobs and pulls. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are countless styles of pulls, knobs, hinges, and more to make sense of.

7. Organize everything. From the pantry and shelves to the cabinets and appliances, we accumulate a lot of stuff in our kitchens. What you need is a full-on game plan to get everything in order.

8. Build a mail and message center. Of course, clutter comes from outside the kitchen too, in the form of mail, notes, keys, and more. Take control over the mess with your own message center.

9. Clean tile grout. Is there anything on this planet that’s harder to clean than tile grout? Probably not.

See how to clean grout.

10. Clean your cutting board. With all the action — and bacteria — your cutting boards and butcher blocks see, keeping them clean should be part of your routine.

See how to clean and care for your butcher block.

11. Shop for appliances wisely. No two ovens or microwaves or refrigerators are created equal. Here’s how to be a savvy shopper.

See 6 tips for buying kitchen appliances.

12. Make a stand for tablets and cookbooks. It sounds pretty basic, but this little accessory will make your life in the kitchen so much easier.

13. Install a kitchen backsplash. A new kitchen backsplash can dramatically change the way your kitchen looks and feels. The great thing is that, if you’re choosing tile, it’s a project you might be able to do yourself.

See how to install a tile backsplash.

14. Add storage to your backsplash for hanging pots, pans, and utensils. Already got a backsplash but want to make better use of it? Installing systems for hanging utensils and pans is a great way to maximize that wall.

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Tips to Stage a Winter Wonderland in Your Home

Photo by: Stephen Clulow

Photo by: Stephen Clulow

During the holidays, winter cheer is everywhere. Holiday carols fill homes, stores are beautifully decorated, and there’s a general feeling of joy as families gather and fulfill each other’s wish-lists.

No doubt, people are in a buying spirit. For home buyers looking forward to starting off fresh for the New Year, you want to create a warm and inviting space that will set your home apart from the rest.

Here are five easy ways to do this:

1. Go Green

Wreaths and garlands instantly create a holiday mood, and they also fill your home with the unmistakable fragrance of cedar and pine. Wreaths can be hung on doors, mailboxes and front windows, and you can wind garlands around banisters.

2. Display Seasonal Fruits

Fill large bowls with winter fruits such as persimmons, apples, pomegranates, and the countless varieties of citrus. Place these in the living and dining rooms, and kitchen. Not only do these give life to spaces, but you can also offer them as snacks to buyers.

3. Present a Festival of Lights

Recent technology has provided us with stunning exterior lighting options that are instant reminders of the holiday season. There are energy efficient LEDs, lights shaped as snowflakes, and even ones that electronically mimic snowfall and icicles. Subtle decorations are best because they will please a wide audience—so avoid any blow-up lawn Santa’s or life-sized snow globes.

4. Create Simple Winter Floral Arrangements

Here’s a tip that will instantly turn any flower arrangement into a winter one. Place fresh cranberries in a large transparent vase, fill it with water, and arrange your flowers as you normally would. For an even more dramatic look, choose white flowers along with your arrangement’s leafy fillers.

5. Fill Your Home with Winter Aromas

You can find scented pinecones in stores throughout the country. Fill large bowls with them and place them in living rooms, bedrooms, and the dining room. Also, candles with winter fragrances–like gingerbread and cinnamon–serve a similar purpose.

During the winter months, it’s all about bringing the most memorable aspects of winter indoors. When buyers walk into a home and don’t want to leave, you know that your staging efforts have been worthwhile.

Taking some extra steps—such as lighting the fireplace and adding simple holiday touches—will leave a lasting impression, and make your listing stand out from the others.

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Plants that can turn your “Black Thumb” Green


Green ThumbIf you yearn for houseplants but don’t have the best track record for keeping them alive, then 2015 might be the year to turn a new leaf. In honor of black thumbs everywhere, we’ve rounded up five (very) low-maintenance options that can withstand a little neglect.

JADE PLANT – The jade plant (a succulent also known as the friendship tree or lucky plant) can live for decades in the right conditions. It’s a native of South Africa, so it’s thick, oval-shaped leaves hold on to moisture. A plus: keep an eye out for tiny blooms in pretty pinks or whites.

PEACE LILLY – Live in a space where you don’t get too much sunlight? Then the peace lily is the plant for you. Its knack for surviving without much light or water is only part of its appeal – it also sprouts beautiful white flowers.

ALOE PLANT – All this plants needs to thrive is to be in sunlight and to be watered occasionally (read: nearly every two weeks). Its spiky leaves pull double duty: they add a graphic touch, and you can cut them open and use the gel to treat cuts and heal burns.

SPIDER PLANT – Named after its spider-like long stems, this plant will also bloom if treated right. That entails only light watering and letting the soil dry completely between waterings. If you spot black tips, that means you’re overwatering.

CHRISTMAS CACTUS – Often compared to poinsettias, a Christmas cactus is great to have all year long. Even though it’s not technically a cactus, it is a succulent that can store a good amount of water in its leaves. Its beautiful color doesn’t hurt either.

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Are Your Outdoor Holiday Decorations Ready for Mother Nature?

Photo by Aaron Webb

Photo by Aaron Webb


Make sure your lights and more make it through the holidays. Buying items rated for exterior use is just the first step. Here’s how to hang them to withstand all that Mother Nature dishes out.

Protect light strands from strong gusts by securing them with plastic zip ties (about $5 for 100) or reusable light clips (about $10 for 100) spaced every 12 inches. For a ground display, pick wire-frame sculptures over decor made of painted wood so that wind passes through; drive their stakes the entire length—ideally, 6 to 8 inches—into the ground.

Moisture and electricity don’t mix. A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) prevents shorts—and shocks—and most city regulations require their use with outdoor lighting; portable units cost under $30. Cover the male and female ends of light strands with electrical tape or encase them in plastic freezer bags to help keep water out.

If rain- or snow-covered decorations freeze over, it could be lights out for your display. To allow moisture to evaporate before it turns to ice, position the connections between light strands in a way that lets air circulate around them. For lights hung on trees, use electrical tape to secure connectors to the trunk a few feet above the ground to keep them out of runoff that might pond there.

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The newest trend, Carving Out Space for the In-Laws

Photo by Ned Raggett

Photo by Ned Raggett

The hottest trend in real estate these days is carving out some space for your in-laws, the Wall Street Journal says.

And it has the potential to lift your home value as much as 60 percent.

Known informally as “in-law suites” or “granny flats” and formally as “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs), these little homes, usually somewhere between 300 and 800 square feet, are going up in backyards across the country. The multigenerational living trend has been picking up steam through the Great Recession, both as millennials return to their parents’ homes and as boomers (and their parents) age.

The main obstacle is zoning. Cities generally restrict the number of residences that can exist on a property. But often there are ways around that, if the structure is short enough, and/or if it’s small enough in proportion to the property. In such cases, it’s viewed not as a residence but as more of an outbuilding, skirting neighborhood restrictions.

Strangely — and perhaps highlighting the dated way many of these zoning laws regulate residences — the stove is frequently the dividing line over whether or not a structure is considered a home or not. So some developers add in small kitchenettes, but not stoves, simply because of zoning.

Kevin Casey, the CEO of New Avenue Homes, has been helping homeowners build these backyard cottages for about five years using his project planning software. “It’s not a cultural shift; it’s a reversion to the norm,” he says. “If you go to Europe or Asia, this is what it’s like. This is the way families have been living for centuries.”

Despite the benefits, there are many design and regulatory issues to contend with, says Seattle-based architect Ross Chapin, who designs what he calls “right-sized homes” as well as these cottages.

“We’ve got communities that are stuck in the 1970s with a family-sized house and flanking garage being the only product out there,” he says. “But I think more and more local jurisdictions are looking forward and trying to respond to the reality of life and the diversity of households and trying to find ways to meet those demands that does not add to sprawl.”
An ADU is a massive renovation and addition, with perhaps 600 square feet of additional living space, so it isn’t cheap. And the cost varies widely by geography; what costs $100,000 in upstate New York can cost $250,000 in the Bay Area of San Francisco, Casey says.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth it financially. In an analysis of real-estate listings, Zillow found that homes with these ADUs were priced 60 percent higher than those without them, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“I like to say that you’re increasing the value of your home, not necessarily in the dollars you’re going to sell your house for, but the value your home can deliver for the 50 years you’re in it,” Casey says. “If five people are getting value out of your home, not one or two, then it’s at least twice as valuable.”

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Welcoming Your Holiday Guests

Photo by: Justin Russell on

Photo by: Justin Russell on

One week until Thanksgiving! And only five weeks until Christmas! From buying groceries to washing sheets, it can be hard to know where to begin. To make the holidays merrier – and your life easier – consider these entertaining tips.

Getting Organized

  • Get ready to whip up a feast.

Whether you’re cooking for 2 or 20, a tidy kitchen is a great way to start.

  • Prepare a spot for coffee and cocoa.

A self-serve beverage station can help save precious counter space.

Setting the Tone

  • Make an impression with items you already own.

You can create a festive table – without breaking the bank.

  • Let a conversation piece do the work.

Making small talk with distant relatives can be tough.

Adding Personal Touches

  • Say hello with a welcome kit.

It’s the little things that make guests feel at home.

  • Create a homey guest room.

Fresh flowers and a few thoughtful amenities go a long way.

To read more about welcoming your holiday guests on, please click here. 

Things to Know Before You Spark Up the Logs

With natural gas and propane prices continuing to rise, you’ll likely be looking to the old fireplace this winter to help cut your home-heating bills. But before you spark up the logs, take heed that fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 42 percent of all home-heating fires. So first make sure yours is up to snuff by following these seven safety tips.

1. Hire a Chimney Sweep

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be swept at least once a year at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris. Find a certified sweep in your area via the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

2. Check for Damage

In addition to cleaning, a chimney sweep should inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. Chimney liners should also be checked for cracking or deterioration.

3. Cap the Chimney

A cap fitted with wire-mesh sides covers the top of the chimney and keeps rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering. Replace or repair a cap that’s missing or damaged.

4. Burn Seasoned Hardwoods

Choose dense wood, such as oak, that’s been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Green wood and resinous softwoods like pine produce more creosote, a flammable by-product of combustion that can build up in the chimney.

5. Don’t Overload

Small fires generate less smoke, thus less creosote buildup. Also, a fire that’s too large or too hot can crack the chimney.

6. Build It Right

Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling, rather than flammable liquids, to start the fire.

7. Use a Spark Guard

Prevent errant embers from shooting out of the firebox with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. A guard in front of an open flame is especially important when the room is unoccupied.

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Prepare Your Home for the Upcoming Winter

Snow HouseWinterizing your home may feel like a chore, but it’s cheap, easy, and will make the winter go by as smoothly and comfortably as possible. There are numerous ways to prepare your home for the colder months and they generally all fall into one of three categories: windows/doors, HVAC, or insulation. Once December rolls around, you’ll be grateful you completed each task on this list.

1. Install Storm Doors and Windows

When it comes to windows and doors, the best way to keep the cold air out of the home is to install storm windows and doors. In fact, installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45 percent after sealing drafts and reducing airflow.

Ventilating storm doors often offer an upper level of ventilation while keeping the aluminum or steel design on the bottom. This is useful when homeowners want more privacy, but don’t need a lot of ventilation. Models come with many options, like having the screen available at the top or bottom of the door. This is a great option for homes in cold climates where the screen can easily be removed in the winter and replaced in the spring. It also adds an extra layer of security, making it harder for intruders to gain access as opposed to a full-length screen storm door.

2. Install New Windows

Old windows may add to that vintage or traditional charm you always crave, but it certainly doesn’t keep the cold out of the home. In fact, old windows can be the No. 1 source of heat loss. Bear in mind, new windows are not cheap, but the long-term energy and heating savings are sure to make up for that hefty investment.

Fortunately, there are ways to winterize your home with your current windows and doors. Cold air tends to make its way through the windows and doors, giving your heating system a much tougher time to do its job. The best way to overcome those frosty breezes is by caulking your windows and doors. When you’re caulking your windows and doors, be sure to always smooth out the lines with a wet finger. This will keep everything even, looking as though a professional did the job.

3. Buy or Make Draft Stoppers

These days, many homeowners are using draft stoppers as opposed to installing new doors. While it may not be as effective, they certainly do work. You can purchase draft stoppers (or snakes) at many local hardware stores, or you can even create one yourself. Just roll up a bath towel and place it under your door or window. On the other hand, you can turn this winterizing tactic into a fun activity for the kids. Just grab some old fabric, pillowcases, or anything that can hold solid material and fill it with sand.

4. Add Plastic to Your Windows

If you really don’t want to get your hands dirty with caulk, you can always purchase window plastic. The plastic is basically invisible, and any homeowner can install it. As long as you remove all the air bubbles, it will look as if a pro just left the house.

5. Replace Furnace Filters

No appliances are more relevant in the winter than your heating systems and furnaces. You must change those furnace filters often. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand.If you have not already done so, head to your nearest home improvement store and stock up on filters. The earlier you do, the cheaper they will be.

6. Upgrade or Repair Your Furnace

Even if you regularly change the furnace filter, other problems can arise. As a result, you will more than likely have to repair the furnace or upgrade to a new one. According to our furnace repair cost estimator, the average price to repair a furnace is $258. However, know that this price can fluctuate quite a bit depending on your warranty. Keep in mind that the furnace’s age, size, and overall condition also factor into the repair costs.

On the other hand, you could also go for an upgrade and install an Energy Star model. They could save you up to 20 percent compared to new models, or as much as 50 percent versus older models. The average price to install a new furnace is $3,602.

7. Monitor The Thermostat

When the temperatures really start to drop, you must leave your heating system on. This will help keep your pipes unfrozen, ensure a comfortable inside temperature, and save money on HVAC repairs down the road. Nonetheless, homeowners must always monitor their thermostat to ensure they are not spending more than necessary.

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the rule of thumb is that you can save about 3 percent on your gas bill for every degree you decrease on the thermostat. Furthermore, ACEEE says that if you turn it down 10 degrees when you go to work and at night—for at least 16 hours a day—you can save about 14 percent.

8. Reverse Rotation of Ceiling Fans

Heat rises. In order to save energy and prevent the hot air from leaving your bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens, reverse the rotation of your ceiling fans to push the heat downwards. Ceiling fans should run clockwise in the winter. Many fans have a simple switch above the fan and others just use the cord hanging from the ceiling fan itself. As a result, all of the hot air your furnace is generating will be gently pushed back down.

9. Insulate Your Pipes

One easy way to add insulation yourself is by wrapping your pipes. This will undoubtedly decrease the chance of frozen pipes, but also save money on hot water. A great way to see if your pipes need insulation is by checking the outside temperature. If the pipes are very hot or cold, then add some insulation. You can get pre-slit pipe foam at most hardware stores: Try to buy materials with the highest R-value.

10. Build A Fire or Grab A Sweater

There are always simple changes that may not make the biggest difference, but rarely come with a cost. Grab some extra firewood and make a fire in your living room. Not only will a properly maintained fireplace reduce your heating costs, but it also gives homeowners that homey and comfortable feel we all seek.

You could always take out a comfortable sweater as you lounge around binging on Netflix. Roughly speaking, a light long-sleeved sweater is worth about two degrees in added warmth, while a heavy sweater adds about four degrees.


As you can see, there are many ways to prepare your home for winter. Some may be more expensive than you thought, but others are cheap, easy, and very DIY-friendly. Ensure a comfortable winter by accomplishing a few—if not all—of these winterizing projects.

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Making Your New Home Feel Like Home

UnpackingBecause it’s hard to feel settled when you’re surrounded by boxes and can’t get to your couch or clean underwear. Here are some ways to make your new place feel like home.

1. Make your bed. Whether that means getting out the tool box and assembling it, or just making up the mattress that sits on the floor, do it.

2. Plug in a few lamps. Because overhead lighting rarely sets the right mood.

3. Clean it. In a perfect world, your landlord or the previous owner will make sure it’s sparkling, but we all know it’s not a perfect world. So be ready to do a little dusting.

4. Get the bathroom set up. Nothing says “new apartment” like a curtainless shower, so hang one up ASAP. Then stock the bathroom with towels, a bath mat, hand soap, body wash, and toilet paper.

5. Get your internet set up. Is there anything that makes you feel more relieved once you’ve moved into a new place? No. No, there is not.

6. Light some candles. The smell will instantly remind you of your last place.

7. Go to the grocery store and stock up on the essentials. Having staples like ketchup, mustard, peanut butter, milk, cereal, and salt and pepper will help you shake off that sad empty-fridge feeling. (And it’ll make all the takeout you’re ordering taste that much better!)

8. Hang up curtains. They instantly make a room feel more welcoming.

9. Pick one room and prioritize making it completely cozy. Choose the living room or a bedroom, clear it of all boxes, set up the furniture, and add lots of pillows and blankets; it’s good to have a safe place when the rest of your house is a disaster.

10. Add life with plants. They add so much to a space! Opt for succulents if you’re worried you’ll kill them.

11. Once you’ve unpacked a little bit, start moving all your remaining boxes to one room.

12. Actually spend time there. If you’re never around, your place won’t feel like a home at all. So make a point to cook at home a few nights a week, read on your patio, or spend regular Lazy Sundays in bed. The more time you spend actually using your place, the more it’ll feel like yours.

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