Most of us desire a well decorated home. It feels better then one that is thrown together and looks haphazard. It can provide a lot more relaxation and a place where you want to invite others into your home. However, if you are looking at a tight budget it may feel like you have nothing to put aside for a better, more beautiful home. Fear not, budget decorating can offer you a lot! One of the greatest tools of one decorating on a budget is paint. You have a lot of options for painting and you can make a room feel completely different with a little color!

Choosing Your Paint.
Sometimes it is hard to figure out which paint you should choose. If you go to the paint aisle chances are you will find a ton of different options. The first thing you should start with is choosing a primer. Primers aren't expensive and they offer the best way to provide good coverage (even if you are painting over a white wall).

The next thing is to choose a good brand of paint. You don't have to spend a ton of money on designer paint, but you should consider a mid-grade paint because it will go farther and cover more space then something that is really inexpensive. Aiming for $20-30 a gallon is often a good idea.

Picking a Finish.
While we often think it is all about color, this just isn't the case. While color is important, so is finish. In fact, finish can dramatically change the look of the color, the room, and can make it easier to maintain in the long run. A flat paint will have no shine and while it is often pretty it isn't easy to clean. This can be a great choice for areas that aren't likely to get touched (especially by younger people). A semi-gloss is in the middle and offers some shine and some cleaning. This is usually recommended for most indoor paint jobs because it provides a beautiful finish. Gloss is one that has more shine and is supposed to be easier to clean, but it can reflect too much light and is less likely to look like the color you choose. Sometimes these finishes have different names, like satin and shine, but all in all you will want to check the label to find out where it falls in the companies scale to compare it with other paint options.

Saving a Few Dollars.
If you are less picky about your paint colors, many stores offer "oops" paint colors. These are ones that were mixed, but weren't what the customer wanted. They are often really cheap and their limited availability is the only thing wrong with them. You can pick out two that are close and mix them together or get a gallon of white to lighten a dark color if you need more then a gallon of paint.

Tips For Different Room Sizes and Types:

  • Small Rooms: Most people feel that a small room is a nightmare to decorate. This doesn't have to be the case. A few tips for making that small room look bigger is to choose a lighter color for the walls. You can add bright colors for accents and avoid the darker ones in a small room. Stick to two or three colors, but don't let your color pallet get out of control with a ton of different colors.

  • Large Rooms: While small rooms are often complained about, a large room offers its own unique challenges. Often making a large space feel unified and cozy isn't easy to do. You can have fun with it though. Make an accent wall that draws attention to a focal point. Have this wall be a different color or a darker shade then the rest of the room. Have fun with color. You can choose a pallet with a few more colors or shades of your color (but don't get too carried away since you don't want it to look like a crayon box). You can also enjoy more bright and darker colors.

  • Open Floor Plans: Open floor plans offer a lot of great benefits to those who have them. After all, you can enjoy the space, have better parties, and make it easier to be a family. But decorating these spaces is hard to do. A few good tips is to choose a few colors for your pallet and use them in all the spaces that are connected. This will make it easier to flow from one room to the next and be more visually pleasing. This doesn't mean it has to be all one color. You can have two or three colors on your pallet and use them on the walls in different ways. For example if you are doing yellow and aqua, you could paint the walls in the kitchen yellow with aqua trim and the walls in the family room aqua with yellow trim. Mixing it up will let you have all the choices you want, while providing the unity that the space needs.

Ideas for More Then One Color:

  • Accent Wall: An accent wall is a great way to have two colors in a room. Simply paint one wall a different color. This usually looks best if it is a darker color or a dramatic change.

  • Two Tone: You can paint a room with two different colors. Pick two walls to be one color and two walls to be a second color. The only thing you will want to make sure before hand is that the two colors look good together.

  • Top and Bottom: You can paint the top half of the walls one color and the bottom half a second color. Separate them out with painters tape for good clean lines and a beautiful finish.

  • Sponge Painting: Painting with a natural sponge can be a great way to get lots of texture. You will want to paint a base color and then top it with a second color (up to a third color) with the sponges. Just remember a little goes a long way.

  • Don't Hold Back: Just because it isn't on this list doesn't mean you idea isn't a great one. Experiment with your own ideas! Have fun with it!

Keeping It Clean.
Two last tips that you should know for decorating your space in a great way. The first is to use plastic sheets to cover the floor and any furniture in the room. Even the best painter sometimes has accidents and it isn't worth making a mess out of. Better to be safe then sorry and plastic sheets are inexpensive (your carpet and furniture isn't). The second is painters tape. This makes it easy to keep lines clean, keep paint off of windows and trim, and to separate out the ceiling space. Use it, its worth it.

All in all, paint is an excellent way to change a room dramatically. It isn't a ton of work and can offer you a whole new feel to an old space. It can also keep a room looking fresh and clean. Paint is the best friend of the budget decorator!