31 Days to Decorating on a Shoestring Budget, Day 3

Day 3:  Paint!  But this isn't going to be about what you think it's going to be about...

Painting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to give a room new life.   Since just about every decorating blog tells you to paint your walls for high impact at low cost, you might be thinking "duh, I already know that". The difference is, I'm going to tell you where to find cheap prices for paint.

If you are struggling to spend the money on a gallon of paint check your local paint stores for mis-tints.  They sell these at just about any place that mixes paint.  I have the best luck at a local family-owned paint store.  They always have a huge selection because they mix a ton of paint, that's all they do.  Places like Lowe's, Home Depot, Menards, Wal-Mart all will have rejects too, just not usually as many as an actual paint store.

Most places sell their mis-tint paint dirt cheap.  Usually under $10.  The last one I bought was $5 for a full gallon that retailed for $37.... score!  It ended up not being quite right (we affectionately called it "baby-poo brown").  But hey, I was only out $5 bucks.  I then sold it in my garage sale for what I paid for it.  If you are ultra picky about paint color this may not be for you because obviously, you can't pick out the exact color.

If you don't want to buy a mis-tint, wait for a sale.  The big box stores seem to run their paint on sale randomly and especially around holidays. Sherwin Williams runs 30% off about once a month and 40% off every so often too.  Great quality paint and decently priced when on sale.

One of my favorite things about Sherwin Williams is their super big sample sizes that run $5.99 for 31 fl. oz.  Most sample sized are about a third the size and sometimes cost the same or maybe a dollar and some change less.  These samples can be tinted to any color and are part of the paint sales they often run which really makes them a great deal.
tissue paper wall treatment

I bought a sample of paint tinted to the color I wanted for my bathroom on sale for 40% off for $3.60.  It was more than enough to paint my small powder room pictured above.  For a larger bath I've used 2 samples and paid a whopping $7.20!  Dirt cheap prices for high quality paint in the color of your choice.  (by the way, Sherwin Williams is not paying me to write this).


I have all kinds of SW samples that I can use to paint just about anything.  They are great for small bathrooms, furniture, craft projects and of course to paint a sample on the wall before buying enough for the whole room.  They are a great deal!

We'll talk about other ways paint can help you decorate on a shoestring budget later in the series.

See you back here tomorrow for Day 4!

Catch up on my 31 Days to Decorating on a Shoestring Budget here.


  1. Great ideas. I forget about the oops paint and didn't know Sherwin Williams has the larger samples. Thanks for the info. Hugs, Marty

  2. yes, i believe that "painting is one of the easiest and cheapest way to give a room new life" - not just a room but on almost everything - tables, frames, baskets, anything you can think of!!

    i am more of a spray-painter, haven't tried the real thing yet :( maybe one of these days!


  3. Mr. B & I feel that SW paint is of a better quality so it's worth it to pay more to get a paint that lasts! I am famous for checking out the oops paint LOL! It's great for crafting too. I can get a sample size of oops paint at HD or Lowes for .50 and it's twice, or more, the size of the little craft paints from the craft store.

  4. A new spin on the cheap paint decorating idea! I have never been to Sherwin Williams, can you believe it? The SW store is about 15 minutes in the opposite direction from my stomping grounds, but this gives me one more incentive to go visit.

  5. Great tips! I honestly can't believe how expensive paint has become! I think it's all us DIY'ers that is driving up demand!!!

  6. Do u mind sharing the name of the paint in your powder room? It's beautiful!

  7. Good to know about SW samples. They are out of the way for us to go to unless I have a specific reason. We love living out in country but not so good when you need to get to out of way places.
    When we go to town we try to hit places that are on the wayato someplace else we're going to. But if SW has samples that big it would be worth it.
    We have an Ace hardware closer to us and I was looking at some mis-tints the other day. Not as reasonable as you mentioned but still alot better than $30 plus. which is way over any amount I could afford.
    I have mixed paint before also. One time when we lived in KY out in country again, I got wild hair one day to paint our living room. I had about 3/4 gallon of white semi-gloss paint so went into my studio and got every brown acrylic paint I had. I kept pouring brown paints into that white until I got the color I wanted. Talk about a special order, lol. Couldn't ever match that color but got what I wanted, it turned out to be a nice tan/beige color. I was really sick of every wall being white. I painted our l/r with that paint and our l/r was quite big. Had 4 windows across one wall and 2 doorways but I just made do.
    I didn't know where the paint trays, rollers were so I used one of those flat jobbies you use for small areas or corners. Yeah I really wanted to paint our living room.
    I knew if I'd gone to town I'd never make it back home in time to even get started and I'd be out of the mood when I got back home .People that bought our house loved the color of the l/r. I've also mixed up two tinted colors I've purchased and it turned out ok. I guess I'm just a brave nut that really wants to paint my walls when I want to.
    We bought a gallon of mis-tinted paint one time that turned out to be kinda poo brown also with a green edge. Yuk. So our son in law came over and added some gray to it and son of a gun it turned out great. Whatever works I always say. Enjoying your blog.

  8. I love those little samples and have used them for my niches. They tried to tell me that the paint wasn't the same quality as what I would get in a bigger "gallon". Hmmm, I have to disagree ;) Thanks for the tips! I am doing the 31 days as well ..
    It's fun to follow others topics!!


  9. I get free paint at our reuse room. It's part of the hazardous waste facility and they give away any usable paint that is too full to throw away! I always score in some way or another.

  10. I know this post is old, just found it via google search, but re: gabby's comment above - the store told me the sample, lower-quality paint, would flake and peel within months. how has yours held up? How long have you had your "oldest" sample paint in use?

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  13. What color(s) did you use in the bathroom with the tissue paper?

  14. I would also love to know what color you used, I love it!


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