Swankify your New Apartment — Starting with a Fresh Coat of Paint

If you’re on a budget, there’s a fair chance that apartment architecture isn’t tops on your list of necessities — having a window or two probably dominates. If you’re looking in New York, the city lacking alleys in favor of more buildings, there’s a high chance some of your rooms won’t got ’em. Beyond that, if your landlord thinks he didn’t need to update the apt in order to find renters, you’re likely looking at some cracked walls and less than steller paint jobs.

Here’s some good news: painting is nowhere near the pain in the ass you think it is. It’s not even that pricey, considering its huge impact on your living space.

It will, however, probably take a total of 10 hours for a medium size bedroom. Now, don’t freak out — just get some extra rollers and promise to buy three of your friends some pizza and beer and maybe some chocolate after they spend an afternoon helping you out. I had three pals help me paint my bedroom in addition to kitchen accent walls and it has really warmed up both spaces, especially the windowless kitchen.

How to pick a paint color? First, consider what furniture you’re going to have in each room. Then, consider applying the color wheel in terms of accents. I have a purple couch, so I’ve tried to add some yellow-green to the room. It does, actually, work quite well.

Second, I’d definitely recommend going with a paint company like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams which lets you experiment with paint colors virtually. For example, before you paint your kitchen salmon, wouldn’t it be awesome to have an idea how it will turn out? YUP! (Links might take a bit of time to load, but it’s well worth the wait). You can also experiment with finishes. I personally like the semi-gloss finish as it reflects light well.

Finally, as for how much to buy — my bedroom is 9 X 12 and a gallon was just shy of covering the whole room; I needed to run out and get an extra quart at the last minute which was pretty frustrating. Don’t make my mistake — be sure to measure the surface area(hey there, high school math!) so you aren’t running around the neighborhood when you need to be painting.

When considering price, a gallon will range from $25-$40 depending on quality and accessories will probably cost about $50-70. Accessories include: rollers, drop cloths, and roller trays. Don’t skimp on these guys!

Also, try to paint before you move into a new place if you have the option as the fumes aren’t the healthiest for us young things to inhale. On that note, also be sure to leave windows open when painting AND bring a window fan in order to get as much fresh air as possible.

Good luck, future Monets and Picassos!

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at Cars.com, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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