When you’re getting your house ready to sell, an easy way to update the look of your home is to paint a room.

Painting a room can be a relatively easy home improvement project and not too expensive. If you don’t want to add stress to your life by painting a room yourself, you can hire a local handyman or professional painter to do the painting for you.

If you hire a professional:

It will cost between $150 and $200 to paint a small bathroom according to Andy Sjostrom, a handyman from The Good Handyman company, based in Oak Park, Ill.

“What you’re looking at is about two hours of labor, probably about $40 or $50 worth of material,” Sjostrom says.

He also warns that it will cost you more if you are painting over a dark color because you will need more materials, including primer. “Those kinds of things are going to drive the cost up a little bit,” Sjostrom says, “but in general a bathroom’s going to run no more than $300 to repaint.”

If you want to save some money on this home improvement project, clean out the area before the professional arrives so he or she won’t waste time doing it and can get right to the painting.

“Time is money. When I’m on the clock, I’m working as fast as I can, but anything you can do to make my job cleaner and clearer–getting materials ahead of time, picking stuff up–that all makes my job easier and costs you less as a result,” Sjostrom says.

If you do it yourself:

If you feel comfortable with your painting skills and want to do your own home decorating, Sjorstom says painting is a great do it yourself project. “People shouldn’t be afraid to dive into stuff. I would say be afraid of diving into an electrical box. That’s probably not the place to start, but painting’s a great place to start,” he advises.

Be very clean and very careful–you don’t want to spend extra time removing paint drops from fixtures, carpet or floors. “Painting is a dirty task,” Sjostrom says. “It’s messy and there’s no reason you can’t spare yourself some of that mess.”

Using painter’s tape, wearing gloves and laying down canvas can save you from the nightmare of unnecessary post-painting cleanup. And always keep the paint can shut when you’re not painting in case it gets knocked over.

As far as painting techniques go, Sjostrom says you should paint in a Z fashion to cover your strokes. “Work from the center and work your way out,” he says. “Take the paint that you’ve loaded right here in the center and kind of start to draw it out. So as I come back through that center point, I’m picking up more paint and bringing it out to the edges.”

Keeping paint off of yourself during your do it yourself home improvement project can save you time later on. “Once you got paint all over you, you’re going to get it all over something else. And then you’re going to spend time cleaning up, and you don’t want to do that,” Sjostrom says. “Keep your job and your life simple.”

For more stories on home improvement, home inspections, real estate and personal finance visit ThinkGlink.com. Also check out our stories on attic inspections and fireplace inspections.

August 19, 2008