top of page

Buying Guide: Village Idiots go for the cheap paint

The paint aisle is designed to make you feel insecure about your ability to make a seemingly simple decision: which paint to buy?

It starts with those paint chips. You've already collected several hundred of them, taped them to your wall and mused about whether or not there really is a noticeable difference between "Red Wine" and "Cabernet."

The fact that they're essentially the same fucking thing with but a subtle differentiation is why you spent half your Saturday holding each up to the light, convincing yourself that that marginal distinction will matter in 6 months.

It won't.

What will matter is the QUALITY of the paint base to which you add that seductively named tint too.

This part matters. Ironiclaly it's usually where most of us lack any real education about why there are so many different varieties of paint at such a massive price range.

The short story is: when it comes to paint you get what you pay for.

If you don't want to pay, you are going to work a lot harder and you will ultimately spend as much or more than if you had just done it right the first time.

Welcome to my personal hell.

This is the AirBnB side of the Babe Cave and for some ungodly reason the former owners painted it a deep shade of Fungus Green.

They call this paint color "Nightmare to Hide Green"

I was not about to welcome guests from all over the country into FernGully. I decided a light shade of yellow would be both cheerful and airy - the opposite experience of meeting their host.

You can buy paint at Lowes, Home Depot or your local paint store but I'm in a committed relationship with our Sherwin-Williams. For one, they consistently push out sizeable coupons if you are on their email list HERE. On big sales events, the 40% off deal has saved me hundreds of dollars.

I also like that it's small and very well staffed, which means that while my paint is mixing, there's at least three unsuspecting young men at the counter who are a forced captive audience to my ranting about about contractors. God bless them.

They also have a paint-matching machine called ColorSnap that has mind boggling accuracy. Take a scrap of paint from an existing surface and it will decode its color elements to give you a perfect or near-perfect match. Hugely helpful when you don't know the name of the paint the last people bought.

Every store has their own brands and pedigrees of paint. I'm going to use Sherwin-Williams line up to illustrate the differences. These various levels of pigmentation and quality exist in almost all brands you just have to translate the marketing terms they use.



I bought a $17.99 primer + paint in "Honey Bee" yellow and evenly rolled it out over the perfectly painter's taped walls of that AirBnB room.

The "before." Before I spent a fortune on cheap paint and BEFORE I thought it would take only two coats.

I was so proud of myself. I was saving so much money. Who were these losers paying $65 a can when I had done it for a fraction of the cost? Losers.

It all glistened "Honey Bee" until it dried and then that Fungus Green bled right through.

First coat of cheap paint down and I clearly was going to have a long night.

No big deal. I had anticipated more than one coat. Begin, Round 2.

Again it dried and again it bled.

THREE? I had to paint the room THREE times? This was taking an inordinate amount of time and I was running back and forth to the Sherwin-Williams store buying more and more paint.

Almost $200 later on cheap paint I'm finally seeing less bleed through