Interior Paint--how Often

Updated on October 28, 2013
M.S. asks from Salinas, CA
17 answers

How often do you paint the interior of your house? We moved into our house a little over 6 years ago. It was a newly built house so, of course, had all new paint. Most walls are a light yellow/cream color with a couple accent walls. Our kids were 5 and 6.5 at the time so in the first few years we got lots of little hand/fingerprints, etc all over the walls. Well they are 11 and 13 now so this doesn't happen as much. I think we are ready for a fresh coat of paint throughout the house, but my husband doesn't want to spend the money. I am so frustrated. Our house just looks dumpy inside and I know paint would make it so much better. He said we "shouldn't have to be painting so soon." What do you think? Is 6 years too soon?

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answers from San Francisco on

I would just start painting it myself. Maybe you two don't agree on this issue, but paint is pretty cheap and it's not like it's super hard. I'm painting my oldest daughter's room right now. She was in that room from age 11 to 17 and it was GROSS (she just left for college.) A few months ago I painted the game room downstairs.
You don't have to do it all at once, just go one room at a time. It's worth it, a new coat of paint really makes a room look clean and fresh.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Magic erasers do a great job!

My H thinks if you ever painted something once, it never needs it again, lol!

6 yrs is about right. Colors come and go, as far as being trendy.
Pintrest has good paint tips and color scheme ideas. Start with a small room so you can get the hang of it and let H see it makes a difference.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Appleton on

Are you able to wash the walls? When I paint I use a washable semi-gloss paint so I can wash them in between painting jobs. Back in the day a big part of Spring cleaning was washing the walls and woodwork and putting up fresh curtains.

If you can't wash the walls get some washable paint and start painting. You can do this yourself.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We bought our house a little over 8 years ago. The main rooms --kitchen, living room, dinning room, have been painting twice. In fact. I think main rooms need a fresh coat every 5 years, especially when there are little kids in the house.

It doesn't cost much to paint, and it doesn't really take much time. I painted the main rooms 1.5 years ago and I did it all, by myself, in 4 days. I had no babysitters for my little ones either!

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answers from Honolulu on

What is the finish of your wall paint?
Meaning: is it a matte paint? Eggshell? Gloss? Satin? Semi-gloss? High Gloss?
If it is an eggshell or gloss or semi-gloss or Satin or High Gloss paint etc., THEN you can, simply wipe it clean.
You cannot really wipe or scrub matte paint though, because this kind of paint is not real wipe friendly. And it gets stained, easily. And it absorbs moisture.
Just clean and wipe your walls, use a "Magic Eraser" thing.
I do that.
Its fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

There are tutorials on Martha Stewart's website that will give you a 'primer' for tackling the paint job yourself. I agree with your analysis, it's time to paint and this time the paint job will likely last much longer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I have been in my home for 10 years. Did the initial paint job at 2 years, touched up about 5 years ago and just now going through and repainting with an updated look.

As the others have said if you think you can handle doing it yourself it does not cost much to do. There are also chances to get paint even cheaper if you happen to find a miss tint that you like (someone had the paint colored and it was either the wrong one or they did not like it). I also keep extra paint on hand to touch up any scratches or smudges that will not come off with cleaning.



answers from Philadelphia on

Our builder used really cheap paint so I can't imagine what it would have looked like after 6 years. We had builder white paint though so we painted when we moved in then again about 3 years ago. Our house is 11 years old.
If you are doing the work yourself it doesn't really cost much to paint a room. What is your husband talking about?



answers from Portland on

We've lived in the same house for over 30 years, and have never repainted. I would, though, if it looked old and stained. Color, light, and cleanliness are known to enhance moods, and this will probably be true for your husband, but he may not notice if he's too busy fuming about the cost.

Are you hoping to hire a painter? With drop-cloths, painting tape, and a good brush and roller, it's possible to get a good, professional looking finish yourself for much cheaper. And this can be done one room, or even one wall, at a time. Wishing you success.


answers from Washington DC on

We do one room at a time. It isn't super expensive, but one room can run about $100 depending on the size and color (previous color and current color). It can also be hard on your body to do the whole house in one run.

So pick one room, and do that. Then a few weeks or a month later, do another room.

I don't think you need his permission to do this, right? Maybe if you just go buy the paint he will help you do it.

We built our house 5.5 years ago and have repainted most of the rooms, not all at first, but one at a time. Some rooms still are not done, but we do them as we have time.



answers from Washington DC on

This is coincidental for me :) I was JUST in my daughter's room finishing the paint job she left "mostly" done LOL

We have been in our house almost 3 years now ... it was brand new and ALL the walls were an eggshell white. Over the past two years we've painted two rooms at a time. Last year was the "family room" which we painted sorta a slate color with a DEEP garnet accent wall where the fireplace is (fireplace is bright white) and my daughter's room in a sky blue(like I said she painted it mostly then left for college LOL). This year we did my son's room in a pumpkin orange and our main floor 1/2 bath in a terra cotta.

I painted them myself (my daughter did her room for the most part except 1 wall), got the terra cotta paint for the 1/2 bath at over 50% off because it was an "oops". And I've spent LESS than $200 to paint all 4 rooms. Roller covers are cheap, paint brushes are reusable and the plastic drop cloths are cheap and usable for more than one room.

I will say though that if you're gonna do it ... spend the extra money for a GOOD paint/primer combo. ESPECIALLY if you're going to do "intense" colors. Also be sure to have an extender handle if you're doing deep colors. I learned the hard way that when doing deep colors (dark red) that you need to do the entire wall in one stroke ... top to bottom.

But yeah ... if you're willing to do the work yourself it can be cheap AND perk up a house.

As for how often ... I'd say as often as "needed" ... no matter how good the paint sooner or later it's going to "fade" and with kiddo's it's only going to hold up to so much scrubbing off of fingerprints and such. I'd say 6 years is probably a good time ... but after this since your kids are older you could probably go longer 10 years or more ... depending on how sick you get of the colors LOL

I know my mom's house has had the same paint/wallpapers for 20 years and they are getting "tired" looking.


answers from Grand Forks on

We have lived in our house for 18 years and we have painted the interior twice. Once 18 years ago, and again 5 years ago. I have repainted a couple of rooms in between, just because I found some mistint paint in a colour I liked.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Wash the walls like most of us do on a regular



answers from San Francisco on

Next time you paint, don't use a flat finish. Make sure the finish is at least satin or eggshell, and that way you are able to clean the walls with a wet rag and maybe some 409. Dirt wipes off really easily, as long as your paint finish isn't flat.

No, six years isn't soon. If you paint, maybe change the color so you have a reason to repaint, other than the dirt.

Is your house huge? If you buy a good quality paint, you can often do the job with only one coat. NOTE: It is worth spending the extra money on a higher quality paint, because it will cover better.

Behr is a good brand and has some of the best color selection. You can find it at Home Depot.


answers from Los Angeles on

The key is touch up paint. But matching existing paint is hard if not impossible. Assuming you still like the colors, just not the condition of existing paint, I'd make an effort to touch up before repainting. Previous owners should have left house exterior and interior paint with the house. Is it possible its stowed in your garage and you've forgotten about it? I feel your pain. I moved out of my last rental in part because there was not matching touch -up paint for all walls and I was unwilling to repaint the rental.

as I have already stated, it is near impossible to match paint. What you need are the remnants from the actual can or the exact specification of the paint. If it was a new home, I'd make an effort to contact the builders to get the specifications. If you had a way of contacting the previous owners, I'd say its worth a try to get a hold of the paint specification (that is its manufacturer, color number, and sheen). For lighter colors, especially whites, I have found if I have the exact spec, new batches match just fine. For darker colors, there are dye -lot variations (just like your chocolate chip cookies turn out different from batch to batch even though you use the same recipe) . That is, every batch can vary ever so slightly, which is why its imperative when the home is painted to purchase enough surplus for years worth of touch ups.

If you cannot get an exact match, there are a few tricks you can apply to eek out a few more years on existing paint. If you can get a close match, you can repaint your most scuffed walls and stop at edges and corners. You cannot detect minor color variations from one plane to another plane. So in other words, get a close match and just repaint the worst walls in their entirety, but not all walls. Hope that makes sense. When I was in design school taking color theory, my professor told us when he was a house painter, and ran out of a color, he'd simply have to paint one whole wall of the house in the slightly different tinted new batch because the light reflection and shadows on planes makes shade variations indiscernible.
Just to offer another opinion on paint sheen, my advice to anyone (I'm an ncidq certified interior designer), is to paint your gypsum board wall surfaces as flat as you are willing to maintain. Flat paint absorbs more light, making the colors appear richer. Kitchens, bathrooms, millwork are another story. I personally don't bother with magic erasers, or washing off finger prints. I simply go around touching up my walls every other month or so. I'm with you on this. Clean walls make a house.

In summary, if matching the paint for touch ups is not possible, then I would repaint and I'd make sure I never ran out of touch up paint.


answers from Houston on

We've painted almost every room in our home, it was built 8 months ago.
Age has nothing to do with it and everything to do with it.
Your question is about money and whether or not to paint?!?!



answers from Cleveland on

I've painted myself and at another time had a painter come in, It was sooo worth the cost of the painter doing it. wow it looked so much better than I could do it.

ask hubs to help you wash walls.

Ask him if you guys can start saving so that in a year you can afford it.

price new curtains and see if that would do it for you or if what you have is good it's just the paint.

get estimates from people so he actually had something concrete to work with.

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