By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Are you looking to give your home a makeover without spending a fortune?

A little fresh paint can go a long way. It’s a simple, affordable way to spruce up any room in your home.

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In this week’s Angie’s List, 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan shows you some things you should consider if you’re thinking about painting in your home.

One of the fist things you’ll need to decide when you’re choosing a type of paint is just how durable you need it to be.

“If you have small children, think about wanting to wash the area that you’re actually painting. You’re going to want a paint that has a higher sheen than a flat paint that doesn’t wash as well,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks.

Once you’ve chosen your paint style and color, experts say the next step calls for carefully prepping your work area.

“One of the biggest concerns is protecting the home, the flooring, and the furniture. We have to move the furniture. We use thin plastics to cover everything. And then of course you can start the prep work. Some of it is going to be dusty, so again trying to contain that mess is very important,” said paint expert Greg Rayne.

And while painting looks pretty easy, certain jobs call for expert skills.

“A lot of people think they can paint themselves, but if you have high ceilings or you have walls in difficult conditions keep in mind that the quality of a paint job is dependent on the prep work. So if you have walls in bad condition, you may want to consider hiring a painting contractor,” said Hicks.

More advice from Angie:

What are your goals?
• Are you planning on staying in your house for more than five years? Do you have children and require a paint that is durable and washable?

Choose a Color:
• Most paint colors will look different on the wall than the color chart due to your furniture in the room and the surroundings. Most painters will offer to put color samples on the walls. You can then modify the color to make it lighter/darker.

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Select the type of paint:

• Certain locations in the home demand different types of paint. For example, in a two-story home, the paint around the stairway tends to get marked up so you’ll be concerned about how it will touch up. The higher a paints sheen or gloss, the more washable and durable it is, but the shinier it is, the more flaws you’ll notice.

1. Flat paint: It has a matte finish and does not reflect light. The main advantage is that it hides imperfections on walls well – ideal if you have an older home and there are a lot of imperfections or plaster walls. However, flat paint does not wash well so cleaning the wall will result in loss of paint saturation on the wall.

2. Eggshell: Have matte finishes and an attractive, understated shine. It will wash slightly better than flat paints, allowing for light cleaning when needed. However, it will not hide imperfections on surfaces as well as flat paints.

3. Satin: Features a medium gloss finish that reflects a greater level of light. Its’ a common choice for bathrooms and kitchens. The final finish is not high-gloss, but it is very smooth and attractive. Imperfections will not be hidden, but the paint is highly washable and will stand up to high levels of humidity.

4. Semi-gloss and high-gloss: These types of paint are the most reflective paint finishes. They are excellent choices for kitchens, bathrooms, and high traffic areas as they can withstand high humidity and a great deal of washing. Like satin and eggshells, semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes will not hide imperfections on the wall well.

5. Go green with low-VOC: If you have allergies or want to improve the indoor air quality of your home, choose paints that emit very little or no toxic breathable gases known as Volatile Organic Compounds.

Take a good look at your walls before you decide to tackle a paint job yourself. If you have hard to reach areas or your walls require a lot of prep work, hiring a professional is a better idea.

Angie’s List tips for hiring a painting professional:

1. Lead paint concerns: If your home was built before 1978, only hire a painter who can prove he/she has current federal certification to deal safely with lead paint. Improperly removing this toxic paint, which was commonly used prior to being banned about 30 years ago, can produce lead dust, which is a serious danger, especially to young children.

2. The cost of a painting job: You basically get what you pay for in paint. Expensive paint tends to cover better, is more durable, and last longer. The cost for a painting job varies based on the size of the room, the type of paint, the condition of the walls, and the location’s difficulty is a consideration too – especially if the room has very high ceilings. Be sure the estimate includes all these details.

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3. Prepare for the work: Ask the company what measures they will take to protect your flooring, baseboards, trim and furniture. Will they use plastic and tarps to cover your furniture? Remove all items off your walls and knickknacks off furniture. Move large furniture out of the way, unless your hired the contractor to move it for you. Sanding the walls? Helps the paint adhere?
Painting is a great home improvement project that quickly spruces up your home’s interior for relatively little time and money.