We painted our walls green and caffeine for $100

20101120-IMG_685718 YouTube videos later, we felt that we were ready. So off we went to the paint store. That’s when we got caught.

Shopkeeper: Which paint do you want?

Us: Umm..um..which ones do you have?

Shopkeeper: [confused look]. Asian Paints Royale, Premium and the cheapest distemper.

Us: [thinking we should come clean since the YouTube videos weren’t making us look like pros] Ok. So we’ve never painted before. Can you help us choose? What’s the difference?

Shopkeeper: [smirks that we came clean and just rewords his last comment] The luxury is the most expensive, the premium is less, the distemper is the cheapest.

Us: [wondering how that helped]. What other differences are there?

Shopkeeper: You can wash the luxury one … no problem. You can wash the premium too … but less. Small stains could also be taken off the cheapest one.

This useless discussion went on with a few more shopkeepers until we found our man. He was amused that we were attempting this ourselves and took great pleasure in answering our questions.

Asian Paints Royale has a slight gloss finish. Stains can be washed off easily from Royale. Premium has a matt finish and one has to be careful when taking off stains. If you rub hard, the paint may come off. Distemper is the lowest quality and will peel off easily. It’s used mostly to cover the exterior walls or as a temporary paint when the builder hands you a new place. We choose Royale, largely because the price difference was minimal compared to Premium ($2/L).

Other comparable brands for paint are Dulux ICI and Nerolac. Brands like Shalimar, etc. are not considered as good – not sure if it’s a real quality difference or just branding.

Step 0: Clean the walls with a wet cloth

We outsourced this to the household help. Dhihahaha. Dhihahaha.

Step 1: Apply the primer

It’s a whitish color that goes over the existing paint. Mixed the primer with 30% water and applied. It came out as the shopkeeper promised.20101108-IMG_6789

Step 2: Apply putty

This wasn’t on YouTube so as experts we decided to ignore the shopkeeper’s advice.

Step 3: Apply the 1st coat

20101108-IMG_6798We only messed up 3 times:

  • First, we tried this hideous green that looked great on the color chart.
  • Second, we tried to use a sea sponge to ‘faux paint’ it with a saner color. The YouTube video called for adding 1/4 paint with 3/4 glazing liquid. Glazing liquid isn’t available in India so we decided to apply paint directly. It looked like crap.
  • Third, we tried a different sponge painting technique that according to YouTube was supposed to ‘one of the easiest wall painting techniques’. Easiest, my ass.

With our tails between our legs (mine wasn’t a tail), we got a simpler green, reapplied the primer to hide our mistake and redid the entire wall. Meenal and I were tired from our mistakes. The brown wall would be different.

Step 4: Apply the 2nd coat

20101108-IMG_6804We stuck to the basics for the brown wall in the 1st coat. The 2nd coat was easy and it hid all the problems from the 1st coat.

Step 5: Enjoy

We’ve spent 3 full days doing this. Be considerate if you comment or I know some Biharis …20101120-IMG_6857


How much was it?

  • Total: Rs. 4460 (about $100)
    • Wastage: Rs. 1755 ($37)
    • We could have done it in: Rs. 2705 ($57)
Wasted money
  • 1 Sea sponge (surprised to have found it): Rs. 450 ($9.5)
  • 1 Ripoff tray: Rs. 350 ($7.5)
  • 1 Extra roller: Rs. 70 ($1.5)
  • 1L Hideos green paint: Rs. 390 ($8.5)
  • 1L Sponging green paint: Rs. 360 ($8)
  • 200ml Red paint for accent on brown wall: Rs. 135 ($3)
We could have just did it with these:
  • 1 Correctly priced tray: Rs. 120 ($2.5)
  • 1 painting roller: Rs. 70 ($1.5)
  • 3 brushes of 1, 2 and 3 inches: Rs. 150 ($3)
  • 2 Masking Tape (you don’t get blue painters tape): Rs. 120 ($2.5)
  • 2 surgical gloves: Rs. 60 ($1.5)
  • 12 feet x 3 m Plastic to put on the floor: Rs. 150 ($3)
  • 2L Primer: Rs. 200 ($4.5)
  • 2L Caffeine paint: Rs. 860 ($18)
  • 2L Sane Green paint: Rs. 750 ($16)
  • 400 ml White paint to cover the stupd Red accent paint: Rs. 225 ($5)


5 local comments so far.

    Love the dining room picture.That’s why in India it’s cheaper and better to out-source to the “paint-wallah”.. This looks awesome guys,

    • Paint wallah wouldn’t have been such a bad idea – given that we screwed up a few times. But I did come out wiser – I know how walls are painted now 🙂

  2. Harinder,

    Love the dining room picture. Good job guys!

  3. Gaurav,

    This looks awesome guys, good job 🙂
    Happy Thanksgiving !!

  4. Apurva,

    Hey, What about the opportunity cost of you and Meenal spending 3 whole days doing this? That’s why in India it’s cheaper and better to out-source to the “paint-wallah”.. 🙂

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