When a room needs a makeover, there's no easier, cheaper or faster fix-up than a splash of new paint that brightens dull walls and creates a fresh, new feeling in a room that's a uniform backdrop for furnishings. For a beginning DIYer painting is goof-proof, because the paint and equipment are relatively inexpensive, and you learn the skills on the job. It's no surprise, then, that painting is the most popular DIY project.

A contractor will charge $1,842 to prepare and paint one coat of latex paint on the ceiling, walls and woodwork of a 15-by-20-foot room (900 square feet) with two windows and two doors. That includes the labor and material. A handy homeowner can buy the paint and equipment for $205 and do the job, saving 89 percent.

Move furniture outside of the room or to the center and cover with drop clothes. Remove window treatments and wall decorations from the room and protect the floor to prevent paint spills.

To get the most professional-looking results, plan to spend more time preparing the surfaces than actually applying the paint. Fill any nail holes or nicks in the walls with a wallboard repair compound, and sand them smooth. Do the same to any damaged woodwork or trim using a wood repair compound. Apply a stain block primer like Kilz to any stains to prevent them from re-emerging through the new coat of paint.

To find more DIY and contractor project costs, videos and calculators, visit www.diyornot.com on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$1,842 -- $205 -- 27.7 -- 34.0 -- $1,637 -- 89 Percent

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