If your to-do list never ends, a three-day holiday weekend is an ideal chance to tackle projects around the house, including cleaning out closets and doing your taxes. The upcoming Presidents Day weekend (Feb. 18-20) is a good time to paint a room or two, especially since you can take advantage of current deals from retailers and manufacturers.

For instance, a coupon from Sherwin-Williams knocks 30 percent off some of its paints and stains through March 4.

You may also find savings on finishes from Benjamin Moore and Ace Hardware, which are sold by independent retailers that set their own prices. It pays to call around to learn about deals on those and other brands. One paint store near our headquarters in Yonkers, N.Y., has trimmed 25 percent off most paints for the next two weeks.

Big-Box Deals?
Home Depot isn’t cutting paint prices for Presidents Day weekend, but it has lowered everyday prices across all paints, according to Kathryn Gallagher Emery, a company spokeswoman. Lowe’s has cut prices, including for Olympic Assure paint, which Consumer Reports has tested. 

Check our interior paint ratings to find a finish that's right for your project and budget. Buy your paint and supplies now so you're ready to work when the weekend comes.

Consumer Reports tested 24 interior paints that cost $17 to $105 a gallon. Some that cost less than $30 per gallon delivered very good or even excellent performance overall in our tests. For example, Behr Premium Plus Enamel, $28 per gallon, is nearly as good as the top-rated Behr Marquee, $43, and left a smoother surface. You'll find Behr paints at Home Depot.

Walmart’s Glidden Complete and Lowe’s Olympic One both cost about $26 per gallon. In our test, they did a very good job hiding old paint, withstood tough scrubbing, and kept their sheen, although they left a slightly grainy finish.

Painting Inside During Winter

Even if it's cold outside where you live, you can still paint inside.

The interior paints in our ratings are water-based latex, not oil, and the manufacturers claim they're either free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or have low levels of these noxious—and smelly—chemicals.

VOCs, which are linked to pollution and smog, can cause headaches and dizziness, and are suspected carcinogens, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"But even if the paint and the tints added at the store are VOC-free, crack open the windows when painting, or if you're painting the bathroom, turn on the vent fan," says Rico de Paz, who runs our paint tests. "These paints still have an odor."