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Woman Stunned After Her Sister-In-Law Demands She Paint Her Five Kids’ Rooms For Free

Kittiphan/ Getty Images

Art takes time, effort, and expertise. But, people feel like you can just ask artists to paint something as a gift or “for exposure” instead of paying them for their services.

Pay artists for their craft. It’s that simple.

Redditor Necessary_Panda_ encountered this very issue with her sister-in-law. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.

She asked:

“AITA for refusing to paint for my sister in-law?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“This probably sounds dumb to some but I am questioning my own thinking here.”

“I’m pregnant with mine and my husbands first child. Our son is due in October. I was an art student in college and I never went into the field but I have always enjoyed using my art in decorating.”

“So, I did a paint design in our son’s nursery.”

“I went with a Winnie the Pooh theme and used some pictures for reference but other than that the design was my own. It took weeks to get it finished but we love it.”

“My sister in-law also loves it. She raved about it for weeks and then the other night asked me on FB if I could do a theme for all her kids rooms. She has five kids and they have more basic paint on the walls.”

“Nothing fancy. She wants them to have something better.”

OP asked about the financial logistics.

“We messaged back and forth for a bit but when I mentioned her buying the paint she told me it would be such a nice gift to give them because it doesn’t cost me anything.”

“I told her if it wouldn’t cost me anything does that mean she already bought or was planning to buy the paint.”

“She said a gift is something you take care of. I told her I didn’t have that kind of paint lying around and I wouldn’t do five rooms for free so I told her I needed to pass.”

“She told me I was an ass. I mentioned the exchange to my husband and he got involved and told her she was out of line to expect me to do all that for free and then call me an ass for refusing to do all that free painting.”

“She told me it was something she thought I wouldn’t mind doing since I love painting and I’m the kids aunt but if it was such a huge deal then she guesses I just don’t care.”

“And it makes me question my refusal which annoys me. I know it would make the kids years and they’d love to have their favorite characters on their walls. But I also don’t want to spend all that time and money on something I won’t get anything for either.”

“Then I think this is for kids and would make them happy. Ugh!!!”


Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.


“Your sister in-law expects you, a pregnant women to paint 5 entire rooms. For free? And buy the paint too!?! I don’t know how long it’d take but probably a month or two. As well as a lot of paint” ~ Doggo-the-Doggo

“I would say longer. And I would need time when my son arrives. The paint alone would cost me a lot too. Because I would need multiple colors and a base paint that works for painting over.” ~ Necessary_Panda_

“Not to mention her kids aren’t going to always want a mural of Daniel Tiger riding an autobot or whatever. Most of them would want to paint over it in a few years. So all that unpaid labor and materials for that? Hell no. It is proof she doesn’t value your skill.” ~ BendingCollegeGrad

“Why did they pick such a specific yet amazing example? We’ll never know. It’ll haunt me in my dreams.” ~ bite_me_losers

“I was lucky enough to have my ‘Aunt’ Betty paint a Raggedy Ann & Andy mural on the wall of my childhood bedroom when I was 5 or 6. I loved it and kept it until we moved out of the house shortly before I turned 18.”

“But you’re right that not all 5 of the kids would keep these murals… and honestly once 1 kid paints over it, the others may start to see that as a sign of growing up.” ~ AuntJ2583

“I painted murals in both of my daughter’s rooms. They’re beautiful and I cherish them. I did them after the were born and it took about 9 months of intermittent painting to completely finish them. I’m pregnant with my third and already have nightmares about how long it’s going to take me to get theirs done.”

“I can’t imagine doing it 5 more times. For free. For someone else. NTA.” ~ funparent

The paint alone would set OP back a few hundred bucks.

“Especially while you provide the materials yourself. Which also have an actual, real cost as well. Outside of your time and effort.”

“People value art but don’t want to pay for it. You aren’t entitled to things you don’t want to pay for people. The pregnant lady isn’t going to paint your kids room ‘for the exposure!’ either.” ~ LikelyNotABanana

“’For the exposure’ is the WORST. My sister is a makeup artist and people act like she should just be grateful to do their faces. It is beyond obnoxious.” ~ KeyFeeFee

“Oh yes, the fact that OP is expected to provide the materials makes this even more egregious. I was just more focused on the “cost you nothing!” (lie) that assholes throw at artists and crafters. What we do does have costs! It isn’t free just because they see it as a hobby or something that is fun.” ~ Western_Compote_4461

“I think SIL it’s hilarious how obnoxious she is for assuming you would paint five rooms for her as a gift without even asking you. Like, you can buy me this gift because you enjoy shopping so much.”

“Buy some stencils and tell SIL to paint her own walls. Or if she’s not satisfied, set up a projector and SIL can just paint in the lines. She can do it and see how much time it takes to do five rooms. She wont mind because she loves doing things for her children, right?” ~ contricks88

OP’s efforts should be rewarded.