With virtually every new paint calling itself "self-priming," you'd think you could get away with fewer coats. That's not necessarily the case. Yes, these paints can cover a wall in one to two coats, but only if the colors are similar. New drywall is a different story. For the first coat, you're better off buying traditional primer, which does an excellent job of hiding joints and seams, and costs much less than the paint. The same holds true for dramatic color changes; if you're painting over a navy wall with canary yellow, you're probably going to need two to three coats of self-priming paint. Start with a base of gray-tinted primer instead. "Gray neutralizes bold colors and cuts down on the number of top coats you'll need," says Carl Minchew, vice president of color innovation at Benjamin Moore.