How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Room?
The cost to paint a room usually runs between $2 and $6 per square foot. Total painting costs range between $955 and $2,890, with a national average of $1,892.
- Typical Range: $955 to $2,890
- National Average: $1,892
Painting is typically one of the easiest ways to freshen up a room with dramatic effect. The average cost to paint a room ranges from $955 to $2,890, with the national average at $1,892. Knowing the costs of hiring professional painters to paint your house interior can help you make the right decisions and manage the overall cost to paint a room. Labor costs range from $170 to $680, and the amount can vary based on the total square footage that needs to be painted or the total square footage of floor space, depending on how a professional painter charges. Some professionals can charge by the hour, which usually runs from $20 to $50 on average, but be prepared for labor costs as high as $75 or more. A good rule of thumb for planning a budget is to allocate 75 to 85 percent of the total bill to labor. The cost to paint a room is also affected by regional wage rates, wall height, actual coverage area, the additional cost of designer paints, and drywall or woodwork repairs.
How to Calculate the Cost to Paint a Room
According to HomeAdvisor, the cost to paint a room that measures 10 by 12 feet can range from $200 to $800. When estimating the overall cost, professional painters find the coverage area to determine how many gallons of paint are needed. To do this, follow these steps:
- Find the area of the walls. Add the length of each wall for the perimeter. For a 10-by- 12-foot room, add the four wall lengths: 10 + 12 + 10 + 12 = 44 feet.
- Calculate the wall area. Multiply the area of the walls by the height of the room: 44 × 8 = 352 square feet.
- Subtract for windows and doors to get the coverage area. Use the same width by length method and subtract that number from the wall area; in this case, 21 square feet for one door and 16 square feet for one window: 352 – 21 – 16 = 315 square feet.
- Are ceilings, trim, and baseboards part of the project? If so, add these using the same method for finding the area.
- Calculate the cost to hire a painter. Painters charge $1.50 to $4 per square feet of coverage area: 315 x $1.50 = 472.50 or 315 x $4 = $1,260.
- Calculate how much paint you need. One gallon of paint tends to cover up to 400 square feet. Professionals recommend using two coats of paint and buying more than you need: (315 / 400) × 2 = 1.6 gallons.
Factors in Calculating the Cost to Paint a Room
The factors that go into calculating the cost to paint a room include the size of the room, wall height, trim, baseboards, ceilings, room type, geographic location, paint type, paint color, and paint finish. The average cost to paint a room can range from $955 to $2,890 with the national average at $1,892. There are many options available when choosing how to paint a room. Being aware of the differences can help keep your budget on track.
Size of the Room
The cost to paint an average 10-by-12-foot room ranges from $200 to $800. The most important factor is area, and the size of the room determines the overall cost of the supplies. So how much does a gallon of paint cover? One gallon of paint covers approximately 400 square feet, and it’s recommended that each room gets two coats of paint. To receive accurate quotes from professional painters, you may want to have the room measurements handy when you contact them.
Walls taller than 10 feet can significantly increase the cost per square foot since higher walls increase the paintable area. Adding additional square footage will boost the overall cost to paint a room.
Trim, Baseboards, and Ceilings
The average cost to paint a house interior ranges from $2 to $6 per square foot with an average of $3.30 per square foot. Painting woodwork and ceilings adds to the cost to paint a room.
Painting a bedroom costs roughly $300 to $750 for a standard 10-by-12-foot room. This size room will typically need 2 gallons of paint and a primer, if you decide to cover a darker wall. Bathrooms usually run between $150 and $350. A bathroom doesn’t have much area to paint due to tubs, cabinets, and showers. A larger master bathroom will cost more to paint. The cost to paint a living room runs from $900 to $2,000 for an average 330-square-foot room. The overall cost will increase if there are high ceilings or you decide to add an accent wall with a different paint color. Kitchens usually cost up to 50 percent less than other rooms due to cabinets. Painting kitchen cabinets averages around $30 to $60 per linear foot, or close to $1,000.
Painters in different parts of the country have different rates. Expect to pay more in areas with a higher cost of living. The best way to find out how much a professional will charge is to search for “painters near me” and compare rates.
Paint will cost anywhere from $20 to $100 per gallon, but keep in mind that a professional can buy paint for up to 50 percent less than a homeowner. The average cost to paint a house can range from $1,000 to $11,000. Prices will vary depending on what type of paint, primer, or level of gloss you choose.
Paint Choice and Color
The average home needs approximately 6 gallons of paint per coat. At two coats, the cost difference can skyrocket if you choose a more expensive paint. The average price of a gallon of paint can range from $20 to $100 or more per gallon, depending on the brand. At two coats per room, the cost difference to use a designer brand of paint could add up to $1,000 or more. Deciding to have each room be a different color will also cost more. Having the same color in multiple rooms will help save money.
Paint Gloss or Finish
Different gloss levels have different prices. The glossier the paint, the higher the price will be. Actual pricing differs from brand to brand, and paint comes in a few standard finishes:
- Flat or matte: This type of paint is best for rooms with lower levels of humidity. Flat or matte paint is not as easy to clean as other finishes, but it doesn’t reflect light.
- Eggshell or satin: This paint is well suited for all rooms, even high-traffic areas. It’s easy to clean, and many people will use this for children’s rooms.
- Semi-gloss: Semi-gloss paint is stain resistant, easy to clean, and works well in kitchens and bathrooms.
- High-gloss: High-gloss paint is typically used for doors and cabinets. It’s extremely durable and easy to clean.
Some wall painting projects will require a primer—especially if you decide to go from a dark wall color to a lighter one—and a can of primer can cost between $10 and $20. Primer helps with paint adherence for long-lasting paint color. Some brands offer an all-in-one “paint plus primer.” These are recommended for small areas and touch-ups.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting for the cost of painting a room, there are usually additional price factors and considerations. Labor costs can run from $170 to $680 and can vary due to how labor is estimated: by the square foot of coverage area at $2 to $6 per square foot for labor and materials, or for labor alone at around $1.50 to $4 per square foot. Labor can also be charged by the square foot of floor space at around $5 to $10, and some professionals charge by the hour at around $20 to $50 an hour to upward of $75 per hour. Additional costs can include supplies, moving furniture, wall preparation, repairs, customization, the addition of wall textures or accents, testing for lead or asbestos, and cleanup.
Depending on what’s needed, paint supplies can cost from $10 to $100 or more. Professional painters will typically provide most of their own supplies, but some will discount the price if you provide all the materials yourself. If you know how to paint and decide to save on the cost to paint a room and do it yourself, there are a few supplies that will help along the way.
- Brushes. Brushes can run from $3 to $20 each. A good brush will make a world of difference to a painting project. Trim and sash brushes work well for smaller areas and intricate work, while beaver-tail-handle brushes are good for painting large areas.
- Tape. The price of painter’s tape can range from $3 to $10 per roll. Painter’s tape protects trim and ceilings from stray drops of paint.
- Drop cloth. Even if you think you’re being careful, paint will always drip onto the floor. A drop cloth will protect flooring and furniture.
- Paint tray. Paint trays cost around $2 to $5 and allow you to use only the amount of paint you need, without having the paint can open and drying out.
- Rollers. Paint rollers average from $10 up to $100. A paint roller is a quick and easy way to cover a large area.
- Ladder. A ladder is a necessary piece of equipment to reach those high areas. Don’t use a chair!
- Painting kits. Painting kits can range from $10 to $20 each. These kits include trays, brushes, and roller heads and are a good way to save some money on supplies.
Some companies may charge extra for moving furniture. A good way to save money from this potential additional charge is to move the furniture out of the room or to the center of the room yourself.
Wall Condition, Preparation, or Repairs
Prepping the space and repairing cracks in the drywall or damage to the trim will increase the cost to paint a room. You may have to pay an additional $1 to $5 per square foot for repairs and updates. Painting a room is a good time to upgrade or repair any issues with molding, trim, and baseboards.
Labor costs can run from $170 to $680 and can vary due to how labor is estimated: by the square foot of coverage area at $2 to $6 per square foot for labor and materials, or for labor alone at around $1.50 to $4 per square foot. Labor can also be charged by the square foot of floor space at around $5 to $10, and some professionals charge by the hour at around $20 to $50 an hour to upward of $75 per hour. Most professionals charge by the area, not by the hour.
Time of Year
The time of year you choose to paint a room can have a significant effect on the project price. Scheduling a time during the fall and winter months can save on the cost to paint a room. Painting companies are typically slower from November to February due to fewer exterior painting jobs. This results in more competitive price quotes for interior painting.
Installations or Upgrades
Professionals can usually repair or replace trim, baseboards, or molding for an affordable rate, and some may bundle the price of repairs with the cost of painting the room. The average price of installing trim is between $600 and $1,900, and the price of drywall repair can run from $250 to $800. If you’re considering new window installation, that can range from $2,500 to $8,000.
Customizations, Textures, and Accents
Accent walls can cost up to 20 or 30 percent more than other walls. The price variation has to do with the change in paint color. Specialty work is more expensive, and the addition of murals and trompe l’oeils can run from $800 to $1,700. Textured walls are also an additional expense of up to 50 percent more. The price increase is from the added surface area of the wall since texture adds more surface area, not square footage. If you estimate that a gallon of paint can cover 400 square feet of smooth wall, you may get only 250 square feet of coverage on a textured wall.
Lead or Asbestos Testing
Older houses may contain traces of lead paint or asbestos. A professional lead testing and removal contractor will need to be consulted for paint testing and removal. The average cost for an inspection is $100 to $190. Asbestos removal should only be done by a professional, and the average cost to have this done is around $65 to $240 per room.
A major advantage of hiring a painting professional is that the cleanup is part of the cost. A professional will ensure that your home remains as clean as possible during the painting project. Unless otherwise noted, the painting professional will clean up after the painting project is complete and dispose of any debris and waste. An extra charge of $20 to $50 per ton for dumping in a landfill may be added to the overall cost.
Cost to Paint a Room: Types of Paint
Interior paints are usually classified in two ways: oil-based paint or latex-based. Here are some qualities of each type.
Oil-based paint is more durable than latex paint, even though it takes longer to dry. It goes on smoothly and provides better coverage with just one coat. Many people like oil-based paint because it has superior adhesion and good stain resistance. Oil-based paint works well on walls, woodwork, trim, doors, and windows, even though it’s not very resistant to fading and chalking when exposed to direct sunlight. Keep in mind that mineral spirits are needed for cleanup, and special procedures are needed for disposal.
Latex-based paint provides a long-lasting finish and gloss retention. It’s easy to use, it dries quickly, and it resists chalking, fading, and yellowing due to sun exposure. Compared to oil-based paint, it has fewer fumes and can be easily cleaned up with soap and water. If you’re interested in using latex paint to cover up a surface that was previously painted with oil-based paint, it can be a bit difficult for it to adhere. Latex paint is also absorbed into wood surfaces, causing the wood to swell and requiring sanding between coats.
Cost to Paint a Room: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Homeowners can buy paint and supplies for around $200 to $300. Depending on the size of the room and how much assistance you have, a painting project could take a few hours or a few days. It usually takes DIYers two to three times as long to paint a room as it would take a professional. Most professionals cover about 100 to 120 square feet per hour, unless they’re working on a very large wall. Textured walls, wood surfaces, or rough plaster may reduce that amount to 80 or 100 square feet per hour. The pros to painting a room yourself are that it’s less expensive and it gives you a sense of control: You can paint when you want and apply as many coats as you want. The cons would be that it’s hard to reproduce the look that a professional painter gets, there is a high risk of making mistakes, it will take more time than you think, and there is the potential for injury from climbing ladders to reach the ceiling. While it is more expensive to hire professionals, the end result will be a professional-looking appearance, time saved, and risk of personal injury averted.
Cost to Paint a Room: How to Paint a Room Yourself
For about $200 to $300, a homeowner can buy paint and materials; there’s more to the cost of painting a room than just the price of paint. Consider the following steps if you decide to tackle a painting project yourself.
- Decide on paint colors. Neutral colors and earthy tones will cover up scratches, marks, and handprints.
- Buy supplies. Purchase paint, primer, brushes, rollers, drop cloths, and other materials (see above).
- Remove or cover furniture. If possible, remove the furniture from the room, or move it to the center of the room and cover with drop cloths to avoid paint drips.
- Clean the walls. Wipe away dirt and dust with detergent and water. For stains, use trisodium phosphate.
- Remove outlet covers and light switch plates. For safety, turn off the electricity to the room to avoid accidental shocks.
- Outline. Apply painter’s tape over baseboards, trim, and edging to avoid drips or accidental brush strokes.
- Apply the first coat. Wait until it is completely dry before moving on.
- Apply the second coat.
- Touch up. Reapply paint to any needed areas on the baseboards, ceiling, trim, or walls.
Cost to Paint a Room: Do I Need to Paint a Room?
There are many reasons to paint a room: It’s a quick and easy way to update and refresh, and painting provides an immediate change to the atmosphere of a room. It can also increase property value and boost the general health and well-being of your family. Here are some of the top reasons you should paint your home.
Increases Property Value
Painting your home helps boost property value and aids with resale by adding a fresh and updated look.
Promotes Better Indoor Air Quality
You and your family can have healthier indoor air quality by painting the interior of your home with zero-VOC or low-VOC paints.
Hides Stains and Marks
Difficult-to-remove stains or marks on the walls can be painted over to provide a clean surface.
Improves Overall Interior Look
A new coat of paint is a relatively inexpensive way to update the look of your home without extensive and invasive remodeling. Changing the colors that surround you every day can boost mood and energy.
Protects Interior Surfaces
Painting indoor surfaces helps to resist wear and tear and protects walls and trim from moisture and marks.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Paint a Room
The cost to paint a room can be expensive, and the additional costs associated with a painting project can quickly add up. One way to save money is to buy the most inexpensive paint, but there are other ways to save money without compromising on the quality and type of paint you really want.
- Share supplies. Painting materials like brushes, rollers, drop cloths, and ladders can be reused. Find the supplies from the last time you painted, or ask family members or friends if you can borrow their supplies. If borrowing isn’t an option, there are painting kits that include the majority of the needed materials at a discounted price.
- Correctly calculate wall space. Having some leftover paint will come in handy if you need to touch up a scratch or ding, but having gallons left over is a waste of money.
- Invest in good paint. Buying the cheapest paint will save money up front, but low-quality paint can be thin and require more coats to properly cover a wall. Look for paint that has a high-quality rating and boasts good coverage.
- Use a primer only if necessary. If you’re painting over a dark-colored wall with lighter paint, then you’ll need a primer. Using light-colored paint over a previously painted light wall doesn’t require the use of a primer.
- Reuse colors. You probably don’t want every room in your house to be the same color, but reusing the same color in different areas of your home will help cut down on costs.
- Prep correctly. Cleaning the walls, using painter’s tape, covering furniture and floors, and removing outlet covers and switch plates will save time and money. Getting paint where it doesn’t belong will tack on additional time for cleanup or add an extra expense if furniture or hardware need to be replaced.
- Do some of the work yourself. If you’re hiring professionals to paint a room, you can save on labor costs by moving and covering the furniture and cleaning the walls yourself.
Questions to Ask About the Cost to Paint a Room
Asking a painting professional the right questions will help minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. Here are some questions to ask about the cost to paint a room.
- How should I prepare the room for painting?
- How long will the painting project take?
- How long does interior paint last?
- Which paint is best?
- How much will it cost to paint a room?
- Do you have insurance?
- Do you have references, previous reviews, or accreditations?
- What’s the difference between an estimate and a quote?
Deciding on paint color, whether to hire a professional, and how to keep the overall cost to paint a room budget-friendly can be a daunting process. Here are some frequently asked questions about the cost to paint a room to help guide you in your decision.
Q. How long does it take to paint a room?
It usually takes anywhere from 6 to 10 hours to paint a single room. The time it takes depends on how much experience the person painting the room has. Professionals usually take a few hours, and a DIYer will likely take two to three times as long.
Q. What needs to be done before painting a room?
In addition to buying supplies, furniture needs to be removed from the room or placed in the center of the room and covered. Any damaged walls may need sanding, patching, taping, and repairing. Trim or baseboards may need to be installed or repaired, and wallpaper removal or window replacement may need to be factored in, too. Don’t forget to remove any artwork, mirrors, or clocks off the walls.
Q. How far can a gallon of paint go?
One gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet.
Q. How much does it cost to paint a 12-by-12-foot room?
You can expect to pay approximately $400 to $900 to paint a 12-by-12-foot room.