In This Guide: Cost by Square Footage | Cost by Room | Cost by Surface | DIY vs. Professional Painting | Our Conclusion | FAQs
Whether your home’s walls need a makeover or you just want a change in scenery, painting is a great way to renovate an interior space. It’s also a project you can do yourself. However, many homeowners find painting their home’s interior to be more difficult than they anticipated.
If you hire interior painters to do the job for you, the national average cost can range between $1,800 and $10,000, based on the size of your home, the room being painted, surface type, and labor. In this guide, we’ll explain the factors that determine your painting price and answer some frequently asked questions about interior painting costs and methods.
Cost to Paint by Square Footage
The important variable in determining your interior painting cost is the size of your home. More surface area means more materials and labor costs. Overall, the total cost is often between $1 and $4 per square foot of floor space in your home.
Here’s a look at what those numbers can mean for different home sizes:
|Square Footage||Average Total Price|
Based on size of the home interior painting can range between $1,800 and $10,000.Get Free Estimates
Drywall repair typically costs between $50-$80 per square foot.Get Free Estimates
For ceiling painting you on average can expect to pay $1 - $2.50 per square foot.Get Free Estimates
Painting Cost by Room
Each room is unique in size and shape. With that in mind, these are rough guidelines for interior paint pricing. Keep in mind that the overall house painting cost range of $1 to $4 per square foot might not scale down to individual rooms, since painting contractors often have minimum prices. Here is the pricing for each type of room in the home:
- Bathroom: Bathrooms are small, and shower or tub areas are usually finished in tile or acrylic. Thanks to these factors, these rooms tend to be fairly inexpensive to paint. A half-bath of 20 square feet may cost $50 to $150, whereas a master bathroom of 70 square feet may cost anywhere from $350 to $650.
- Bedrooms: The average bedroom is 132 square feet and typically has a great deal of plain wall space to cover. This means it may cost $300 to $800 to paint, though a large master bedroom may cost up to $1,500.
- Dining room painting cost: A dining room is typically 300 to 400 square feet, and this interior painting project can cost from $600 to $1,000.
- Hallways and entryways: Hallways and entryways get a substantial amount of foot traffic and may require hardier types of paint to resist scratches and other kinds of damage. These areas may range in cost from $300 to $1,000 to paint.
- Kitchens: Although kitchens may be large, much of the wall space is often taken up by appliances, cabinetry, or backsplash. Thus, kitchens usually cost a bit less to paint, typically in the range of $200 to $750.
- Living rooms: The average living room is about 340 square feet, but living rooms come in many shapes and sizes. Painting costs range from $600 to $2,000 for these rooms—and don’t forget to take wall height into account when measuring. Painters charge more for rooms with high ceilings.
- Stairwells and stairways: The average cost of painting a stairway is usually rendered in linear feet instead of square feet, since the job includes painting spindles, baseboards, handrails, and other unique features. The painting price of a stairway is approximately $15 to $30 per linear foot.
- Closets, nooks, and pantries: Painting costs for these small rooms are usually low—in the $50 to $150 range. However, if parts of the space are difficult to access, a professional painter may charge a bit more for labor.
Cost by Interior Surfaces
Usually, painting the interior of a house involves more than just the walls. Make sure you take the following features into account when estimating your painting price.
Kitchen cabinets are the most commonly repainted, and painting an entire kitchen’s worth of cabinets can range from $900 to $3,500. However, for smaller projects, the cost of a painting cabinet is usually $3 to $8 per square foot of cabinet.
Although ceilings are a little harder to access, they aren’t high-traffic areas and so usually require inexpensive paint. Ceilings may cost $1 to $2.50 per square foot of surface area, depending on the texture of the ceiling.
The average price to paint an interior door ranges from $40 to $100. This is a project that many homeowners elect to tackle themselves due to the small size of a door and relative ease of painting the surface.
A home’s interior trim consists of items like baseboards, wainscoting, and crown molding. The cost to paint it is measured in linear feet, and the price can range from $1 to $3 per linear foot. This price puts the overall cost for a 1,500-square-foot home at $500 to $1,500.
If all you need painted are the walls, the cost will be fairly low. Usually, wall painting is quoted in the range of $1 to $2 per square foot of surface area. If there are strange angles or unusual features attached to the wall, you may pay slightly more.
Remember that the cost of painting a home’s interior walls also includes the prep work. This usually includes cleaning stains and mildew, sanding rough spots, patching holes, and caulking cracks. Anything that makes the job take longer, such as accessing high walls or difficult-to-reach areas, will increase labor costs.
A professional painting company will usually charge between $30 and $60 per hour, though the cost may be $75 an hour or more for specialty jobs. Some painters may charge by surface area or room instead of offering an hourly rate.
Costs to Do It Yourself
The good news is that interior painting is a DIY-friendly job. It requires time, patience, and plenty of drop cloths, but there are few safety risks involved. However, the process isn’t as intuitive as you might think, and you’ll need the proper supplies to do it right.
Costs of Paint by the Gallon
As soon as you start shopping for house paint, you’ll notice a wide variety in prices, even within the same brand. As you might expect, higher-quality paint costs more. Higher-quality paints have finer, purer pigments and more durable resins. Lower-quality paints have a higher percentage of solvent and are cheaper, but you will likely have to apply more coats for a uniform finish. If your budget can accommodate it, mid-tier to high-quality paint is the best choice.
Primer is a thin base layer that goes on first to allow the pigmented paint to adhere better to the wall, allowing it to last longer. Some types of primer also have special additives to resist mildew and staining. Gallon cans of primer tend to sell for $20 to $30, but five-gallon buckets usually cost $50 to $100, or get a gallon for $10 to $20.
Self-priming paints, which combine paint and primer, are typically very thick and cover only a small amount of square footage. They’re best used for touch-ups, unfinished drywall, or repainting an area in the same color. Self-priming paints must be of a higher quality to do the job, so these are usually in the range of $25 to $45 per gallon.
Cost by Quality of Paint
Overall, gallon cans of paint tend to sell for $15 to $60 each. Typically, pricing has more to do with the paint’s quality than the brand name, but there are exceptions. For example, Sherwin Williams is a premium brand that usually starts around $40 per gallon and goes up from there. You’ll pay even more for luxury brands like Little Greene, Farrow & Ball, and Clare. Beyond brand, here’s how paint prices break down by quality for most common brands:
- Value: $15–$35 per gallon
- Mid-tier: $35–$50 per gallon
- Premium: $50–$60+ per gallon
Cost by Type of Paint
The specific type of paint plays a lesser role in determining price. Most interior house paints are either oil-based or water-based. Oil-based paints use mineral spirits as a solvent. They adhere better to surfaces and have a smoother finish, but they’re also harder to work with. In contrast, latex paint uses water as a solvent, making it easier to use and clean up. In general, water-based paints are a little cheaper than oil-based, but you’re better off choosing between the two based on how they’ll be used rather than by price.
You can also choose different types of paint based on their sheen or finish. Generally speaking, the glossier a paint is, the more expensive it is. From least to most expensive, here are the types of paint you can choose from for interior rooms:
- Flat paint: The finish on this paint type provides a high level of coverage with very little shine. However, it is the least durable and most likely to be damaged by cleaning products.
- Eggshell paint: This paint type has a slight shine and is a bit hardier than flat paints, making them good for medium-traffic areas like living rooms and hallways. Satin-finish paint is the most common interior paint, as it represents a happy medium between coverage and durability.
- Semi-gloss paint: Semi-gloss is glossy and stain-resistant, but it shows imperfections in your paint job more easily than a flat or eggshell option.
- High-gloss paint: This is the shiniest and most durable type of paint, and it can stand up to heavy scrubbing. It’s also the least spreadable and most apt to show mistakes in painting.
Calculating Paint Costs
Before you purchase paint, you’ll need to know how many gallons to buy. A gallon of paint covers about 350 to 400 square feet of surface area in a single coat, and most interior walls require two coats of paint over a coat of primer. There’s no shortage of online estimators, but you can also do the math yourself.
- Find the surface area (in square feet) of the room by multiplying the length and width of the room by the height of the walls. Subtract out the area (length x width) of any windows, doors, or cabinets.
- Divide this surface area by 400 to get the number of gallons of paint required for one coat.
- Multiply the number of gallons by 2 to get the number of gallons for two coats. Round the result up to the nearest whole number.
Equipment and Supplies
Of course, to paint a home, you need more than just paint and primer. Here are some other supplies and their approximate costs:
- Brushes: $3–$20
- Rollers: $10–$20
- Paint trays: $3–$5
- Painter’s tape: $3–$10
- Drop cloth: $5–$30
- Scraper: $5–$20
- Sandpaper: $5–$30
- Ladder: $80–$300
Professional vs. DIY
As with any home improvement project, there are benefits and drawbacks to doing your own interior house painting. While the math and planning might not appeal to all homeowners, some enjoy a hands-ons project.
Professional Painting Pros and Cons
✔ Experts can get the job done quickly and consistently
✔ You won’t have to purchase expensive tools or deal with cleanup
✔ Professional help eliminates your risk of strain or injury
✘ You’ll pay more in labor costs
✘ You may have to work around the painters’ availability and schedule
DIY Pros and Cons
✔ You’ll save money on labor costs by doing the work yourself
✔ You can complete the job at your own pace
✔ You’ll have more control over the end results
✘ The end result may be inconsistent, depending on your equipment and experience level
✘ You’ll need to purchase a number of specialty tools that you may not use again
To get an idea of what is involved with doing the work yourself, see the diagram below of all the steps that go into interior painting.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Most standard paint jobs will fall within the cost ranges. However, there are other factors that can increase the price of an interior paint job. Here are a few hidden aspects that can affect your cost:
- An accent wall slightly increases the price and time needed due to multiple paint colors.
- Textured walls are more difficult to paint and may add $0.50 to $1 to the price per square foot.
- If your walls have substantial damage, you’ll need to spend more time patching and preparing them, which may also require extra materials and tools.
- If you live somewhere with a high cost of living, such as New York, Los Angeles, or the Bay Area, the cost of hiring a painter will be higher.
You certainly can paint the interior of your home yourself—just make sure you understand the time, tools, cost, and effort before you start. If you decide to hire professionals, remember that not everyone who’s willing to do the job is actually an experienced painter, so be sure to ask around and get some painting estimates before choosing a contractor.
Frequently Asked Questions
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