Cost Factors for Painting the Interior of Your Home
Estimating your unique home interior painting cost is a bit more involved than looking at the price of a can of paint. From room square footage to the type of paint to materials, there are quite a few factors to consider when embarking on a painting project.
Interior Painting Cost per Square Foot
Across the country, the average cost to paint the interior of a house is $2.75 per square foot. If you include walls, trim, and ceilings, the cost per square foot is $4.70. To get the most accurate quote you can, have your square footage ready when speaking with a pro, as this factor is one of the most important. For reference, an average room is 10-by-12 feet.
If you’re embarking on a whole-house interior painting project, check out the cost to paint a home interior by square footage, ranging from $2 to $6 per square foot:
|$200 – $1,000||Single room|
|$900 – $4,500||1,200 square-foot home|
|$4,000 – $10,000||2,300 square-foot home|
|$5,000 – $10,000||2,500 square-foot home|
|$2,700 – $11,000||3,000 square-foot home|
To ensure your final cost is as close to the quote as possible, ask your contractor to sign a house painting contract before the first drops of paint hit the wall. All contractors should also be able to answer specific questions, such as providing information on their insurance coverage, giving references, and communicating a clear project timeline.
Cost by Room
You can determine the estimated cost to paint a room by measuring the square footage of each room. However, remember that this per-room painting cost can change thanks to obstacles, such as sinks and toilets, that a pro will need to avoid with their paint roller.
|Room||Average Square Footage||Average Cost Per Room|
|Bathroom||70||$150 – $300|
|Bedroom||120||$300 – $750|
|Dining Room||300||$700 – $1,400|
|Living Room||330||$900 – $2,000|
|Kitchen||160||$300 – $750|
Type of Paint
While browsing the paint aisle or speaking with your pro, you’ll probably notice that paint usually costs $15 to $40 per gallon, depending on the brand and paint finish. And if you have your heart set on a specific brand-name paint, it can raise the price pretty quickly.
The average home needs about 6 gallons of paint per coat, excluding primer, so keep that in mind before you start filling up your cart.
|Paint Type||Avg. Cost Per Gallon|
|Semi-gloss interior paint||$17|
|High-gloss enamel paint||$35|
Prepping the Area
If a wall requires any sanding and patching (perhaps you recently had a DIY mishap while trying to hang your TV), the cost for wall prep is between $0.50 and $0.75 per square foot. This kind of prep work is vital to get a smooth finish on your wall so a pro can apply paint flawlessly.
Some paint contractors bundle prep work into their hourly or per-square-foot charges. If a room requires drywall fixes before the paint can glide on, drywall repair costs can add an average of $600 to your budget, depending on the severity.
Aside from purchasing the paint for each room, if you’re planning on tackling this project yourself, you will also need paint brushes and rollers, paint pans, painter's tape, and drop cloth to ensure any rogue paint drops don’t stain your carpet. The cost of these materials will add an average of $200 to $300 to your budget. Depending on the room you’re tackling, you may also need a ladder and a paint sprayer.
If you hire a painting company, they may roll this into your per-square-foot fee or add an equipment fee that will tend to be smaller than if you bought all of these materials yourself.
You may need to use a primer (that costs around $10 per can) before painting interior walls, especially if you are painting over a dark shade with a light shade. Paint primer helps the paint adhere more effectively, resulting in longer-lasting paint jobs and reducing how often you need to paint your home.
Professional painters usually include the cost of labor in the total project cost. On average, a painter will charge $20 to $50 per hour. While there’s no substitute for a professional paint job, you can cut down on labor costs by patching and prepping your walls so they’re ready for painting when the pros arrive.
If your walls are a bit worse for wear, you may need to do some repairs to provide a clean slate for painting. Scratches, dents, and water stains are common issues that you can usually tackle with a spackle and a putty knife. Again, taking on this task yourself can save you money if you’re hiring a pro.
The last thing you want is to get paint on your furniture, so you’ll want to move your beautiful velvet couch either to the center of the room (covered) or out of the room completely. To reduce labor costs when hiring a painter, move the furniture (if you can safely lift it!) before they get started.
The cost to paint the interior of your home varies based on your location. On the West Coast in Los Angeles, for example, the price can fall between $1,300 to $3,700, but on the other side of the country, in New York City, the cost is slightly lower at around $1,100 to $3,400.
Outside of major cities, the cost is typically lower. In the Southern city of Oklahoma City, it can cost between $1,100 to $3,300 to paint your home's interior. Up north in Fargo, North Dakota, the price is on the low side, ranging from $640 to $2,100.
Additional Cost Factors of Painting Your Home’s Interior
Extra touches can add texture and value to a room, but they can also add to the cost of a paint job.
The rule when adding an accent wall is to increase the budget for the room by 20% to 30% to cover the cost of additional paint and materials.
When adding textured walls to create a richer look that hides paint flaws, prepare to increase your painting budget by up to 50% for this premium technique. Textured walls can require double the amount of paint as a smooth wall. Before hiring a professional painter, ensure that they offer this specialized service.
If you plan to use multiple colors to paint a room, that design decision can impact the overall cost. Some hues are more expensive than others. However, if the different paint shades cost the same, there shouldn’t be a price difference, as the labor costs likely won’t change.
While the cost to paint a ceiling won't reach the high heavens, it will range from around $150 to $350 for the average 12-foot-by-12-foot room. Painting a ceiling usually costs $1 to $2.50 per square foot. Talk to a ceiling painter in your area about your painting needs or learn how to paint the ceiling yourself.
A trim refresh that includes baseboards, doors, windows, crown molding, and other accents should cost around $1 to $3 per linear foot. That estimate jumps closer to $6 per linear foot for thick or difficult-to-reach trim.
Wall Paper Removal
Removing wallpaper costs around $3 per square foot. Expect to shell out about $535 for the paper to get torn down in a 12-foot-by-12-foot room.
Popcorn Ceiling Removal
Expect to pay between $1 and $2 per square foot to de-pop a popcorn ceiling. Once a popcorn ceiling has been removed, extra costs for texture, painting, or other refinishing options will add to the final project cost. Contact a popcorn ceiling removal pro near you for assistance.
Unique Architectural Features
If the interior of your home features unique architectural designs such as archways or columns, painting these will impact the cost. Due to the complexity of the areas, the increase in cost is labor-focused, as it takes more keen attention to detail to make them shine.
How to Calculate the Cost to Paint the Interior of Your Home
Measuring the square footage of each room you plan to paint is an essential part of the process. To calculate square footage, multiply the length of the room by the width in feet: Length x Width = Area in square feet.
If the space isn't a perfect shape, section off the room to make sizable shapes (such as squares or rectangles) and measure each section at a time. Add the square footage areas together to get the total square footage of the room.
How Much Paint Do You Need?
As a general rule of thumb to know how much paint you need, 1 gallon of paint is required per 300 to 400 square feet. If you have textured walls or choose thinner paint formulas, your project may require more materials.
To air on the side of caution, overestimate by purchasing 1 gallon per 400 square feet. To get your estimation, use this equation:
Total square footage / 400 = Number of gallons of paint. For example, if your house is 2,400 square feet, you would need 6 gallons of paint (2,400 / 400 = 6).
Cost to Paint the Interior of a House Yourself
Interior painting is a pretty common job to take on yourself. Most DIY painters can expect to pay $200 to $300 in painting supplies when grabbing paint, primer, tape, brushes, drop clothes, and other odds and ends.
Here’s a complete list of items to purchase if you’re looking to DIY your project:
|Primer and paint||$15 - $35|
|Drop cloths and protective coverings for furniture||$2 - $20|
|Angled brushes, rollers, and paint containers||$10 - $17 (for a kit)|
|Putty knife||$2 - $6|
|Painter’s tape||$3 - $18|
DIY vs. Hiring a Pro to Paint Your Home’s Interior
While it may seem like a fun weekend project, painting a room requires a heavy time commitment, paint skills, and oftentimes, previous experience to end up with a result that you’ll want to show off to friends. Hiring a pro is the best way to ensure a paint job is done accurately and efficiently so you can enjoy your refreshed rooms according to schedule.
When hiring a painting interior professional in your area, you can expect to pay $20 to $50 hourly for labor on top of the cost of supplies. A DIY paint job could cost homeowners between $200 to $300, but with this cost savings comes the risk of bubbling paint and drips if you don’t have experience.
How to Save Money While Painting Home’s Interior
Whether you decide to DIY your interior painting or hire a professional painter, you can use some money-saving tricks to reduce your overall costs.
If you’re already working with a contractor on a different job, they may be able to help you purchase paint for a DIY project. They can usually find it at a more affordable rate.
Save on the set-up and clean up processes by tarping off furniture and fixtures and tapping off the area ahead of time.
Reduce the time painters spend on the task by fixing holes or scratches in the walls before they arrive.
Scott Dylan Westerlund contributed to this piece.