Transform any room in your home with a fresh coat of paint
So, how much does it cost to paint a room? Hiring professional painters for a single room costs an average of $1,100, or $2 to $6 per square foot, but you can tackle the project on your own for about $150. The interior of your home is your sanctuary. It's where you can snuggle up at the end of a workday with your favorite book, the coziest blanket, and a pint of chocolate ice cream (we don't judge). Picking a new paint color can complete the vibe, turning a room into the ultimate cozy space or an invigorating area that gets you ready for the day.
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How to Calculate the Cost to Paint a Room
You’re ready to breathe new life into your room—the next step is figuring out how to calculate the cost to paint a house interior.
To start, you need to use a tape measure and write down the length of all four sides of the room.
Then, measure the height of the walls from the floor to the ceiling.
Next, add up the lengths of the room, and multiply it by the height. That gives you the total square footage you need to paint.
On average, one gallon of paint can cover 350 square feet. So divide the total square footage of your room by 350 to find out how many gallons of paint you need for one coat.
In most cases, you’ll apply two coats of paint, so multiply that number by two.
If you’re planning on hiring a pro to do the job, expect to pay $20 to $50 per hour for labor. Some painters will quote you by the square footage, so doing this math can help you get the most accurate quote.
Painting a Room Cost Breakdown
For most homeowners, painting the interior of a home costs anywhere from $950 to $3,000, but a single room is generally much more affordable. It depends on factors like the size of the room to the quality and type of paint. Even something as seemingly inconsequential as a finish can add a few extra bucks to the budget. Here’s how the costs breakdown.
Size of the Room
Professional interior paint jobs are typically priced at $2 to $6 per square foot. The larger the room, the higher the cost—especially if you have tall ceilings that are difficult to reach. Bathrooms are usually the smallest room in the house and the least expensive to paint, while living rooms are usually the largest and more costly.
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Paint costs are dependent on brand, makeup, and finish. On average, you’ll pay $15 to $60 per gallon—and each gallon covers around 350 square feet. You can get a budget-friendly option from a big box retailer for as little as $10 per gallon or spend more than $100 per gallon on a designer brand or rare pigment.
Overall, oil-based paints cost slightly more than latex-based paints (though latex is by far the most popular for indoor use). On top of that, you’ll pay more the glossier the finish gets.
A gallon-sized can of primer typically costs $10 to $20. If you go from a dark color to a lighter color, you’re going to need primer to help lighten the base. Even if you don’t, primer is a good idea because it helps paint adhere and gives you a longer-lasting, even paint color.
Tools and Materials
Though your contractor will already have the tools needed to paint your home, if you’re doing a DIY job, you’ll probably have to head to the hardware store. Here are the materials you’ll need:
Paint brushes: $3–$20 each
Paint roller: $10–$100 each
Paint tray: $2–$5 each
Drop cloth: $5–$30 each
Painter’s tape: $3–$10 per roll
You can also purchase a $10 to $20 painting kit that includes all the basics—from rollers and brushes to trays.
If you decide to pay a house painter to paint your room, you’ll wind up spending $20 to $50 per hour. This is generally quoted as a per square foot price. You’ll typically spend less on a handyperson than you will a pro painter.
Paint Prices by Type
For most homeowners, the more difficult choice isn’t latex-based vs. oil-based—it’s choosing the finish. In general, you’ll pay $2 more per can for each gloss level, with an average of $15 to $60 per gallon.
Flat or Matte
Flat paint is ideal for low-humidity rooms. The paint does not have a sheen and can be tricky to clean. Each gallon typically costs between $10 and $70, depending on quality.
Eggshell or Satin
Eggshell and satin paint add a bit more sheen and reflectivity without losing that smooth finish. Because they are easier to clean, they’re a great choice for any room. Each runs between $12 to $72 per gallon.
This is the most popular type of paint for high-humidity and high-traffic areas, including bathrooms and the kitchen. Semi-gloss paint is stain-resistant and usually costs up to $14 to $74 per gallon.
High-gloss paint is popular for trim, doors, and cabinets. It’s durable and easy to clean, but also the most expensive at $16 to $76 per gallon.
Additional Costs to Consider When Painting a Room
A typical paint job may come with a few extra costs. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to need minor repairs to walls or to choose an add-on, like texture. Here are some potential costs you may need to work into your budget.
You may need to move furniture out of the room you want to paint. In this case, your contractor will spend some extra time on prep, so it can slightly increase costs. If you have oversized furniture (think: a grand piano or grandfather clock), it might take an additional worker to move. Expect to spend $25 to $50 per hour on additional labor (though the cost will likely be wrapped into your per-square-foot estimate).
Accent or Textured Walls
Wall texture can transform the feeling of a room—whether it’s a combed texture, sand swirl, or orange peel. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, though some homeowners love it. Expect to spend a couple of dollars extra per square foot if you want to add or remove wall texture before the painting process:
The cost of texturing your walls is $1 to $3 per square foot.
The cost of skim coating drywall to remove texture is $1.10 to $1.30 per square foot.
Stairwell or Stairway
Painting a stairway is more complex than painting walls because of all of the different angles and shapes that the painter needs to navigate. You can expect to pay $350 to $450, or $4 to $6 per square foot.
Some stair parts, like posts, railings, spindles, balusters, and handrails cost $3 to $17 per linear foot.
You may need to repair your walls before you can paint them. The typical cost of drywall repair is between $300 and $900, but the average homeowner pays around $600. Alternatively, you can do small repairs DIY with a $10 to $30 drywall repair kit.
Trim and Baseboards
Painting trim and baseboards along with your walls will nearly double the cost of your overall project. However, you can save money by painting the trim yourself.
Time of Year
Fall and winter are typically the slowest months for painting companies because there aren’t as many exterior paint jobs. You can likely save some money by booking your contractor for an interior paint job during their off-season.
Lead or Asbestos Testing
Lead paint and asbestos were commonly used in homes built before 1980—and they require special care to remove. If your contractor needs to remove paint or alter the drywall, you might need to first test it for lead or asbestos:
A lead inspection costs $200 to $400, though a lead risk assessment can cost up to $2,000.
An asbestos survey costs $200 to $1,200.
If testing finds lead or asbestos, you’ll spend even more on abatement.
A pro will work cleanup into your per-square-foot quote, but it may cost an additional $20 to $50 per ton to move debris to a landfill or dump.
How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Room Myself?
Here's the million-dollar—or hundred-dollar—question: can you paint a room yourself? In most cases, yes, you can paint your own room with a fair amount of time and patience. Just make sure you paint the walls, ceiling, and trim in the right order.
However, we'd leave this to the pros if your ceilings are particularly high, if you have sloped walls, or if you're renting. It's easy to drip paint on wooden floors and carpets, which can be a costly hassle to clean up.
Here's what you can expect from painting a bedroom yourself:
Paint: A gallon of paint costs between $20 and $100. Professional painters receive a discount, which is why you'll see lower prices on your estimate if you hire a contractor.
Supplies: Brushes, trays, drop cloths, painters’ tape, and rollers can cost up to $100.
Ladder: Always use an appropriate ladder, not a chair or a moving bin, if you need to reach high ceilings. These will run you between $60 and $200.
The highest cost of painting a room yourself isn’t in cash, but in time. While the room-painting process should take between four and six hours, be sure to add in the time to buy paint and supplies, move furniture, prep your room, and wait for the proper time between layers.
DIY vs. Hiring a Pro
You can do a DIY paint job for less than $200 if you already have most of the supplies and choose budget-friendly paint. Paint is typically the largest expense, but each gallon covers 350 square feet. Keep in mind, you’ll likely need two coats.
For many people, the interior painter costs are well worth it. After all, painting typically takes a long time if you’re not experienced, requires some skill to get an even coat, and often includes drywall repairs. If you hire an interior painter near you, you’ll spend anywhere from $170 to $680 on labor costs—but you may spend half as much on paint.
4 Tips for Hiring a Pro to Paint a Room
Want to tighten your budget and cut on the cost to paint rooms? Saving on a painting job doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself—though if you’ve got a passion for DIY projects, go for it! Here are some ways you can shed a few dollars off your total painting costs.
Only Paint the Walls
If the paint on your trim, baseboards, and ceiling are in good condition and you simply want to switch up the look of your room, only paint the walls. This will slash the price of the job in half.
Let Your Contractor Buy the Paint
If you’re using a contractor to paint your home, don’t run out to the store just yet. Let them purchase the paint. Contractors can typically buy paint for around 50% less than a homeowner. The total cost should be what you expect from your painting estimate.
Skip the Designer Materials
Like clothes, designer paints cost a lot more than your average can—but you’re paying for quality and vibrancy. These paints typically use natural coloring agents that look more vibrant than synthetic pigments. Nonetheless, you can still get some great colors by choosing a high-quality paint without the luxury label.
Go DIY or Use a Handyperson
You can save on labor costs by painting a room yourself. If you don’t want to deal with the headache and the mess, consider hiring a handy person near you. Handypeople cost less than interior painting companies, and can typically handle straightforward painting jobs with ease.
Mariel Loveland contributed to this piece.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best bedroom paint colors create a calm and tranquil getaway to cool you down from the rush of the day. Stick with natural earth tones and pale neutral colors like blues, pale greens, cream, white and gray. Add vibrant accent hues in a child's room or if you're looking to wake up to a burst of color.
A painting project can take a few days or you can get it done in a couple of hours. It really depends on the size of the room and prep work. You can expect to spend around four to six hours per room on just the painting. Most professionals can paint 120 square feet per hour for a smooth wall and 80 to 100 square per hour for a textured wall.
One gallon of paint can typically cover around 350 square feet—or enough to cover a bathroom or small office. Keep in mind that you’ll likely need two coats of paint so the real square footage is cut in half.
Also, consider the wall type. If your walls are primed and smooth, a gallon of paint may cover 400 square feet. On the other hand, if your wall is highly textured, a gallon of paint may only cover 250 square feet.
Before painting a room, you’ll need to prep the area. This includes moving furniture or covering it with a drop cloth. Similarly, you’ll need to protect your floor with drop cloths and areas you don’t want to paint. Typically, you can cover them with plastic and painter’s tape. You may also need to make drywall repairs.
One of the most exciting parts of painting a bedroom is updating all the accents that go with the new hue. Consider updating your baseboards for a fresh look, for example. You may also consider painting your windows if they’re wooden.
Additionally, it’s a good time to update your decor. Get some new curtains and wall art to create a cohesive space.