How much does it cost to paint a ceiling?

National Average Range:
$120 - $300

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Updated: August 18, 2022

Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez remodeling expert. Written by

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date cost figures, we gather information from a variety of pricing databases, licensed contractors, and industry experts.

The ceiling is the fifth wall of a room, and its appearance is important to the rest of your interior design and feel of a room. Ceilings are often not given the attention that they should. If you want to paint a room, then it is a good time to enhance the ceiling. Painting your ceiling adds a fresh new look to any room, free from stains and discolorations.

The national average cost to paint a ceiling is between $120 and $300. Most homeowners pay around $250 for painting a 10 x 12 foot room with a ten-foot ceiling with a smooth finish. At the low end of the spectrum, you will pay around $50 to paint a bathroom ceiling. At the high end, you may pay up to $2,500 to paint a basement ceiling.

Cost to Paint a Ceiling

Ceiling Painting Cost
National average cost$250
Average range$120-$300

Cost to Paint Ceiling per Square Foot

The average paint cost per sq. ft. for a ceiling is $1 to $2.50, depending on the texture used and the number of coats. This cost does not include special types of ceilings such as cathedral or vaulted styles. You can expect to pay more for smaller jobs because of overhead costs such as insurance, fuel, travel, and supplies. The size of the room does not affect the cost of labor for the painter. The chart below highlights the cost for different sized ceilings, including materials and labor.

Cost to Paint a 70, 100, 130, 160, 190, and 220 Sq. Ft. Ceiling (mobile)

SizeCost (Materials and Labor)
70 sq. ft.$70 - $175
100 sq. ft.$100 - $250
130 sq. ft.$130 - $325
160 sq. ft.$160 - $400
190 sq. ft.$190 - $475
220 sq. ft.$220 - $550

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Cost to Paint Ceiling by Height

While the size of the ceiling will be the biggest driving factor behind your total costs, the height of your ceiling will also play a role averaging in cost between $1 to $2.50 per sq. ft. depending on the height. The higher the ceiling, the more difficult it may be to access. Additional equipment, such as scaffolding or ladders, may be required to complete the job, and therefore there will be an increase in cost for painting high ceilings. In some instances, the price per sq. ft. may decrease slightly if you paint multiple ceilings. The table below compares the cost of painting a ceiling of three different heights.

Cost per Sq. Ft. to Paint a 8 to 9, 10 to 12, and 12 to 18 Feet Tall Ceiling (mobile)

Ceiling HeightCost per Sq. Ft. (Materials and Labor)
8 to 9 feet$1
10 to 12 feet$1.50
12 to 18 feet$2.50

Cost to Have Ceiling Painted by Ceiling Type

The type of ceiling you are painting influences the cost for painting, ranging between $1 to $4 per sq. ft. There are so many different types of ceilings ranging from flat standard to vaulted ceilings with exposed beams, all of which differ in their characteristics, style, and appearance. Some ceilings can be more difficult to paint than others due to their height and texture. Therefore, you can expect to pay a higher cost. The chart below highlights some of the different types of ceilings and their respective costs, followed by subsections explaining each type.

Cost per Sq. Ft. to Paint a Flat, Acoustic, Popcorn, Cathedral, and Vaulted Ceiling (mobile)

Type of CeilingCost per Sq. Ft. (Materials and Labor)
Flat$1 - $2.50
Acoustic$1 - $3
Popcorn$2 - $3.50
Cathedral$2 - $4
Vaulted$2 - $4

Flat Ceiling Paint

Painting a flat ceiling will cost you anywhere between $1 and $2.50 per sq. ft. A flat ceiling can give a room an elegant appearance and blends seamlessly into the walls. It reflects the natural light more readily on sunny days due to how the paint is applied.

There is a lot of prep work required before a flat ceiling is painted. If there are any small cracks, holes, or minor damage, they need to be filled. Once dry, it must be sanded before a base coat is used to cover the repairs.

Painting Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

Acoustic ceilings are secondary ceilings that are hung below the main ceiling. Over time, water stains, smoke, or other airborne chemicals may get stuck on the ceiling tiles, making them look dirty. When this happens, homeowners often decide to repaint the ceiling tiles that look worn without replacing the whole construction. Painting an acoustic ceiling costs around $1 to $3 per sq. ft. Painting an acoustic ceiling tile provides a quick, affordable change to the interior look of a room. Typically, only the grid rails are painted, while the tiles are replaced with a new color. You can paint the ceiling tiles; however, this may void the ceiling guarantee.

Paint Popcorn Ceiling

The cost to paint a popcorn ceiling averages between $2 and $3.50 per sq. ft. Also referred to as cottage cheese and acoustic ceiling, a popcorn ceiling features a textured look and feels similar to popped kernels. It is sprayed onto the surface and was a very popular option throughout much of the 20th century. Many home buyers today find the style out of date and unattractive. Popcorn ceilings present some challenges when looking to paint them. You can expect to pay more than the cost for a flat ceiling. The texture on the ceiling means more surface area to cover with more labor required. The process is complex and requires specific tools.

Paint Cathedral Ceiling

You can expect to pay around the same cost to paint a cathedral ceiling as a vaulted ceiling, ranging anywhere between $2 to $4 per sq. ft. Cathedral ceilings and vaulted ceilings are terms often used interchangeably; however, they are different. Cathedral ceilings are defined by their symmetry, featuring two equal sloping sides that meet at a higher point in the middle and often conform to the shape of the roof. Regardless of the slope, cathedral ceilings can make a room appear larger because of the added vertical volume. Cathedral ceilings are more expensive to paint because they are more difficult, time consuming, and require scaffolding.

Paint Vaulted Ceiling

The cost to paint a vaulted ceiling is higher, ranging anywhere between $2 and $4 per sq. ft. A vaulted ceiling extends upward from the walls to a centre, creating a volume of space overhead. While they first originated back in churches, they have now started to appear in traditional and modern homes. Vaulted ceilings can take advantage of otherwise wasted roof space and create a larger dramatic room volume, making your home appear larger than it is. Painting this type of ceiling can have different results based on the shade and color of the paint. Deeper colors give this ceiling a lower appearance, while lighter shades create the illusion of even more space. The cost for painting vaulted ceilings is quite high due to the need for scaffolding, and the process requires more labor and time to paint.

Price to Paint Ceiling by Room

Painting a ceiling is a great way to add a bold design statement to any room in your home, averaging between $50 and $2,000 for labor and materials. You can expect to pay less for painting smaller ceilings in the home, such as the bathroom, compared to a full basement ceiling. While classic white ceiling paint is a go-to for homeowners, colours are becoming a popular option. The chart below highlights common rooms/locations in the home and their cost of painting, followed by subsections explaining each.

Cost to Paint the Ceiling in a 50 Sq. Ft. Bathroom, 150 Sq. Ft. Kitchen, 200 Sq. Ft. Bedroom, 340 Sq. Ft. Living Room, 400 Sq. Ft. Garage, and a 1,000 Sq. Ft. Basement (mobile)

RoomAverage SizeCost (Labor and Materials)
Bathroom50 sq. ft.$50-$125
Kitchen150 sq. ft.$150-$375
Bedroom200 sq. ft.$200-$500
Living Room340 sq. ft.$340-$850
Garage400 sq. ft.$400-$1,000
Basement1,000 sq. ft.$1,000-$2,500

Paint Bathroom Ceiling

The average cost to paint a bathroom ceiling ranges between $50 and $125. This price fluctuates depending on the size of the bathroom, how many coats of bathroom ceiling paint, and whether it is part of a larger interior home paint project. The average size of a bathroom is 40 to 70 sq. ft. In most instances, companies will charge a minimum fee of $150 or more, regardless of how small the bathroom is. It is recommended to use moisture-resistant, semi-gloss paint for the ceiling before as it makes your ceiling stand out while also protecting it from mildew and mold growth.

Paint Kitchen Ceiling

The average cost to paint a kitchen ceiling ranges between $150 and $375. This price fluctuates depending on the size of the kitchen and how many coats of paint are required. Painting your kitchen ceiling helps draw the eyes upward or bring your ceilings down. It is a nice way to give your kitchen a burst of color. While most opt for a more subtle colour like ivory or white for the kitchen ceiling, other colors are becoming more popular.

Paint Bedroom Ceiling

You can expect to pay anywhere between $200 and $500 to paint your bedroom ceiling. The cost of the project is directly influenced by the size of the room and the type of paint. It is becoming more popular among homeowners to paint the walls and ceilings the same color. A darker color that matches the walls makes the bedroom feel cozier and smaller. Opting for a lighter color for the walls and ceilings helps open up a room and create more depth.

Paint Living Room Ceiling

The average cost to paint a living room ceiling ranges anywhere between $224 and $850. The living room is the main area in your home where you spend a good amount of time. You want to make sure your space is cozy. While white and light options are always a great choice, a living room that feels empty or contains too much white can benefit from a painted ceiling.

Paint Garage Ceiling

The average cost to paint a garage ceiling ranges between $400 and $1,000. Most homeowners forget about their garage when it comes to painting their home, but they play a special role in housing cars, equipment, workbenches, and so much more. No matter what your garage is used for, odds are you want it to look good. The process of painting a garage ceiling is very similar to that of a home. However, before the painting process can begin, a garage needs to be cleaned very well. Because they are often left unfinished, garage ceilings tend to be much dirtier than walls in your home, accumulating dust, dirt, and stains that need to be removed.

Paint a Basement Ceiling

The cost to paint a basement ceiling ranges between $1,000 and $2,500, depending on the square footage. While the process for exposed ceilings is the same as the rest, you can expect to pay more for covering exposed beams, ductwork, or electrical. The prep work and varying types of materials cause an increase in price. Covering an exposed basement ceiling is a popular way to blend the exposed electrical work, ducts, and beams.

Ceiling Paint Prices

The average cost of a gallon of paint ranges between $20 and $70. One gallon of paint typically covers 350 to 400 sq. ft. of ceiling for one coat of paint. There are two main types of paint for ceilings: ceiling paint and regular latex paint. Both types of paint are very similar to each other in that they are both interior wall paints, but the differences include their viscosity, composition, and cost. The chart below highlights the two different kinds of paint and their costs, followed by an explanation of each.

Cost per Gallon of Ceiling and Latex Paint (mobile)

Type of PaintCost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Ceiling Paint$20 - $60
Latex Paint$20 - $70

Ceiling Paint

The cost of ceiling paint ranges between $20 and $60 per gallon, which is highly dependent on the brand and type. Ceiling paint is formulated specifically for ceilings in that it helps to hide all imperfections and is designed so that light doesn’t reflect on its irregularities. Ceiling paint has a higher viscosity than latex paint, so it doesn’t splash and splatter and dries quicker. The next consideration is the gloss of the paint. Ceiling paint has the flattest, most matte finish of any paint. Paints that are glossy or eggshell can reflect too much on the ceiling. Lastly, texture is another factor that should be considered. Ceiling paint can better cover this texture smoothly in one coat, while a latex paint may require more effort.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is designed to be used on any interior surface and ranges in price between $20 and $70 per gallon depending on the brand, colour, texture, and type. While latex paint can be used on the ceilings, it may not always be the best choice, which is why specific ceiling paint exists. If rolled on the ceiling, latex paint is likely to drip or splatter all over the room. Latex paint is thinner than ceiling paint, so you will need two or more coats of standard latex paint on ceilings to hide stains and discolorations. Compared to ceiling paint, latex paint is a lot more flexible, coming in various finishes, colours, and hues to create many different designs and patterns of all types. Wall paint is designed to be more durable and cleaned using soap and water without any damage.

Cost to Paint a Ceiling Labor Only

The average cost to paint a ceiling is between $150 and $350. Approximately 40% ($60 to $140) of the final costs are made up of materials, and the other 60% ($90 to $210) made up of labor. A professional painter has the skill, knowledge, and equipment to provide a truly finished look to any paint job. A painter will charge around $40 to $60 per hour, depending on the location, project, season, and labor costs. In areas with a higher cost of living, you can expect to pay up to $70 per hour.

The process of painting a ceiling is a fairly straightforward process, similar to painting the walls. The differences are mostly in the height of the ceiling and any potential texture. If the ceiling is high enough, a long-handled roller or scaffolding may be required. If the ceiling is smooth, a standard nap roller is used. Otherwise, a roller with a longer nap of ½- to ¾-inch is recommended. The paint is generally rolled onto the ceiling, beginning in a corner and moving in long, overlapping strokes. If necessary, a brush may be used to touch up any difficult-to-reach corners or edges. Once the paint is applied, a clean roller is used to smooth out the paint and create an even surface. At this time, the ceiling is checked to make sure the coverage is even, and no areas with stains bleed through. Most ceilings only require one coat of paint. However, for painting over a dark color or excessive stains, two coats may be necessary with a thorough drying in between.

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Standard Ceiling Paint Color

The most popular and most frequently used color for ceilings is flat, true white. That is not the only color that may be used on the ceiling, though. Many people treat their ceiling as a fifth wall and paint it in a coordinating or contrasting shade to the rest of the room.

The key is to remember that the ceiling is directly above you and influences how the room looks and feels. Painting the ceiling a dark color can make the room feel dark or closed in.

Many colors work well on the ceiling as long as you consider the height of the ceiling and the rest of the room’s colors. Warm colors often work well on tall ceilings because they visually contrast and make the ceiling appear closer and the room cozier. For example, using a burnt orange on the ceiling in a room with chocolate brown walls makes a warm glow in the room, while a bright white ceiling may have too much contrast.

For low ceilings, it is best to stick to light, cool colors because these make the ceiling seem farther away. Very light shades of blue are popular on the ceiling, being reminiscent of the sky.

However, no hard and fast rules for the ceiling exist. The color is entirely up to the homeowner’s taste. Try a sample of the color on the ceiling for a few days before committing to make sure it will work in your space.

Spray Basement Ceiling Black

The average cost to paint your ceiling black runs between $1,000 and $3,200 for a 1,000 sq. ft. ceiling. Painting your ceiling black blends the ceiling components, such as the beams, electrical, and duct work and makes the ceiling look lower without sacrificing any space. The downfall to black paint on the ceiling is that it can make the space appear a lot smaller than it is. Another issue is that once you paint it black, it is tough to repaint it in any other colour. It is a good idea to consider painting your ceiling white over black for these reasons.

Prep Ceiling for Painting

Like any paint job, some preparation needs to be done before the ceiling can be painted. The ceiling should be clean and dry. While some minor stains can be covered with paint, it is important to solve the cause first. For example, water stains may be caused by a leak in the roof. That leak should be fixed before painting the ceiling. In a bathroom, mildew stains may be caused by poor ventilation. Fixing the ventilation by adding a bathroom fan and then killing the mildew means you can cover the stains safely with a fresh coat of paint.

In the event of nicotine stains, clean them with either a magic eraser, a mixture of vinegar and water, or rubbing alcohol. Keep in mind that it may not be possible to remove all the stains. This is one reason why ceiling paint is so effective. It is capable of covering any remaining discolorations.

After cleaning the ceiling, make sure that it is completely dry. Remove any molding from the walls where they meet the ceiling and as much furniture from the room as possible. Place drop cloths on the floor and any remaining furnishings. Tape off the walls where they meet the ceiling and any molding or casing that cannot be removed.

Close-up of a Professional Painting the Ceiling's Corners

Rules for Painting Ceilings

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to painting ceilings. However, some guidelines can help homeowners make decisions. Some do’s when it comes to painting ceilings: follow the wall colours, cut the colour strength by half for ceilings, and stick to a palette to make sure the colors are not overwhelming or boring. Some of the dont’s to painting ceilings: don’t ignore your tray ceilings and don’t saturate textured ceilings with color as color draws more to the ceiling, which can be very overwhelming to the eye. While these are just general guidelines, they don’t always have to be followed. The structure and design of your room may allow you to break some of these guidelines and still end up with a beautiful space.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Paint Walls and Ceiling

The average cost to paint a room's walls and ceilings average between $300 and $1,000 per room, depending on the size. Fresh painting can tremendously alter or enhance the mood and appearance of a room. It is the easiest and quickest way to give your home an upgrade without spending a ton of money, time, or effort. Most homes follow a cohesive color design through the home, so it is not uncommon to paint the entirety of a home interior at one time.

Paint Crown Molding

Painting crown molding tends to run $1 to $6 per linear foot, including labor and materials. Crown molding is a decorative trim that adds interest to the area where the top of a window meets the wall or lines the area where the wall meets the ceiling. Painting the crown molding provides an instant home facelift. When painting crown molding, if the ceiling is high such as 10 to 12 feet, then the cost to paint the crown molding is at the higher end.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal and Painting

The price for removing a popcorn ceiling averages $1 to $2 per sq. ft. The average homeowner spends around $1,700. Most homeowners spend between $900 and $2,500 on the project. After the popcorn ceiling is removed, the job does not end there. You also have to consider the costs of new paint, increasing the cost of the project. For simply repainting the new ceiling, prices range from $50 to $2,000.

High Gloss Ceiling

Adding gloss to the ceiling may enhance any existing light in a very dim room, making the room appear brighter. Ceiling paint does not come in high gloss, so a latex-based interior paint should be used. This may necessitate more cleanup and more coats of paint, raising the cost of the project to closer to $250 for a 10 x 12-foot ceiling.

Paint Ceiling Trim

Painting the trim in your home provides an instant facelift and revives an older home’s appearance. It helps to instantly brighten a dark room and give the space a more modern or visually appealing appearance. The average cost to paint trim ranges from $800 to $1,500, with the average homeowner spending around $900 to paint the ceiling trim in a 1,500 sq. ft. house. The cost to paint interior trim is about the same price as ceiling trim. However, for areas that may require greater intricacy, you can expect to pay more per linear foot.

Drywall Ceiling Repair

Most contractors charge around $100 to $250 for small drywall ceiling repairs. Extensive repairs or repairs made on vaulted ceilings could cost anywhere from $400 to $700. The most common cause of drywall ceiling damage is from water leaks on upper floor levels. For example, if you have a bathroom with a leak on the second floor, the ceiling on the first floor may become damaged by prolonged exposure to the water. Before repainting a ceiling, the damaged drywall should be repaired. Repairing your drywall before painting is essential. Repair cracks, holes, or dents in your drywall for a smoother paint application that lasts. These repairs ensure that the outside elements remain where they belong. This also reduces exposure to outdoor air due to holes and cracks that can affect your home’s energy efficiency.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Empty rooms are easier to paint and may cost less because less preparation is required. Emptying the room yourself may save you additional fees.
  • Cathedral and vaulted ceilings may cost 50% more than lower ceilings because they are more difficult and time-consuming to paint.
  • Skylights may also increase the cost of the project because they may need to be taped off to keep them clean.
  • Painting a ceiling can be a DIY project, but you will need to purchase many supplies such as brushes, rollers, paint, drop cloths, and masking tape, which can add up. It is recommended to hire a professional painter to get the job done quicker and without any mistakes. Some common DIY mistakes include not covering all surfaces, uneven coating, under or over thinning of paint, and not removing old paint or peeling surfaces before painting. If you are painting the walls as well as the ceiling, paint the ceiling first. Once dry, tape it off so that the walls can be painted.
  • It is important to get at least three written estimates for work before selecting a professional company. You want to make sure that your scope of work is in line with their experience based on previous references and want to make sure that you are dealing with a reputable company.
  • Location is a factor that influences the cost of painting a ceiling. Some painters have a travel feel if you live outside of their range. This additional cost usually averages around $50.


  • How much should I charge to paint a ceiling?

The average charge to paint a ceiling is between $150 and $350, depending on size.

  • How much does it cost to paint a 12 x 12-foot ceiling?

The average cost to paint a 12 x 12-foot ceiling is around $250.

  • How much does it cost to paint a ceiling in a room?

Depending on the size of the room in your home, you can expect to pay between $50 and $2,500.

  • How much does it cost to paint a room with high ceilings?

The height of the ceiling is a factor influencing the total cost of the job. You can expect to pay between $1.25 and $2.00 per sq. ft. depending on the height of the ceiling.

  • How much does it cost to pay a painter to paint a room?/li>

Depending on the labor cost, season, location, and the specific project, it costs around $40 to $60 per hour for a standard painting job. Painters in areas with a higher cost of living may charge up to $70 per hour.