House Painting Cost

The average price of painting a home interior is $6,900.

In this guide

Cost Considerations
Planning
Colors
Measurements
Working with an Interior Decorator
Prep work
Primer
Paints
Parts of the house
Labor
Cleaning and Maintenance
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Additional Considerations and Costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to paint the whole house interior?

Painting the interior of your home can give it a fresh new look. People paint their interiors to revive tired or dirty walls, match a new interior design, brighten a dark room, or to visually change the scope of the area. Because many interiors follow what’s known as a “color story,” or a cohesive color design throughout the home, it’s not uncommon to paint the entirety of a home interior at one time.

The average-size home in the United States is around 2,300 square feet, while the average cost of interior painting ranges from $2-$5 per square foot, with most homeowners paying around $3. This makes the cost of painting a home interior $6,900 on average in the US.

Cost Considerations

There are several factors that go into determining the final cost of the project. In addition to average home size, you may also find that costs can vary depending on:

  • Type of paint: higher quality paints will cost more.
  • Number of coats: some colors will require multiple coats of paint.
  • Texture of the walls: highly textured walls may require special equipment, which can raise costs.
  • Condition of the walls: painters may patch holes, remove wallpaper, or put up drywall 1 before painting, all of which can impact costs.
  • Room being painted: some rooms cost more to paint than others, with factors like trim, windows, and furniture playing a role.
  • Complexity of the work: murals, faux finishes, high ceilings, and other complex jobs can impact the cost.

While many painters do charge on a per square foot basis, some may also charge by the room, or by the job. This can vary depending on your scope of work.

Planning

One of the benefits of painting an entire home interior at once is the ability to create a “color story” or plan the way that the color will flow from room to room, and how to best complement each space with the color of the walls.

Even if you plan on painting your home in various shades of white or off white, there is still a fair amount of planning that should go into the project to ensure that you get the results you want. Color and tone have a powerful impact on how a room is perceived, so it’s crucial to take the time to view each room on its own and in conjunction with the rest of the space.

Colors

Color is always the first consideration when painting a home. Most paint manufacturers offer samples to try that can allow you to make a more informed decision. Because light within a room may vary from wall to wall as well as from day to night, try painting a large piece of poster board in the color or colors you are considering. Move the board from wall to wall and look at it for a minimum of 24 hours at a time in each space to make sure you like the color before committing.

Keep in mind that color can impact the way a room appears in many ways. Light colors may help brighten a darker space. Cool colors will recede visually from the eye, and make a small space appear bigger. Warm colors contract visually, which can make larger spaces appear smaller or more cozy. Combining cool and warm tones in one room - like with accent walls - can visually change the shape of a room, making rectangles look more like squares.

When you move from room to room, consider your color story, or how the colors will interact. Using complementary colors - colors that sit opposite one another on the color wheel, will create a very dramatic look in your home. Choosing analogous colors, which sit beside one another on the color wheel, creates a more subtle appearance. Monochromatic looks can also be very effective in small spaces, when you choose varying shades of one color to give variety, but without definition.

Measurements

Taking initial measurements can help you get a ballpark for the cost of having a room painted in your home. Most painters will take more detailed measurements that take into account the color and type of paint to help you determine exactly how much paint is needed.

To get basic measurements, measure the length and width of each wall you want to paint in inches. Multiply the length and height together, and divide by 144. This will give you the square footage for each wall. A gallon of paint typically covers around 400 square feet. In some cases, you may need a primer 2 first, then a single coat of paint, meaning that you may need one gallon of primer and one gallon of paint to cover 400 square feet. However, if the wall requires multiple coats, this will increase the total amount of square footage required, and therefore the amount of paint.

You can get the measurements for any ceilings the same way. Trim like moldings or window casements are measured and priced by the linear foot. Measure in inches and then divide by 12 to find the total linear feet you want to cover.

Working with an Interior Decorator

If you are unsure about what colors will work best in a space, you may wish to hire an interior decorator to help. Decorators can look at your furnishings, the size and shape of a room, and the amount of light it gets to help you determine the best shades for the space. Design services cost around $50 to $200 an hour, and can help you find the perfect colors for your home.

Prep work

Before painting can be done, a lot of preparation needs to go into each job. Some of this may be included in the painting fee, while you may be expected to take care of some of the jobs yourself before the painters arrive. These tasks include:

  • Moving furniture away from the walls
  • Covering furniture and flooring
  • Taping off adjacent surfaces
  • Removing hardware from doors or cabinets being painted
  • Filling or patching holes on the walls and sanding 3 the repair
  • Cleaning the walls

Primer

While it is entirely possible to paint over paint, some colors and types of paint do better over a primer, or a material that prepares the surface to receive the paint. If you are switching types of paint, such as going from oil to latex, the primer can help ensure that the new paint will adhere without cracking or peeling.

There are a few types of primer, and they are directly related to the type of paint you will use, as well as the surface you are painting.

Oil-based primers are good for painting on wood and work with both oil- and latex-based paints. They can help prevent stains from bleeding through the new paint. Oil-based primers cost around $30 a gallon.

Latex-based primers are good for drywall and work with latex paints. They can cover and seal small stains. Latex primers cost around $20 a gallon.

Shellac primers are good for wood, and for covering major damage from smoke or water. They can seal in the smell of smoke, as well as any staining. Shellac primers cost around $15 a gallon.

Paints

Like primers, paints come in many different varieties. This includes not only the base, such as oil, latex, or urethane, but also the quality of the paint and its finish.

Each paint manufacturer has a range of different paints, with better quality paints costing more, but giving better coverage with lower odor. Typically, each type of paint will come in a range of finishes such as:

  • Flat or Matte: a completely matte paint with no sheen or reflection. This can make the paint hard to keep clean.
  • Eggshell: eggshell has very little sheen, but with more luster than flat. It works well at hiding imperfections on the walls.
  • Satin: satin paint is the most common, everyday paint. It has a low luster, but is easier to clean than eggshell or flat.
  • Semi-gloss: semi-gloss is usually used in high traffic areas like kitchens, because it’s easier to keep clean. This paint has a fairly glossy, reflective finish.
  • High-gloss: high-gloss paint is very reflective. It’s normally reserved for trim, moldings, and doors.

There are several different brands of paint, each with its own cost range and set of colors. Typically, each brand will offer a high quality and a mid-range paint, and many colors and finishes to choose from.

Below are the most popular paint brands:

BrandCost Range per Gallon
Glidden$15-$30
Behr$15-$40
Sherwin Williams$24-$60
Valspar$30-$40
Benjamin Moore$30-$70


Parts of the house

While many people choose to have their entire home painted at once, you may also choose to have a single room painted at a time. Each room of the home will have an average cost to paint, based on the size and complexity. Make sure to measure your space to get a better idea of the costs:

RoomAverage Cost
Foyer$195
Hallways$195/each
Bathroom$279
Master Bathroom$345
Dining Room$444
Kitchen$579
Master Bedroom$693
Living Room$768
Bedroom$783
Home Office$783
Nursery$783
Basement$810
Family Room$933


Labor

This job is usually done by a professional house painter. The painter will assess the walls, clean, and make any necessary repairs or removal of old wall coverings. They will also tape off any adjacent surfaces and cover nearby furniture and floors with drop cloths. Typically, they will apply a layer of primer, then one to three coats of paint, depending on the color and coverage. Once the paint is dry, they take a final walkthrough to inspect and make any necessary touch ups.

Typically, painters charge between $2 and $5 per square foot, although they may also give blanket prices per job. Some painters may also charge by the hour, with an average range of $50 an hour, with more for specialty paint jobs.

Cleaning and Maintenance

After your walls have been painted, wait at least two weeks before attempting to clean them to allow the paint to cure. Dust your walls regularly with a soft cloth and the vacuum brush attachment on your cleaner.

Wash most grime from your walls with a soft cloth or sponge that has been rung out thoroughly and mild soapy water. You can spot clean most walls and finishes with a mixture of baking soda and water. Rub the paste onto the mark with a sponge to work it in, then wipe clean with a new cloth and clean water.

Always make sure not to rub too hard or to use an abrasive sponge or cleanser, as this may dull the finish, particularly on flat paint.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

  • You may want to have your trim, windows, and doors painted at the same time. This will add an additional $2 per linear foot of trim and $40 per window or door to the total.
  • You may also want to have your windows caulked 4, which costs around $1 extra per linear foot.
  • If you need wallpaper removed before painting, this will increase the costs. Total costs will vary depending on the type of wallpaper and its condition, but it will likely raise costs to double what they are just for the paint job.
  • Drywall repair can also be done by the painter. If necessary, this will cost between $25 and $50 an hour, depending on the level of repair.
  • If you have heavy furniture you are unable to remove yourself, this can be done for around $60 per room.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Always buy the best quality paint you can afford, whether you DIY or hire a professional. Good quality paint lasts longer, has lower odor, and may require fewer coats.
  • It will take more coats of paint and a higher cost to cover a dark-colored paint with a light color, and a light-colored paint with a very dark color.
  • If you are painting before selling, stick to neutral colors that will work with most furniture colors.
  • Interview at least three painters and get a minimum of three recent references when choosing a painter. Get the quote in writing, and make sure that they have current insurance.
  • Make sure that your quote contains everything specified, including the brand of paint, number of coats, length of the project, and any other details.
  • Make sure you confirm colors and details before work begins.
  • If you choose to DIY, make sure you tape off edges properly, smoothing the tape out to avoid bleeding. Cut in your edges first, then roll the interior for a smooth finish.
  • Some painters may have a travel fee if you live outside of their range. This usually averages around $50.
  • To save money, you can take care of some details before the painters arrive. This includes moving furniture, patching holes in the drywall, and taping off the trim.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to paint a 3 bedroom house interior?

Most interior paint jobs are priced by the square foot, at around $3/sq.ft. The average 3 bedroom house is around 1,300 square feet, making the average painting cost $3,900.

  • How much does it cost to paint the interior of a 2,500 square foot house?

The average cost per square foot is around $3, making the total for a 2,500 sq.ft. house about $7,500.

  • How do I paint the interior of my house?

Start by moving things away from the walls, cleaning the walls, and making sure they are in good condition. Tape off the trim and edges, cut in the sides with a paint brush, then roll on the interior.

  • How much do painters charge per sq. ft.?

Painters typically charge between $2 and $5 a square foot, depending on the complexity of the job. The average homeowner generally pays around $3 a foot.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Drywall: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
2 Primer: Preparatory coat applied to materials (drywall, wood, metal, etc.) before painting to ensure paint adhesion, extend paint durability, and help seal and protect the surface to be painted
3 Sanding: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)
4 Caulked: A chemical sealant used to fill in and seal gaps where two materials join, for example, the tub and tile, to create a watertight and airtight seal. The term "caulking" is also used to refer to the process of applying this type of sealant

Cost to paint the whole house varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Augusta, GA
-13%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Berkeley, CA
+39%
Boston, MA
+40%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbia, SC
-10%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Irving, TX
+10%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Katy, TX
+63%
Knoxville, TN
+10%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lexington, KY
+1%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Lubbock, TX
-22%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
New Orleans, LA
+35%
New York, NY
+77%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Portland, OR
+11%
Richmond, VA
+4%
Sacramento, CA
+8%

Labor cost in your zip code

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