Living Area Painting Cost

How much does it cost to paint a living room?

As one of the most commonly used rooms in the house, the look of the living room can set the mood. The color definitely plays a part depending on whether you prefer the warm or cool look. In this scenario, we will assume a size of 12' x 18' as an average living room. This living room shall include the basic furnishing such as armchairs, 3 seater sofas, a television, coffee table, etc. The ceiling (assuming 10 feet high) will also need to be painted. Painting this area can cost between $370 and $950.

Cost breakdown

The average costs and materials associated with this project include:

  • Cleaning and preparing - for a fully detailed job, you should remove all the vent grilles and take down picture frames or artwork (if any). These works can be easily done on your own, and will save the painters some time and effort. All the furniture should be pushed to the middle of the room and covered with a drop cloth to avoid any paint marks. You may need multiple drop cloths and they can be found at Home Depot for about $10 to $17 per piece depending on the quality and brand. You may also need painter?s tape which cost between $5 and $7 per 60 yards.
  • Primer 1 - An all purpose primer 1 cost between $20 and $25 per gallon. For a living area this size, you will need between 4 to 5 gallons of paint ($80 to $125). It is recommended to use primers 1 as it  increases the durability of the paint.
  • A similar amount of paint will be required for the living room. The cost for a gallon of paint will range between $25 and $50 depending on the brand used, which will cost anywhere between $100 and $500 if you choose to use 2 coats of paint.
  • You will need the basic tools such as brushes, rollers and trays to start the paint job. Depending on the quality of the materials (of course the better quality ones will cost more), it ranges between $20 and $30 for a complete set of supplies including spares.
  • Labor - An average rate for a painter is around $50 per hour. Assuming it takes approximately 7 hours to paint the living room, labor will cost between $140 and $245. It may require 2 days to get the job done as it is necessary to wait for the paint to dry properly between coats.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • Accent Walls are getting more popular in homes these days. You may only need half a gallon of primer 1 and paint depending on the size of the wall you choose. The cost of materials ranges between $45 and $75 while the labor charges for a single accent wall ranges between $75 and $125. However, if you choose to paint the whole living area at once (i.e. and not the accent wall alone), the painter may absorb the labor charges for the particular wall.

Additional considerations and costs

  • DIY may cost you between $225 and $700 depending on the number of coats you prefer. While it is a lot cheaper to DIY, you may lose out on the warranty which can range between 1 to 3 years. For a paint job this size, it is recommended to get a professional as they generally do a better job, and the warranty will come in handy as this area may be susceptible to damage (paint chipping etc.)
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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 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

Cost to paint a living room 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
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Augusta, GA
-13%
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%
Columbia, SC
-10%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Corona, CA
+19%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Jamestown, ND
-29%
Jersey City, NJ
+23%
Knoxville, TN
+10%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lexington, KY
+1%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Lubbock, TX
-22%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Nashville, TN
+21%
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%
Raleigh, NC
-3%
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
+23%

Labor cost in your zip code

Methodology and sources