Room Painting Cost

The average cost of painting a room is $400 - $800.

In this guide

Cost factors
How to measure a room
Prep work
Type of paint
Paint finishes
Choosing paint colors
Labor
Cleanup
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to paint a room?

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 and does not require a lot of time, money or effort.

Some homeowners choose to take the DIY approach while others prefer hiring a qualified expert. Though picking up the brush yourself may seem like the easier option, there are certain advantages to hiring a professional painter to paint your room. For one, professional painters have years of experience that enable them to provide quality, picture-perfect results every time. They have access to the right tools and techniques and can do the job quickly and more efficiently than the average homeowner. They can also take care of the prep work such as cleaning or repairing cracks or damages in the wall surface.

An average-sized 12’x12’ bedroom will cost around $400-$800 to paint.

Cost factors

The total cost of painting a room will depend on your location, the size of the room, the painter’s experience, the complexity of the project, and time required for completion. Textured walls and decorative finishes are typically more expensive and may cost around $2-$4 per sq.ft., labor and materials included.

How to measure a room

You can estimate the paint you would need for a room in the following way.

Consider a standard-sized 12’x12’ room with an 8 ft. ceiling, two doors, and two windows. First measure the perimeter of the room: (12+12)x2 = 48 ft.

Calculate the wall area by multiplying the perimeter with the ceiling height: 48x8 = 384 sq. ft.

Calculate the door area (assuming average-sized doors of 21 sq. ft.): 21x2 = 42 sq. ft.

Calculate the window area (assuming average-sized windows of 15 sq. ft): 15x2 = 30 sq. ft.

Calculate the total wall surface by subtracting the door area and window area from the total wall area: 384 - (42+30) = 312 sq. ft.

Generally, you can use one gallon of good quality paint for 400 sq. ft (one coat). Ideally, you will need two coats and thereby two gallons of paint for good results.

If you are painting the ceiling, you can calculate the ceiling area by multiplying the width of the room by the length of the room: 12’x12’ = 144 sq.ft. This will require around half a gallon of paint.

Prep work

Most painting jobs involve a lot of prep work such as moving furniture out of the room or to the center and covering pieces that cannot be moved with drop cloths. The floor should be covered with large drop cloths or newspaper to avoid paint splatters. The walls should be wiped down to remove all traces of dust and grease. If you skip this step, the paint will not stick properly to the walls and you may have to redo the painting. Adjacent walls, outlet covers, door knobs, and window trims should be taped off. If there are any holes or cracks in the walls, fill them up with spackling.

Priming is another important part of prep work. Priming seals the wall and provides a good base for the paint to stick to. It is especially important if you are painting newly installed drywall, changing the wall color from dark to light, or the earlier paint had a glossy finish. Priming can also cover smoke stains and prevent flashing (shiny spots on the walls) that occur when the paint is directly applied to spackling.

Types of primers

While you can repaint a room without priming the walls, priming ensures that your paint job lasts for a long time. Here are the different types of primers 1.

Type of primerProsCons

Oil-based primers ($17-$35 per gallon)

Can be used with oil and latex paints


Can be applied to many surfaces including wood (painted or bare) and metal


Prevents the tannins in wood from leaking through the top coat

 

Reduces peeling, cracking, and blistering

Slow drying


Contains high amounts of VOCs (volatile organic compounds)


Requires harsh thinners for cleanup

 

Cannot be used on masonry

Latex-based primers ($10-$32 per gallon)

Suitable for unfinished drywalls, softwood, brick, and concrete


Fast drying


Can hide minor stains from crayon or smoke

 

Easy cleanup

 

Available in low-VOC and zero-VOC formulas

Not as effective as other primers in covering stains

Shellac primers ($36-$50 per gallon)

Can be used with oil and latex paints


Highly effective in blocking severe water and smoke stains


Suitable for wood, plaster, and metal

 

Fast drying

Releases more fumes


Requires denatured alcohol for cleanup


Type of paint

Interior paints are usually classified as oil-based or latex-based paints. The below table lists the pros and cons of each type.

TypeProsCons

Oil-based paint

($29 per gallon)

Made with synthetic resins


Has good adhesion


Good stain resistance

 

Very durable

 

Provides better coverage in one coat

Takes longer to dry than latex paints


Use mineral spirits for cleanup


Have to follow special procedures for disposal

 

Not as resistant as latex paint to chalking and fading, especially if exposed to sun

 

Releases a lot of fumes

Latex-based paint

($10-$50 per gallon)

Provides long-lasting finish and gloss retention


Dries quickly


Easy to use

 

Less fumes and odors

 

Resists chalking, yellowing, and fading on sun exposure

 

Can be cleaned up easily with soap and water

Can be difficult to use on a surface that was previously painted with an oil-based paint


Causes wood grains to swell, which necessitates sanding between coats


Paint finishes

Choosing the right paint finish or sheen is as important as choosing the right paint color. Glossier paints contain more resin and fewer pigments. Fewer sheen paints contain higher levels of pigment and lesser levels of resin. If you have a bumpy wall, avoid glossy paints that will highlight the imperfections. In general, shinier paints can help small rooms look visually bigger. Paints with a soft sheen such as eggshell or satin lend a subtle finish. The following table lists the advantages and disadvantages of each finish type.

Finish TypeProsCons

Flat

($10-$45 per gallon)

Highly pigmented


Provides good coverage


Non-reflective

 

Good for hiding imperfections on the walls

 

Suitable for high-traffic areas and ceilings

Susceptible to damage


Not easy to clean

Eggshell

($17-$50 per gallon)

Easy to clean


Not as prone to damage as flat paint


Does not highlight wall imperfections

Falls between flat and satin on the luster and durability scale

Satin

($17-$50 per gallon)

Easy to clean


Durable


Suitable for high-traffic areas

Has to be applied properly. Any errors in brush strokes can be easily seen.

Semi-gloss

($30-$33 per gallon)

Durable


Suitable for rooms where there is chance for moisture or grease stains

Imperfections and application errors are easily visible

High gloss

($30-$33 per gallon)

Very durable


Easy to clean


Suitable for doors and window trims

Highlights wall imperfections


Choosing paint colors

Paint colors can have a huge effect on your moods, emotions, and well-being and of others using that space. Hence, it is very important to choose the right paint color for a room. When shopping for paint, do not pick up any color that looks good or is the latest design trend. Instead, consider the mood you want to set in your room and how the color makes you feel. Generally, warm and cozy colors impart joy and upliftment while cool and soothing colors like deep blues lend a formal, dignified appearance.

While your perception of a color may be influenced by your culture and personal experiences, there are some colors that are best suited and best avoided for spaces like bedrooms. For example, green is both warm and cool and is a popular choice for bedrooms. It pairs well with both modern and traditional interior design. Red, on the other hand, is a highly stimulating color and should be used with restraint in bedrooms. A neutral wall color palette is best if you want to use easily interchangeable bedroom furnishings and accessories in bright colors.

If you are finding it difficult to figure out which colors work well together, use the color wheel to find complementary colors (located right opposite on the wheel), split complementary colors (colors on each side of the complementary color on the wheel), and  related colors (located next to each other on the wheel).

You can choose to have your room painted with a solid coat of color or use decorative painting techniques like color washing, crackle, and ombre for a unique appearance.

Labor

Labor costs for painting can vary greatly from region to region. On an average, you can expect to pay a painter around $20-$35 per hour for painting a room. Specialty painting projects like murals may cost more and may go up to $50 per hour.

Cleanup

A major advantage of hiring a professional painter is that you don’t have to worry about cleanup. The painter will ensure that your home remains as clean as possible during painting. Unless explicitly mentioned in the contract, he will also clean up after the project is complete and dispose of debris. However, you may have to pay additional charges for using the landfill (around $20 to $50 per ton).

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • If your walls are showing signs of damage, you should include repair costs in your painting budget. Drywall repair will cost around $115-$380 per room. Other wall repair costs will be as follows: replastering ($60-$90 per hour), removing mold and mildew ($500-$30,000), filling holes ($10 per sq. ft.), sanding wood surfaces ($1.80 per sq. ft.)
  • Including trims in your painting project will cost $75-$200 per room.
  • Wallpaper removal can cost $150-$265 per room.
  • If you are thinking of including your interior doors (7’x3’) in your painting project, be prepared to pay an additional $20-$35 per door.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Paint in houses constructed 30 years ago or more may contain traces of lead.  You will need to hire a professional lead testing and removal contractor for testing the paint. This will cost you an additional $65-$240 per room.
  • If you decide to do the painting yourself, make sure you have bought the right brushes and rollers for the job. Do not skip the prep phase if you want quality results. If you are painting the entire room, paint the ceiling before the walls. Also, work from the top to the bottom as this will make it easier for you to correct any drip marks later.
  • To calculate how much paint you need for your project, you need to know the total square footage of the room and the number of coats of paint required. Online painting calculators can make the job easier.
  • You can reduce your total expense (up to $100 per room) by moving the furniture yourself.
  • Painting requires immense expertise, skill, and finesse.  You can avoid a DIY painting disaster and save your time and energy by hiring a local painter.
  • You can estimate the amount of paint you need by measuring the room before the painter comes. This will reduce his work and save you some money.
  • Ceilings with nicotine stains should be cleaned with sugar soap before painting.
  • Textured walls are more labor-intensive, which increases the total cost.
  • If you are painting a wall from a dark color to a lighter one or vice versa, be prepared to spend more on paint and labor costs.
  • Usually, painting bedrooms and living rooms tend to be costlier than painting kitchens because all of the walls are exposed rather than covered up by cabinetry. The same goes for bathrooms.
  • Most rooms require two coats of paint.
  • For deep, rich or vibrant colors such as reds, blues, oranges or purples, three or more coats may be necessary. If you buy thicker, more expensive paint, you can reduce the amount of time that will be spent on multiple coats.

FAQ

  • What colors to paint your room?

Colors can influence a person’s feelings and emotions. So when choosing colors to paint your room, it is important to focus on what mood you want to create and what colors can help you bring it to life. Do not use more than three to four colors in a room to avoid a cluttered appearance.

  • What room colors affect your mood?

Warm colors or colors in the red area of the color spectrum, for example, red, yellow, and orange, are associated with a wide range of emotions that range from warmth and comfort to anger and hostility. Cool colors or colors in the blue area of the spectrum, for example, blue, green, and purple, evoke feelings of calmness, sadness or indifference.

  • Which color is best for bedroom?

The best colors for a bedroom are cool and soothing blues, greens, and grays. Avoid high-energy colors such as deep reds.

  • How much does it cost to paint a room?

The cost to paint an average-sized bedroom (12’x12’) can range from $400-$800, labor and materials included.

  • How much do decorators charge per room?

Interior decorators usually work at an hourly rate of $50-$200 per hour. Some interior designers charge a flat rate for commercial projects, which comes to around $300 per room.

  • How much does a painter charge per room?

Most painters charge by the hour for interior painting projects. You can expect to pay around  $20-$35 per hour, depending on your location and the level of experience of the painter.

  • How much does a painter charge per square foot?

Painters usually charge by the hour ($20-$35 per hour) for interior painting jobs. Some projects may be charged at a flat rate calculated based on the square footage. A basic painting job may cost around $1.50-$3 per sq.ft, labor and materials included. Textured walls and decorative finishes are usually more expensive at $2-$4 per sq.ft.

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

Painting a standard 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house interior will cost you about $1,700-$3,600.

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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 Primers: 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 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
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Augusta, GA
-13%
Austin, TX
+13%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Chula Vista, CA
+8%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Columbia, MO
-19%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Glendale, AZ
-2%
Grand Rapids, MI
+7%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Jamestown, ND
-29%
Jersey City, NJ
+23%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lexington, KY
+1%
Liberal, KS
-44%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Nashville, TN
+21%
New Orleans, LA
+35%
New York, NY
+77%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Oxnard, CA
-1%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%

Labor cost in your zip code

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Methodology and sources