Room Painting Cost

How much does it cost to paint a room?

One of the simplest ways to improve the look of any room is to give it a fresh coat of paint, and it is also one of the most popular of all the DIY home remodeling projects too. Regardless of the size or condition of the room, however, there are some standard steps and materials required for all interior painting jobs.

Most experts suggest that the homeowner always use "brand name paints" in order to allow for single-coat coverage. This saves a great deal of both time and money. The same is recommended about house painting supplies as well, including roller covers, primer, and fillers.

For this discussion, we will be considering the materials and costs for painting a 12'x12' bedroom, which averages between $200 and $400. Because it is such a simple project we will look at it strictly in terms of a DIY activity.

Cost breakdown

The average costs and materials associated with this project include:

  • Primer 1 - almost all paint jobs will benefit from an initial coat of primer 1. If the new paint is a paler shade than the existing paint, the primer 1 is fundamental to getting the best results possible. The best brands are available for $8 to $10 per gallon, and this project would require at least two cans, and three if the ceiling and moldings are included;
  • Paint - there are dozens of quality brands available, and for a room in the size described it will require two full gallons to cover the walls. The better paints will cost between $30 and $50 per gallon, and will come as flat, semi-gloss, or glossy finish. Many of the finer brands also sell small "sample" containers to facilitate the selection process; and
  • Supplies - brushes, roller covers 2, paint trays, caulk 3, paint tray liners 4, rollers, tape, spackle 5 or fill, drop cloths, and sand paper 6 are common tools put to use by a painter. Just like the paint to be used for the project, the better the quality the supplies, the better the end results. If you really need to cut costs it is best to do so where less significant items are concerned, such as drop cloths and paint trays. Generally, the better the brush and roller, the better the results. A good all-around paint brush will cost between $15 and $20 dollars, and reusable and lint free roller covers 2 average at $4.50 each.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • Updating moldings and re-caulking - while you are planning a painting project it might be a good time to consider upgrading or repairing moldings that may have become cracked, warped, or unappealing. A room in the size indicated could have baseboard, ceiling trim, and even thresholds completed for less than $200.

    Additional considerations and costs

    • Hiring the Professionals - if you don't have the time or the inclination to tackle a painting project on your own, you can always hire professional painters to do the work. They will charge on an hourly basis, or will bid on the job. Standard rates for a room in the size indicated should run no higher than $200 to $400 in labor, without materials included. It might be a good idea to wait until the "off season" in your area as many painters will offer discounted rates during their slower months.
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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
    2 Roller covers: Material placed over a roller frame, used to absorb paint and apply it to a large flat surface
    3 Caulk: 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
    4 Liners: A covering, usually made of vinyl, for the walls and floor of a swimming pool, used to keep the water in and protect the pool's surface.
    5 Spackle: A paste, composed of gypsum plaster, glue, and water, used to repair holes and cracks in plaster before painting or wallpapering
    6 Sand paper: Paper or cloth strip with coated abrasive glued to one side, used for smoothing surfaces, removing materials from surfaces, or making surfaces rougher

    Cost to paint a room varies greatly by region (and even by zipcode). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

    Labor cost by city and zipcode

    Compared to national average
    Albuquerque, NM
    Atlanta, GA
    Austin, TX
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Bradenton, FL
    Bronx, NY
    Brooklyn, NY
    Buffalo, NY
    Charlotte, NC
    Chicago, IL
    Cincinnati, OH
    Cleveland, OH
    Columbus, OH
    Dallas, TX
    Dayton, OH
    Denver, CO
    Detroit, MI
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Fort Worth, TX
    Frisco, TX
    Garland, TX
    Glendale, AZ
    Houston, TX
    Indianapolis, IN
    Jacksonville, FL
    Jersey City, NJ
    Kansas City, MO
    Las Vegas, NV
    Los Angeles, CA
    Louisville, KY
    Mesquite, TX
    Miami, FL
    Milwaukee, WI
    Naperville, IL
    Nashville, TN
    New York, NY
    Omaha, NE
    Orlando, FL
    Philadelphia, PA
    Phoenix, AZ
    Portland, OR
    Richmond, VA
    Riverside, CA
    Rochester, MN
    Sacramento, CA
    Saint Louis, MO
    San Antonio, TX
    San Diego, CA
    San Francisco, CA
    San Jose, CA

    Labor cost in your zipcode

    Methodology and sources