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How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Wall Mural?

Average Cost
(sketching fee, wall prep, 200 sq.ft. hand-painted indoor mural, medium amount of detail and sealant)

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How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Wall Mural?

Average Cost
(sketching fee, wall prep, 200 sq.ft. hand-painted indoor mural, medium amount of detail and sealant)

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A wall mural makes a statement and allows a homeowner to really make the space their own. They can also be a fun addition to a child’s room. A wall mural is sure to spark conversation with guests.

A popular choice is a large mural painted on an accent wall in the living room. This draws the eye and becomes a focal point in the house. The average cost to paint a wall mural ranges from $3,000-$5,000, with the average homeowner spending around $4,000 on a 200 sq.ft. hand-painted indoor mural with a medium amount of detail and sealant including sketching fee and wall preparation.

Wall Mural Painting

Wall mural painting costs
National average cost$4,000
Average range$3,000 - $5,000
Minimum cost$2,000
Maximum cost$10,000

Updated: What's new?

Wall Mural Painting Cost by Project Range

Sketching fee, hand-painted mural without much detail
Average Cost
Sketching fee, wall prep, 200 sq.ft. hand-painted indoor mural, medium amount of detail and sealant
Sketching fee, wall preparation, high detail spray-painted mural and sealant

Prep Work

Just as when painting walls a new color, prep work needs to be done before painting a mural. This involves clearing the room of furniture and accessories, or protecting them with drop cloths, and preparing the wall. The first step is cleaning the wall. Then, any cracks and holes will need to be filled. Any existing wall texture may also need to be sanded 1 off to create a smooth surface for the mural.

If the mural will be done outside, more extensive work may need to be done, especially if the mural will be painted on a porous surface such as stucco 2 or brick. Power washing is recommended and a masonry primer/sealer should be used on brick or concrete that has never been painted before. The costs for these services are not normally included in the mural bid. You can prepare the walls and area yourself, hire a painter or handyman, or work that into your artist’s bid for around $1-$2 per sq.ft.


Although it may seem that the larger a mural is, the more expensive it would be, that is not always the case. Most artists will have a size minimum of somewhere between 100 and 160 sq.ft. The price normally directly correlates to how detailed the mural is, not how large it is. A small mural with intricate details could cost more than a large mural without much detail. A mural could cover a small space on the wall of a room, an entire wall, or an entire ceiling.

Level of Detail

The more detailed and intricate a mural is, the more expensive it is. A simple mural without much detail would cost around $10 per sq.ft., whereas an intricate and detailed mural would cost around $30 per sq.ft. For a 200 sq.ft. mural, that is $2,000 for simple and $6,000 for highly detailed. Medium-level intricacy would obviously fall somewhere in between. Each artist has their own threshold for intricacy. The more colors used and design elements desired make a mural more intricate.


Each artist may have their own variation of the design process. It is a good idea to meet with an artist to tell them what you are looking for and see if their experience and style match your vision before hiring them. Ask to see a portfolio and check out references before hiring someone. It is typical for an artist to ask for a design deposit before beginning work on the project, usually around $1,500. This should cover the cost of a sketch and revisions if needed. Most artists can create a digital mock up of the design on a photo of the room before starting the painting process. You may be able to skip or modify the design process if you already have the design done yourself.

Mural Painting Techniques

There are a variety of techniques used to paint murals. Most techniques are pretty standard and will not incur an extra fee. However, more complicated techniques, such as trompe l’oeil, may cost extra.

  • Sponging is an easy technique that can add texture by using a sponge to apply paint. It is widely used in landscape murals, particularly when creating trees or skies.

Sponging technique used with pink, purple and blue colors

  • Stippling is a popular technique used in murals. It adds detail to a mural by first painting one color onto the wall, then adding another color. While the top paint is still wet, the artist will dab the wet paint to allow some of the base coat to show through. This technique could, for example, add depth to a field or meadow.
  • Faux finishes may be used to comprise an entire mural or just a part of it. An artist may create faux brick or stone, plaster 3 2, linen, or other looks.
  • Stenciling 4 is another easy technique when the artist will either tape or hold a stencil 4 on the wall and paint in the stencil 4. This is great for borders or adding letters and shapes to a mural.

Steinciling paint technique applied with an stencil

  • Antiquing is a technique that makes a mural look old. It involves mixing a color such as siena or umber with a glazing medium and brushing the mixture onto the wall when the paint is still wet.
  • Glazing is a technique that adds dimension and shading to a mural. It is done by mixing acrylic paint with a glazing liquid.
  • Trompe l’oeil is painting objects that look as realistic as a photograph and exist in three dimensions. Requesting a mural in this style will undoubtedly come with a higher price tag. Expect to pay $30 per square foot 5 or more, depending on the complexity.

Mural painted using the trompe l'oleil technique

Types of Paint

The best type of paint to use for a basic mural is acrylic. An artist can use latex paint for the underpainting base layer, as this paint is cheaper. An eggshell finish is the best choice as satin and semi-gloss would be too shiny and flat paint cannot be scrubbed. For outdoor murals, or those on stone or brick, a high quality acrylic, mixed with an acrylic polymer is the best bet. Spray paint may also be used. A clear coat or graffiti seal may be needed on some murals. The price for applying a clear coat or seal is about $2 per sq.ft. Faux finishes are usually created by mixing a glaze with paint to create the desired look. A glaze will cost about $14 per pint. It is also important to use high quality paints that will not fade quickly.


Sure, it could be fun to try to paint a mural yourself, but chances are it will look much better painted by a professional. They have the training and talent needed to create beautiful art for your home.

The time it will take to complete a mural will depend on many things, including the size, subject, if scaffolding 6 or a lift will be needed, and if there are obstacles that need to be worked around. Most murals can be completed in 40 hours (one week). Smaller, uncomplicated murals will take less time and large, complicated murals will take more time. Most artists will have a set rate per square foot 5. On occasion, an artist may charge per hour. Expect to pay between $50 and $70 per hour if an artist charges an hourly rate. The cost per square foot 5 is generally between $10 and $30 depending on the complexity of the design. Pricing includes all materials, but if lifts or scaffolding 6 are needed, that will add on extra costs. The cost to rent a lift for a day is about $120.

It is possible to save some money by hiring an artist who is still in school or just starting out. Their rates could be discounted in order to build their experience and portfolio. Just be sure that the artist has enough experience and will do a good job. Prices will also vary depending on the part of the country you live in. A mural in a New York City apartment will cost more than in a house in Houston, TX. Hiring a muralist from out of state will also be more expensive, as travel costs would need to be paid for as well.

Painting Process

Each artist will have their own variation on the mural painting process, but here are the basic steps:

1. Prepare the surface and area to be painted. Do this yourself, hire someone, or have the artist do it.

2. The artist will then prepare the design. There are a few methods of doing this. They could simply sketch the design on the wall, use a projector to trace the design, or use a grid. The grid method is done by drawing a grid over the design on paper and then drawing a grid on the wall in chalk or watercolor pencil. Once the grid is made, the image can be outlined on the wall.

3. Next, the artist will prepare the paint and supplies. Using the proper size brushes will save on time. They will also prepare paint trays and soapy water for cleaning brushes to have ready when needed. Self-priming latex paint is great for a base coat and then water-based acrylics are usually used to create the small details and pops of color.

4. The artist is now ready to paint the mural. It is important to have good ventilation when painting to ensure the paint fumes can be released–chat with the artist about a ventilation plan. Several layers of paint will be needed to create the mural. Time will be needed between coats to let them dry.

5. Lastly, the artist will step back every once in a while and make sure everything is looking great from a distance. If something does not look right, it can be painted over. When the mural is done it may need to be sealed so that it is protected from the elements. This is especially important with an outdoor mural. After all is done and the mural is completely dry, it is time to clean up, uncover furniture, and move everything back.

Hand-painted vs Spray-painted Wall Mural

Graffiti artists are in high demand. Creating art with an aerosol is a rare talent and it will cost more than a traditional mural. A low-detail mural that includes one or two colors of traditional graffiti will cost about $30 per sq.ft. A medium-detail mural that includes full color graphics will cost about $50 per sq.ft. A high-detail mural that includes photorealism will cost about $75 per sq.ft.

Cost$20 per sq.ft. for medium detail$50 per sq.ft. for medium detail
AestheticsTraditional feelTrendy “street art” vibe
Indoor/OutdoorBoth indoor and outdoorCan be both indoor and outdoor, but more commonly outdoor
Ease of finding an artistEasyDifficult to find someone trained to create a spray-painted mural

Outdoor vs Indoor Mural

There are several differences between outdoor and indoor murals. An outdoor mural will be exposed to the elements and need to be protected accordingly. It is important to make sure the surface is in good shape before painting the mural, as this will help protect it in the long run. When the mural is finished, it will need to be sealed. Professional sealing will cost about $2 per sq.ft. The artist will also need to be mindful of choosing paints that are made for use outdoors, on potentially porous surfaces, and which are resistant to fading in sunlight.

Although outdoor murals take more prep work and need to be sealed, they are often not as detailed as indoor murals. Even though an outdoor mural will likely be larger and cover more area, it may not necessarily cost more than an indoor mural. An exception would be an outdoor mural using spray paint; this type of mural does cost more. If an outdoor mural is sealed properly, it will not need much additional maintenance. The exception, however, is if the outdoor mural is in a public place–then it is a good idea to regularly check for graffiti and remove it if necessary.

Wall vs Ceiling Mural

Simply enough, a wall mural is painted on a wall and a ceiling mural is painted on a ceiling. A ceiling mural is more difficult to paint and will therefore cost more. Additional equipment, such as scaffolding 6 or a lift are also usually required. The same paint is used for both wall and ceiling murals. Spray-paint is rarely used on ceilings. Sealing is rarely required for a ceiling mural since no one should be touching it.

Some artists will charge extra per hour for working under extraneous circumstances. Others may charge more per sq.ft. Equipment rental charges will also be accrued. It will cost about $120 a day to rent a lift or about $50 a day to rent scaffolding 6. If the equipment is needed for a long period of time, weekly or monthly rates would likely be a better deal.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Sealant and Protecting Coat

Outdoor murals definitely need a sealant applied to protect the painting from the elements. There are cases when an indoor mural could also benefit from a sealant or protective top coat. For example, if the mural will be in a very sunny location or if people or objects might regularly brush up against the mural. Expect to pay an additional $1-$2 per sq.ft. for the application of a sealer or clear coat.

Adding Texture to the Paint

Texture may be added to the paint to create dimension and character. An artist may use this technique to accentuate certain parts of the mural. The artist will either purchase pre-mixed textured paint or packages of powdered texture to add to regular paint. Pre-mixed textured paint starts at about $50 per gallon and powdered texture starts at about $5 per 10 ounces. This can create the look of stone, sand 1, or other faux finish. This is a popular method used in trompe l’oeil murals.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Permits and licenses are generally not required for murals, especially those on private property. The only exception would be if the mural will be located in a public place.
  • This project can be DIY, but the best option is hiring someone who is trained. Painting a mural not only takes artistic talent, but also knowledge of types of paint, wall preparation, technique, and sealing. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, be sure you do your research before starting.
  • Sun exposure is a big consideration when choosing the right paint. Some colors even hold up better in sunny environments than others. The artist should consult paint charts to choose colors and brands that have good light fastness ratings. The most stable colors are earth tones and black. Blues and violets tend to fade after 5-10years.
  • Alternatives to a painted wall mural include a premade mural that can be applied to the wall like traditional wallpaper, a wall decal, or a peel-and-stick mural.
  • Be sure to ask to see a portfolio and ask for references before hiring a painter. It is appropriate to have a consultation with an artist to make sure your visions match.
  • The weather will need to be taken into consideration when painting a mural. This is especially important for outdoor murals. It is not a good idea to paint in extremely cold or hot conditions. Temperatures should ideally be above 45°F, not only when the paint is applied, but also for a few hours after when the paint is drying. Paint will also dry too fast and potentially crack on a hot day when temperatures soar to 90°F or 100°F.
  • Be aware that accessibility affects cost. There will be additional charges either per hour or per foot 5 for painting on ceilings or around obstacles. If special equipment such as lifts of scaffolding 6 are needed, those will be extra charges as well.
  • Chat with the artist about the types of paint they are using. It is important to use high-quality paint that will not peel or chip.
  • Proper maintenance of a mural starts before the painting begins. Proper wall preparation and cleaning is essential. Using quality paints is also important, as well as using a sealant, varnish, or other top coat. Be sure to ask the artist about proper cleaning and maintenance techniques for the mural when it is finished. These will differ depending on what type of paint was used.


  • What kind of paint is used for a wall mural?

Artists will often use latex paints for underpaintings and then use acrylics for the fine details.

  • What is a wall mural painting?

A wall mural painting is a large piece of permanent, original artwork that is painted directly on a wall, ceiling, or other surface.

  • How do you prepare a wall for a mural?

Walls need to be cleaned, holes need to be filled, the wall should be smoothed, and the area should be primed if not using self-priming paint for a base coat.

  • How long does it take to paint a wall mural?

An average mural should take about a week (40 hours) to paint. Small, uncomplicated murals will take less time and large, complicated murals will take more time.

  • Can you paint on walls with acrylic?

Yes. Acrylic paint is most commonly used for the fine details of a mural.

  • How much does it cost to paint a wall mural?

Wall murals generally cost between $10 and $30 per sq.ft., depending on complexity.

  • What is the difference between a painting and a mural?

A painting is generally done on a canvas and then hung on the wall. A mural is painted directly on the wall.

  • How do you paint a mural on a brick wall?

First, clean the wall with a hose or power washer and then with a sponge and liquid cleaning solution. Once that is dry, the wall needs to be primed. When that is dry, the mural painting process can begin

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Sanding 1 Sanded: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)
glossary term picture Stucco 2 Stucco: A type of durable plaster finish made of aggregates, a binder, and water (traditionally Portland cement, sand, and water) used on masonry, walls, ceilings, and decorative moldings
glossary term picture Plaster 3 Plaster: A paste composed of sand, water, and either lime, gypsum, or cement, which forms a smooth hard surface on walls, ceilings, and other structures upon drying
4 Stenciling: A design or pattern created by forcing paint or ink onto a flat surface using a thin sheet of perforated material (also called a stencil)
glossary term picture Footing 5 Foot: A support for the foundation of a house that also helps prevent settling. It is typically made of concrete reinforced with rebar, but can also be made of masonry or brick. It is usually built under a heavier part of the house like a wall or column, to distribute the weight of the house over a larger area.
glossary term picture Scaffolding 6 Scaffolding: A temporary structure used during construction/maintenance/painting projects to raise and support workers (or one worker), required materials, and equipment

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

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.
Beautiful painted wall mural in a modern-style living room
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Cost to paint a wall mural varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.