What is the average cost to paint a room? – Forbes Advisor


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Painting a room is one of the fastest and easiest ways to transform a space. The cost of painting a room will vary depending on whether you plan to paint it yourself or hire a professional to do the job. It costs on average $1.50 to $3.50 painting an interior wall.

Average costs increase to $3 to $4 per square foot whether the project includes woodwork or ceilings. Costs can be affected by room layout, wall heights, existing wall colors, your geographic location and more. To prime and paint a standard 400 square foot room, the average cost to $2.5 per square foot is $1,000 total.

When planning to paint a room, you also need to consider prep work, which includes obtaining materials, gluing walls, and preparing supplies. While doing the job yourself undeniably lowers the average cost of painting a room, the expense of hiring a professional painter can be worth it when you factor in the time and effort you can save.

Average cost to paint a room

When considering painting a room, the best way to gauge average painting costs is to first measure the square footage of the space. One gallon of interior paint can cover up to 400 square feet of space. Based on this, an economical DIY paint job in a small room can be done for less than $20.

However, the average cost to have a room professionally painted is higher than that because you’re paying for labor on top of material costs. The cheapest professional paint jobs will be in square rooms with limited trim and low walls. For example, it costs on average between $60 and $400 to paint a bathroom. On the other end of the spectrum, it costs an average of $900 to $1,600 to paint a 330 square foot living room.

Factors that affect the cost of painting a room

When you consider the average cost to paint a room, it can be like comparing apples to oranges: costs vary depending on a number of factors that are important to consider before making assumptions about painting costs.

How layout affects the cost of painting a room

The average cost to paint a room is influenced not only by size, but also by shape, height, and additional features. If there are built-ins, a lot of trim to go around, a high ceiling, or tight spaces, it can lead to increased costs.

Beyond the layout, the style of the walls can have a significant effect on costs. If there are wood panels or thick texture, it may take more paint and longer time to finish the job, which will be reflected in the price.

How the type of paint affects the cost of painting a room

If you walk into a home improvement store and look at the paint selection, you’ll quickly realize that choosing color isn’t the only choice you have to make. There are also a number of types and grades of paint.

The two main categories are latex-based and oil-based paints.

  • Latex-based paints costs on average $15 to $50 per gallon. Latex-based paints can last a long time and perform well in bedrooms, living rooms and hallways.
  • Oil-based paints a little more expensive, with an average of $20 to $60 per gallon. Oil-based paints are more likely to flake over time, but are generally the best choice for bathrooms or kitchens because they are more resistant to water damage and humidity.

There are also different types of paint finishes, which can affect appearance and durability.

  • Matt paint costs on average $10 to $70 per gallon. It is best suited to spaces where there is not much humidity.
  • Eggshell paints and satin paints costs an average of $11 to $60 per gallon. They are both good all-around options due to their cost and durability.
  • Semi-gloss and gloss paint costs on average $12 to $80 per gallon. These types of paint are best suited for trim, baseboards, or other items.

How Color Affects the Cost of Painting a Room

The cost of painting a room depends on the color you want to paint as well as the starting color. As a general rule, expect to pay more if you want to paint a light color over a dark color. Red and black can be particularly difficult to cover, requiring a tough primer and/or multiple coats of paint.

You may be able to save money by sticking to one color for painting multiple rooms in the house. This is because the painter can buy a larger and more economical amount of paint and because leftover paint from one room can be stretched into the next.

Costs to paint a room yourself

It costs on average $200 to $300 to paint a standard room yourself. It can also take up to nine hours, so it’s important to take that into account. If you want a more accurate calculation of the cost of painting a room, start by measuring the square footage. Keeping in mind that one gallon of paint can cover up to 400 square feet of space with just one coat, you should plan to do two or three coats of paint (depending on color and quality of the painting.)

You should expect to spend between $10 and $100 on additional painting supplies. These include brushes, tape, rollers, trays and drop cloths. Consider any repairs that need to be made to the walls, such as covering nail holes or damage from filling and texturing.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do professional painters charge by the hour?

It’s rare for professional painters to charge by the hour. Instead, expect to get a quote based on the full project. For an accurate quote, prepare ahead of time with answers on what type of paint you want to use, what color you want to use, and what repairs you want to include.

Do professional painters do wall repairs?

When painting walls, it’s a good opportunity to also repair wall damage, change baseboards, or make other aesthetic changes to the walls. Many professional painters offer assistance with these services for a fee, so be sure to inquire when getting the quote.

How to save money by painting a room yourself?

There are several ways to save money by painting a room yourself. To start, measure and then re-measure the space before ordering paint. Because the colors are mixed on site, the paint cannot be returned, so you’ll want to avoid having excess leftovers. You can save a good amount of money by waiting for a sale on paint and painting supplies.

How to save money by hiring a painter?

There isn’t necessarily a peak season for interior painting, so costs won’t vary much depending on when you do the job. However, you may be able to save more if the professional painter can use the same color and type of paint on multiple spaces in the project. You can also ask if you will get a discount for moving furniture, removing curtains or cleaning walls before the painter arrives.


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