How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Room?

Painting a room can seem like a daunting task, especially when you start to consider the costs involved. However, with some planning and research, you can determine an accurate budget for your paint job. Here we will examine the various factors that influence the cost to paint a room, provide typical price ranges, and give tips for keeping your costs down. Read on to find out how much you can expect to pay to paint a room in your home.

Calculating the Size of the Room

The first step in budgeting for a paint job is calculating the size of the room you need to paint. This will determine how much paint and labor you need.

To find the square footage:

  • Measure the length and width of the room in feet, rounding to the nearest foot.
  • Multiply the length by the width to get the total square footage.

Be sure to account for odd shapes, sloped ceilings, or any architectural details that may increase the wall surface area. In general, it’s better to overestimate rather than underestimate square footage.

Keep in mind that painting accent walls or ceilings will increase the amount of paint required. We’ll factor this into the cost calculations later.

Factors That Influence Cost

Several key factors determine the overall cost to paint a room:

Paint Quality

Higher quality paints tend to cost more per gallon. But they may require fewer coats and can last longer, saving you money over time.

  • Premium/Designer paint: $50-$100 per gallon
  • Mid-range paint: $25-$50 per gallon
  • Economy paint: $15-$25 per gallon

Consider how much use the room will get and how often you want to repaint when choosing paint quality. High-traffic areas may warrant splurging on more durable paints.

Paint Type

Different paint finishes have different costs per gallon. Here are typical price ranges:

  • Flat: $20-$35 per gallon
  • Eggshell: $25-$40 per gallon
  • Satin: $25-$45 per gallon
  • Semi-gloss: $25-$45 per gallon
  • High-gloss: $30-$50 per gallon

Flat paint is cheapest, but you get what you pay for—it shows scuffs and stains. Higher sheens are more durable and scrubbable.

Paint Coverage

Paint coverage or hiding power refers to how well the paint coats and conceals the underlying surface. Paints with good coverage may require fewer coats.

Darker colors tend to have poorer coverage than lighter shades. Bold colors can require a tinted primer and extra coats, increasing costs.

Labor Costs

Unless you plan on a DIY paint job, you’ll need to account for labor. Painters charge an hourly rate or per sq ft rate. This can range from $20-$50 per hour or $0.75-$3 per square foot depending on your location and the painter’s skill level.

Surface Prep Needs

Preparing surfaces adds time and materials to a paint job. Things like patching holes, sanding, or priming increase labor and product costs. The amount of prep needed will depend on the current condition of walls and whether you’re changing colors.

Accessibility Factors

Rooms with high ceilings or hard-to-reach spots require extra work (and expense) for painters. Equipment like tall ladders or scaffolding may be needed, which adds to costs.

Typical Price Ranges

With the above factors in mind, here are some typical price ranges for painting a room:

Minimum Costs

For a small room with minimal prep using economy paint and DIY labor, you may spend:

  • Paint: $80-$150
  • Labor: $0 if DIY
  • Supplies: $50-$100 for brushes, rollers, etc.
  • Total: $130-$250

Average Costs

For a medium room with standard prep work using mid-range paint and professional labor, expect to spend:

  • Paint: $200-$400
  • Labor: $400-$800
  • Supplies/misc: $100-$200
  • Total: $700-$1400

High-End Costs

For a large, high-end paint job in a big room using premium paints and a pro painter, costs can range:

  • Paint: $500-$1000
  • Labor: $1000-$2000
  • Supplies/misc: $200-$500
  • Total: $1700-$3500

As you can see, the costs can really add up! Carefully calculating the size, paint needs, and prep work for your specific room will give you the most accurate estimate.

Cost-Saving Tips

Here are some tips to lower the cost of your paint job:

  • Compare paint prices between brands and stores. Big box stores may have better deals.
  • Consider one-coat paints that provide good coverage with just one coat.
  • For dark colors, use a tinted primer or paint the room white first. This can eliminate the need for multiple coats.
  • Do the prep work yourself, then hire a pro just for painting. This can save on labor costs.
  • Use paints and primers in one to reduce steps and products needed.
  • Use high quality brushes and rollers so you don’t need to repaint missed spots.
  • Buy paint when it’s on sale or in off-peak seasons for discounts.
  • Negotiate multi-room or whole-house painting packages with painters for a deal.

With some smart planning, you can cut costs on your paint job without sacrificing quality. Now let’s look at the specific process step-by-step.

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting a Room

Follow these steps for a professional-looking paint job:

1. Prepare the Room

  • Remove all furniture, outlet covers, lighting fixtures, curtains and other items.
  • Fill any holes or cracks with spackle; let dry and sand smooth.
  • Clean walls thoroughly to remove any grease, dirt or stains.
  • Apply painter’s tape around trim, baseboards, and thresholds to protect from drips.
  • Cover floors with drop cloths and tape down painting perimeter with plastic sheeting.

This prep protects your space and belongings so paint can go on smoothly.

2. Patch and Prime Surfaces

  • Spot prime unpainted areas like spackle patches, putty, or new drywall.
  • If painting over a darker color, prime the entire room with a white primer.
  • Check for any cracked or peeling old paint and scrape or sand down to a smooth surface.
  • Fill larger imperfections with spackle; let dry, then sand smooth.
  • Clean sanded surfaces thoroughly before priming or painting.
  • Allow primer to fully dry overnight before painting.

Proper prep and priming ensures best results.

3. Paint Ceilings and Walls

  • For ceilings, use an angled brush to cut in corners and edges first. Then roll the remaining ceiling with a roller & extension pole.
  • On walls, cut in edges and trim work with brush; then use roller to fill in larger areas.
  • Work in sections of 4×4 ft and maintain a wet edge to prevent lap marks.
  • Roll top to bottom and then left to right for most even coverage.
  • Apply 2-3 thin, even coats allowing proper drying time between coats.
  • Inspect walls for any missed spots and smooth before moving on.

Use high quality applicator tools and maintain wet edges for smooth results.

4. Remove Tape and Reinstall Fixtures

  • Allow paint to dry fully overnight before removing any tape.
  • Carefully remove all painters tape from baseboards, trim and thresholds.
  • Touch up any spots needed with a small brush.
  • Clean brushes and rollers thoroughly after use.
  • Reinstall outlet covers, plates, lighting fixtures and any other removed items.
  • Return furniture to the room.

Taking time with the finish work completes the professional paint job.

Painting Accent Walls and Ceilings

Sometimes you want to paint just one focal wall or the ceiling in a different color. Here’s how to budget for this:

Accent Wall

Figure around 15-20% extra paint for one accent wall. Add any additional labor time for cutting in edges.

Example: A 12 x 12 ft accent wall in a 200 sq ft room will require ~3 gallons paint instead of the 2 gallons needed for all four walls.


Ceilings use 25-30% more paint than walls due to the unbroken surface area. Factor in cost of extension poles and cutting in edges.

Example: A 12 x 12 ft room with 8 ft ceilings adds ~128 sq ft of ceiling space requiring 0.5 extra gallon for a total of 2.5 gallons.

Calculate accent walls or ceilings into your total square footage when budgeting.

Hiring Professional Painters

While many homeowners opt to DIY paint due to lower costs, hiring professional painters has advantages:

Faster completion: Experienced painters work quickly and efficiently. A room may take a few hours versus days for DIY.

Higher quality results: Pro skills, tools, and techniques often yield smoother finishes free of drips or mistakes.

Savings on supplies: Professional painters supply all materials and tools needed. This cuts out those upfront costs for homeowners.

When hiring pros, get multiple quotes and ask for references to compare pricing. Specify details like number of coats expected and clean-up to prevent misunderstandings.

Agree on payment terms—some pros ask for 50% down with balance due upon completion. Check that they have proper licenses and insurance for your protection.

FAQs: Painting Room Costs

Here are answers to some common questions on budgeting and estimating painting costs:

What is the average cost per square foot to paint a room?

The average cost can range from $0.75-$3 per square foot. This factors in mid-range paint and professional labor costs. DIY painting can lower costs to $0.50 per square foot or less.

Does it cost more to paint a room darker or lighter?

Darker colors often require more coats of paint for good coverage, so it costs more to go darker. Painting lighter is easier and may only require one coat.

Should I get quotes from multiple painters?

Yes, always get 3-4 quotes from local painters. Rates can vary greatly between companies. Compare their pricing, experience, and reviews.

How much does it cost to paint trim vs. walls?

Trim painting costs 50-100% more than walls due to extra labor for cutting in edges. Consider painting just the walls to save time and money.

Can I estimate paint based on square footage?

As a very general rule, you need approximately one gallon of paint per 400 square feet of wall space for two coats. Get exact measurements for a more accurate estimate.

Should I buy extra paint in case I need touch ups?

It’s smart to purchase an extra 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 gallon of paint for future touch-ups and repairs. Just store it properly sealed and labeled.


The average cost to paint a room ranges from $700-$1400 for a medium-sized space. Exact pricing depends on size, paint quality, labor, and the preparation needed. Carefully calculating your square footage and estimating labor and supplies will give you the best budget estimate.

With some cost-saving tips, you can reduce expenses on your paint job. Yet don’t compromise on proper materials and techniques. The upfront investment in high quality paint and applicators leads to better long-term results and less maintenance.

Hiring professional painters also assures an expert, efficient paint job if it fits your budget. Take time to get quotes and vet providers to find good value.

With the above guidance, you can determine accurate pricing and plan your room painting budget. Just follow the preparation, painting, and clean-up process step-by-step. Soon you’ll have a fresh new space enhanced by a professional paint job.