How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Room? (Square Feet Guide)

One of the simplest ways to give a room a makeover is to provide it with a fresh coat of paint. Whether you paint it a subtle eggshell white or go with a bright orange to bring some color to your space is up to you, but whatever you do, it’s always a good idea to get a pricing estimate before you get started.

The good news is that painting a room doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor, especially if you’re willing to turn this into a DIY project. That said, the prices are all across the board when it comes to how much does it cost to have a room painted, so use this guide and our online calculator to get the most accurate estimate possible.

Before you jump headfirst into your next painting project, there are a few things to consider, especially if you’re trying to stick to a specific budget. Painting costs are determined by many things, such as the type of paint you plan to use, but here are 5 more important considerations:

  • Room Size
    The size of the room and the total square footage of the surface you plan to paint is the main factor to determine how much paint to paint a room, and therefore, how much it will cost in the end. We’ll go over the exact cost per square foot later, but just know that the bigger the room, the higher the cost to paint it.
  • Current Color
    Many homeowners don’t even give the room’s current color a second thought since they don't realize that it can play a role in painting costs. For instance, if the existing wall color is dark and you plan to paint over it, you’ll probably need to paint more coats to get the job done. More paint = higher cost.
  • Wall Texture
    If your walls have a textured finish, you can expect to pay up to 50% more. Texture adds more surface area, so more paint is needed to get an even finish. Most paint manufacturers give a coverage area estimate based on flat, non-textured walls, so if 1 gallon of paint says that it will cover 400 square feet, that’s not going to be the case when painting a textured surface.
  • End Color & Finish
    A 1-gallon can of paint can run anywhere from $15 to more than $100, depending on the brand, color, and finish. For the finish, the main thing to remember is that the glossier the paint, the higher the cost.
  • Trim Work
    Painting trim work requires a lot of attention to detail, so you can count on this to cost more than using paint rollers on walls. If the room has a lot of trim work like crown moldings, be sure to factor that into the final cost. 

Of course, these aren’t the only considerations that help determine the cost to paint a room, but they are things that are often overlooked.

Cost To Paint A Room

Cost Difference Between Paints: Latex vs. Oil-Based

Before getting to the exact calculations on how much do painters charge to paint a room, you first need to think about the type of paint you’re using. There’s a big difference in paint costs depending on the paint type you’ve chosen, like whether you’re going with latex or oil-based paint.

When comparing the two, latex paint is the more common option for home interior paint. Since it’s water-based, it rolls on smooth, dries fast, and has less odor than oil-based paint. Another perk is that it’s more environmentally friendly, so you really can’t go wrong with latex paint.

Oil-based paints have a base of - you guessed it - oil, and are a good choice for rooms that are prone to high moisture levels, say if you’re painting the bathroom or kitchen. This type of paint is suitable for high-traffic areas since it is durable, but it's not as environmentally-friendly, and it can give off a pungent odor while drying.

Both types of paint can range anywhere from $20 to $70+ per gallon depending on the brand and finish, but latex paints are generally slightly more expensive.


Different Types of Finishes Compared

Not only does the type of paint affect the price tag, but so does the finish. There are 5 different finishes to choose from, including:

  • Flat/Matte
    Best for walls with flaws since it offers excellent coverage, but not ideal for high-traffic areas (like hallways or kids’ rooms) since it’s tough to clean
  • Eggshell
    A low-sheen finish (similar to a chicken’s egg) that covers wall imperfections well and is a great choice for low-traffic gathering spaces that don't get a lot of bumps and scuffs, such as a dining room or living room
  • Satin
    A “velvety” finish that’s easy to clean, therefore best for high-traffic areas of the home, like the bathroom
  • Semi-Gloss
    A glossier finish that is well suited for rooms where moisture, drips, and grease are common and will need to be wiped away, like the kitchen or bathroom
  • High-Gloss
    The glossiest finish that’s the most durable and easiest to clean, a great choice for painting kitchen cabinets and doors, but not ideal for interior walls

Each finish has its own set of pros and cons. In terms of price, you can expect to pay more as you make your way from flat to high-gloss. That’s because higher-gloss paints have a better ability to reflect light, but on the flip side, they’re not as good at hiding flaws as flatter paints when applied.


How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Room?

Keeping everything we mentioned so far in mind - room size, type of paint, finish, color choice, wall texture, etc. - it’s now a lot easier to price out the cost of painting a room and end up with an accurate estimate.

Depending on those factors and more, there’s a wide range when it comes to the cost of painting a home interior. HomeAdvisor says that “the cost to paint an average size room (10X12) ranges from $200 to $800. DIY, this can cost between $100 to $300.”

The first thing you want to do to get your estimate is to start by finding the coverage area you’ll be painting. Once you find that out, you’ll know how many gallons of paint you’ll need to get the job done. The cost of paint is the main expense for painting a room if you’re doing this DIY, so figuring that out first is a must.

To take accurate measurements, first find the area of the walls by multiplying the length of the wall by the width of the room. Then, multiply that number by the height of the room.

You’ll have to consider the areas that don't need painting, like windows, doors, and cabinets, so determine their area by using the same length x width method and subtracting it from the wall area you found earlier.

If you plan on painting the ceiling trim and baseboards, figure out the area of these using the same method and add them to the area of the walls. The square footage you end up with is the total surface area of what needs to be painted.

To give you a better idea, painting a 12x12 room costs anywhere from $400 to $950 to have it done professionally. Check out more cost estimates in this comparison table:

Estimated Cost to Paint a Kitchen (13x13)

$465 - $1,240 ($850 average)

Estimated Cost to Paint a Bedroom (12x12)

$400 - $950 ($650 average)

Estimated Cost to Paint a Bathroom (5x8)

$150 - $300 ($225 average)

Estimated Cost to Paint a Living Room (12x18)

$600 - $2000 ($1300 average)

Remember, these numbers aren’t set in stone since it depends a lot on the type of paint you’ve chosen, the amount of paint you need, and the professional painter’s rate.


Cost to Hire a Professional Painter vs. Doing It Yourself

Those numbers above are the expected cost if you choose to hire a professional painter. But what if you prefer to take this on as a DIY project and paint yourself? Many homeowners opt to do the task on their own since it can shave hundreds off the project cost.

Let’s use a 12’ x 12’ room as an example. A professional painter will charge anywhere between $1 and $3 per square foot, so a 12x12 room could cost anywhere from $350 to $850 (but will probably be more like $400 to $950 when you factor in the detail work).

Labor costs make up about 70% of the total projected cost of the job, so you can easily get that $400 to $950 down to $100 if you choose a lower quality paint and don’t spend too much on supplies.

If you do choose to go with a higher-quality paint or foresee needing more paint to cover up a dark color that’s currently on the walls, you could spend as much as $300. But even $300 is a lot lower than the cost to hire a professional.

How Much Is It To Paint a Room

People also Ask (FAQs)

Why do painters charge so much?

A big reason for the high cost of hiring a professional painter is convenience. Not only will you not be responsible for purchasing the paint and supplies, but you won’t have to spend time prepping, painting, or detailing.

To make sure you’re getting a reasonable price, it’s a good idea to get a few quotes from local painters.

How long does it take to paint a 2-bedroom apartment?

It actually takes a bit longer than you’d think when you factor in the drying time in between coats. One source says that “for the average room and average painter, it might take about 45 minutes to an hour to paint the walls and ceilings with the initial coat, and maybe half that time to apply the second one. Pro painters can usually do this even quicker.”

Can you paint a room in a day?

Absolutely. The only time this might be difficult is if you’re going from a very dark color to a very light color. In that case, you’ll need to apply several coats, and you may have to break it up into two days.

How long does it take to paint a room and dry?

Paint can take anywhere from 1 hour to 8 hours to dry - you should be able to find the recommended drying time on the paint can.


Conclusion

There’s no doubt that painting a room is a wise investment - just be sure you know what that investment will be before starting the project. No matter which room of the house you’re painting next, always refer back to this guide and use our online calculator to help determine the cost.


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