Cost to Paint Interior of a House – Estimate DIY vs Contractor Prices



Average Interior Painting Costs:
Low End
$2538
Mid Range
$2709
High End
$2997

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It costs about $2,900 -3,500 to professionally paint the interior of a 1,500 sq.ft. house. If you do the all the work yourself, you can save up to 50-60% off.

Aside from the money, you need to consider how much time this project will take to do solo, your painting skills, and the quality of work you want to have.

We will break down the cost of hiring a painting contractor vs. going the DIY route, along with prices for tools, materials, and various paint brands.

Interior painting cost

Across the US, the average cost to paint the interior of the house (2,500 sq.ft.) is $7,500 – 8,750 including all materials, paint, and professional labor. This is equivalent to $3 -3.5 per square foot which is the most common amount homeowners report spending on a professional painting job.

Depending on your location and complexity of the job, your painting cost can be as high as $4-7 per square foot. If your painting project is very simple and your home is located in the Southern states or the Midwest, its possible to spend as low as $5,000 – 6,250 on a 2,500 sq.ft. space. This is equivalent to $2 – 2.5 per square foot.

What is included in a professional paint job:

– Set up and clean up
– 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint on the walls
– Painting the ceiling
– Painting windows, skylights and doors trims
– All supplies, primer and paint
– Moving furniture in and out (extra charge)

Painting a room or the entire house on your own can be a good way to cut remodeling costs, but only if you’re sure you can get the job done right the first time. A contractor may be more expensive up front, but could save you money by avoiding the need for corrective painting.

One of the factors that greatly impacts your total painting cost is professional labor charges. These can vary up or down by as much as 20% depending on where you are located. California and the Northeast have high overall labor rates for contractors. Similarly, big expensive cities in these areas, such as San Francisco, LA, New York, Boston, Washington D.C. will have the highest labor rates in the country, because pros need to factor in the cost of living in order to make a profit in these cities.

Keep in mind that if you hire a General Contractor to supervise this painting remodel, you should add 12-20% of the total painting cost to cover his fees. For example, on a $3,500 interior painting cost, a general contractor will charge $420 – 700.

Use our Interior Painting Cost Calculator to get an accurate price estimate for your house.

Factors that increase painting costs

While you can use an online painting calculator to get a general estimate how much it will cost to paint your home, don’t expect it to be 100% accurate. This is because there are many factors that can increase the total cost of painting and the calculator simple cannot account for all of them. These include:

– Total square footage (coverage area) of the paint job. For example a room that has 4 windows will have smaller coverage area than a room with 1 window.

– Number of rooms that need to be painted

– Accessibility and location of the space. If supplies need to be hauled up to a second floor or an attic, expect extra charges

– Shape of the room/number of angles. A hexagon shaped room with be a lot more expensive to paint than a rectangle shape space

– Any baseboards and crown moldings that need to be painted. Total ln.ft.

– Number of windows, as well as window shape

– Number of doors

– Ceiling height and shape. Tall ceilings, as well as irregular shapes cost 15-20% more to paint compared to a standard 8 ft ceiling

– Any skylights in the ceiling

– Condition of the walls and ceiling/any repairs that are needed

– Any special textures on the walls/ceiling

– Quality of the interior paint. Using designer brand paint can easily add $1,000 – 2,500 to the total cost

– Local labor rates

As you can see, there are a lot of variables that can change the actual cost of the paint job. Only a pro can give you an accurate price after assessing your house in person. Its best to request 3-4 painting estimates from local contractors to compare their prices.

Painting cost per square foot

Typically, the cost to paint walls only is about $1.40 – 2.10 per square foot. So for a 1,600 sq.ft. one storey house, your total painting cost will be $2,240 – $3,360 This estimate includes all materials and mid level paint such Behr.

However, if you want trim, doors, moldings, and ceilings done the average painting price per square foot will be$2.95 – 3.5. This is equivalent to $4,720 – 5,600 for a 1,600 sq.ft. house interior.

If you have vaulted, tray or cathedral ceiling there will be about 10-25% up-charge, depending on the height, size and complexity of the ceiling construction. The average cost to paint a ceiling in 10×12 room is $150-350. Repairing and damages or holes in the ceiling can cost $200-400 or more, depending on the extend of the damage.

Overall, the more square footage you want to paint, the cheaper your price per square foot will be.

Here are rough price estimates for interior painting costs based on $3 – 3.5 per square foot.

Square Footage Total Cost
500 $1,500 – 1,750
800 $2,400 – 2,800
1,000 $3,000 – 3,500
1,200 $3,600 – 4,200
1,500 $4,500 – 5,250
1,800 $5,400 – 6,300
2,000 $6,000 – 7,000
2,500 $7,500 – 8,750
3,000 $9,000 – 10,500
3,500 $10,500 – 12,250

Average cost to paint one room

Typically, the cost to paint one room is much higher per square foot compared painting multiple rooms or the entire house. This is because, the contractor has the same prep and clean up work, as well as overhead and profit charges for a small project as for a big one.

For example it will cost you $380-565 to paint a 300 sq.ft. room (does not include trim, moldings, ceiling). This is equivalent to the cost $2.52 – 3.76 per square foot. . When you add all the extras, you total cost can be as high as $500-675

In general, if you only need to paint one room, and its a simple square or rectangular shape, it is much cheaper to do this on your own. However, if the room has many window, angles, irregular shape, or very high ceilings, it will be much more difficult and time consuming to tackle this job yourself. In this case, it may be worth it to hire a painting pro.

Additional charges

Cost to paint a house per square foot

You should be prepared for some additional costs that may come up during the project.

Drywall Repair ($20-50 per hour): if your house walls have a fair amount of damage, it can take 4-10 hours to fix it.

Wall Paper Removal: if you want to get rid of old wall paper and repaint, the price of removing the wall paper can increase your total painting cost by 40-50%, because its such a time consuming process.

Paint Accent Wall: your cost will vary depending on the color used, the location and whether this color is being used in another part of the house. Expect to pay at least $80 for a small accent wall.

Moving Furniture: if you would like the contractors to move furniture expect to pay at least $100 – 150 for every room from which furniture needs to be removed.

DIY interior painting costs

The average cost to paint a room or multiple rooms on your own is $1.25 – 2 per sq.ft. depending on the type and quality pf primer and paint you use. This is at least 50% cheaper than hiring a contractor. For example a 250 sq.ft. room would cost $315-500 to paint DIY.

Since most handy homeowners view interior painting as an easy project, they would rather do it themselves than pay a pro. Especially if only one or two simple rooms need to be repainted, like a bedroom or an office, many homeowners tackle this remodel alone.

However, big paint jobs that involve multiple rooms including a kitchen are left to contractors most of the time.

Cost of painting supplies

If you choose to work with a professional, you won’t have to worry about getting the right tools and materials for the job. Your basic supplies will cost at least $150. Depending on the height of your ceilings, you may need a small stepladder. For taller rooms, though, you’ll most likely need a taller ladder.

Tools and materials prices

Patching Paste by UGL ($12.97): a fast-drying compound for patching large holes and cracks in plaster, drywall, wood, etc.

5 in 1 Tool by Hyde ($9): will help you scrape paint off the roller, pull nails, get old caulk out of joints.

No-Bleed Tape (Frog Tape) ($6): will prevent paint from seeping underneath.

Paint Can Opener ($1-2): use this tool instead of a screwdriver to avoid damaging the lid.

Flat Paint Brush Set (Pack of 2) ($5.50): if you are using latex based paint, it is best to select nylon or synthetic bristle brushes.

Paint Roller: $2-8

Paint Roller Flexible Extension Pole (2 – 4 ft): $20-40

Paint Roller Tray: $4-9

Roller Covers (4 pack): $4-5

Plastic Drop Cloth by Husky (Pack of 3): $4.97

Eye Protection Safety Glasses: $4-30

Protection Gloves: $1/pair

2-Step Ladder: $12

Ladder (4-6 ft): $30-50

Time and effort considerations

Once you get a professional painting estimate, you may start to consider getting the job done yourself. While your savings will be significant, remember that you still need to invest in high-quality materials and tools to closely replicate the results of a professional paint job.

Moreover, you need to be prepared to spend several days on this endeavor, which can be a challenge if you work full time. Painting on weekends and during the evening, it could take weeks to get every room in your home painted. If you need to complete the renovation quickly and with minimal disruption, it may be justified to spend the money on a painting contractor. In a single day, a crew can finish a space that would take you several days or even weeks.

If you have never painted a room before, you may make mistakes when it comes to the finer details, such as lines between walls and ceiling, trim, etc. A DIY job may look sloppy upon close examination, and will ultimately not be satisfying.

Moreover, if you are planning to sell your house and painting it to prepare it for viewing and sale, realtors recommend to hire a pro.

How to prepare the space

Painting cost per square foot

Proper preparation can have as much of an impact on the finished project as the quality of paint and application. It’s important to prep all spaces very well before you paint.

First, you will need to remove all furniture from the room to make sure paint drips do not ruin it. Having an empty space is also essential to quickly move around the room.

Next, you should clean all the walls and trim that will be painted, so that there is no surface dirt. You can use a water and detergent mixture for this purpose. Finally, remove all outlet covers and light switch covers, and fill any nail holes with painter’s putty.

How much does paint cost?

cost to paint walls
When it comes to interior paint, there is a huge selection to consider, ranging from as little as about $20 per gallon to as much as about $98 and up.

The reason for this drastic difference in price is the density and quality of base pigments. A bargain brand, such as Glidden, might only be made up of about 30% ground minerals for color. On the other hand, premium brands can boast a pigment content of up to 70%. While more expensive, this paint will require fewer coats, while offering a more lasting, saturated color.

High-end paint, such as Farrow & Ball costs much more up front, but is usually more durable and provides better results. While you may initially save with a budget brand, you may find yourself repainting a lot sooner.

Here’s a price chart comparing different types of paint

Flat and Matte Interior Paint

BUDGETMID-RANGEHIGH-END
Glidden High Endurance Plus - $24/gallonValspar Signature Matte - $32/gallonSherwin-Williams Super Paint - $51/gallon
Ace Royal Interiors - $27/gallonBehr Premium Plus Ultra Flat - $32/gallonBenjamin Moore Aura Matte - $68/gallon
Valspar Ultra - $29/gallonBenjamin Moore Regal Classic - $40/gallonFarrow & Ball Estate Emulsion-$97/gallon

Eggshell and Satin Paint

BUDGETMID-RANGEHIGH-END
Olympic Interior Eggshell Paint - $24/gallonBehr Premium Plus Ultra - $34/gallon Benjamin Moor Aura Satin - $68/gallon
Glidden Premium Eggshell Paint - $23/gallonValspar Signature - $34/gallonFarrow&Ball -$97/gallon
Kilz Casual Colors Satin - $30/gallonBenjamin Moore Regal Select - $ 39/gallonFine Paints of Europe Interior Satin - $230/gallon
Clark+Kensington Enamel - $32/gallonSherwin -Williams Cashmere - $ 38/gallon

Semi-Gloss Paint

BUDGETMID-RANGEHIGH-END
Valspar Medallion Semi - Gloss - $20/gallonValspar Signature Semi-Gloss - $35/gallonBenjamin Moore Regal Select - $65
Behr Premium Plus Ultra Semi-Gloss Enamel - $34/gallonZinsser Semi-Gloss - $46/gallonFarrow & Ball - $87/gallon
Clark+Kensington Semi-Gloss - $33/gallonSherwin-Williams Semi-Gloss - $56/gallonFine Paints of Europe - $300/gallon

Which type of paint should you use?

One of the areas where you can control your spending, especially if you are on the budget, is the type of paint you use, as well as the brand.

Pros recommend using mid-range quality paint such as Behr, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams. These brands have an extensive color selection, great finished look and the color will not fade for many years to come. Very few people would notice the difference between these paint brands and a premium paint like Farrow and Ball.

Keep in mind that withing each of these brands, there are different paint grades, that are more or less expensive. For example, within the Behr brand, you have 3 quality tiers: 1. Behr Premium Plus (least expensive) 2. Behr Ultra (more expensive, better quality) 3. Behr Marquee (best quality, more expensive).

There is really no reason to overspend on expensive paint, unless you are looking for a very particular color and you found it with a high-end paint. Also, keep in mind that your local Home Depot or Lowe’s can mix paint colors for you, so you can get a custom shade that you like. You can also mix paint yourself. Just be sure to test a little amount first, to see that you like the combination.

If you are painting your living room or bedroom, you can use flat/matte interior paint. It looks nice, not too shiny and is the most budget friendly paint type. Flat paint is also great at covering any imperfections in a wall. For a kitchen or bathroom its best to use semi-gloss paint. Its more shiny and washes better if there is any staining.

There is usually a 2.5 – 3 times price difference between matte and semi-gloss paint.

Pros and Cons of DIY painting

As with any remodeling project there are both pros and cons to taking the DIY route. Here are the main points to consider with regard to interior painting.

PROS CONS
cost savings up to 60% Annoying clean up and set up
Avoid dealing with contractors Need to move furniture by yourself
Do everything on your own time and terms Time consuming: days or weeks for a DIY job
Can be a fun family project if you have older kids Risk of abandoning a job that proved to be too hard
  Not using a space for a long time, while its being painted
  Visible imperfections on challenging areas such as connection of wall and ceiling
  Dissatisfaction with the overall look of the room due to imperfections
  You may still need to hire a pro if the finial paint job is very low quality


Average Interior Painting Costs:
Low End
$2538
Mid Range
$2709
High End
$2997

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code



About Yelena G

Yelena G. has been working in the remodeling and construction industry for over 15 years. Her focus is on construction planning and design as well as project cost estimating. Yelena also has a personal interest in interior design, as well as in unique DIY remodeling projects. Read more about Yelena

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