Interior Painting Costs by Sq Ft & Tips to Save Money

Nationally, the average cost to paint a room ranges from $300 to $900. Of course, this cost varies depending on the size of the room in square feet, materials used, the detail work needed and where you live.

Read the video transcript. 

Interior Painting Costs:

National Minimum Cost $690
National Maximum Cost $1,200
National Average Cost $900
Average Range $300 – $900

>>> Update Your Home: Book an Interior Painter Near You Today

What’s in this Cost Guide?

Prep and Repair Costs

Before you begin a painting project, your professional painter will assess your walls, trim, and ceiling for necessary repairs. The more pre-work that’s done, the better the end result will be. Prep work includes wall patching, sanding to repair previous poorly-layered paint jobs, door trim and baseboard caulking, spackling and more.

If you can tell extensive prep work is needed prior to painting, ask the painter to charge a flat rate to include the pre-work needed for a fair price. Pros that charge using an hourly rate structure will be more expensive, as the prep work will add time to the overall project. When chatting with an interior painter or contractor on Thumbtack, check to see if the pro offers a free estimate or free quotes based on photos you provide.

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Interior Painting Costs by Square Foot

Measure the square footage of the wall space and ceiling space that needs to be painted to estimate the total cost of the project. A 100-square-foot room takes roughy a third of the material needed for a 300-square-foot room, and so on. This number indicates how many gallons of paint are needed and the approximate amount of time a project will take.

person with paint splatter on shirt holding multiple paint brushes of different sizes and colors
Before a pro starts a painting project, they will first measure the area to be painted, minus the size of the doors and windows, and then will base the quote on the square feet measured.

Here’s an example of some approximate baseline per-room interior painting costs for various sizes and ceiling heights, provided by professional painters at Macon Painting in Richardson, TX:

Room Size and Type Ceiling Height Approximate Starting Price
12×12 average room 8 feet $100
12×12 average room 9 feet $125
14×16 master bedroom 8 feet $125
14×16 master bedroom 9 feet $150
16×16 living room 9 feet $175
16×16 living room 20 feet $225+

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Interior Painting Costs by Number of Rooms

Typically, the more rooms and square footage to be painted, the higher the overall cost.

Average Cost of Painting, by Number of Rooms:

1 room $782
2 rooms $868
3 rooms $1,546
4 rooms $2,173
5 rooms $1,639
6 rooms $2,521
7 rooms $3,073
8+ rooms $4,385

However, some painters will lower the overall cost per room as the number of rooms to be painted increases. For this reason, a house with many rooms might score a cheaper painting job than a house with fewer, larger rooms. So completely repainting the interiors of a whole house may be more affordable than repainting rooms one at a time over a longer period of time, depending on quality of materials used. Again, an estimate from a pro will help you gauge the correct price range for your project.


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Painting Materials

Once you have an idea of the square footage, you can factor in material type and cost into the overall painting estimate. Let’s look at the different types of paint a pro can offer:

  • Matte: Matte paint doesn’t have a sheen finish, and includes a bit of texture up close. This material type is the most common and the most affordable, and is ideal for rooms that receive a good amount of direct sunlight. Unfortunately, matte paint shows damage and marks quite easily, so it’s not the best for high-traffic areas of the home or playrooms.
  • Matte Enamel: Matte enamel is less prone to markings and wear and tear, and gives off the same visual effect as regular matte.
  • Eggshell: Eggshell gives off a subtle shine, but nothing incredibly noticeable. It’s great for rooms with a softer light, where a bit of reflection is welcome.
  • Semi Gloss: This material finishes hard, and can easily be cleaned – a perfect candidate for trim and molding.
  • High Gloss: High gloss is stunning when done well. It reflects light, but at the same time reveals imperfections. Multiple coats are needed, and therefore the drying and project time will be longer. High-gloss paint often falls on the higher end of the price scale.

Interior and exterior paints contain different types of pigment. Those containing pigments that fade quicker are most often used for interior painting projects. Additionally, exterior paints need to be able to withstand harsh conditions, like rain, wind, and extreme temperatures. Because the exterior is an area with less traffic, exterior paint isn’t as durable when it comes to scratches and scuffs, so it’s best to stick to an interior material for indoor walls and ceilings.

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Additional Cost Factors

Last-Minute Jobs and Travel

Some painters may charge more for particularly last-minute jobs, so try to plan ahead if possible. If the pro has to travel to you, cost of gas and other factors will all affect the cost of interior painting.

Wall Textures

Textured walls require more paint for adequate coverage. Texturing may be pre-existing raised texture formed with joint compound, or clients can request new texture be applied by the painter through specialized painting techniques. Send a photo of the current wall to your painter for a more accurate estimate of what the pro will charge for work on wall texturing.

Repair and Repaint Work

Many interior painters offer small drywall, ceiling, and baseboard repair services in addition to painting. Any additional labor and materials used will increase the overall cost. For this reason, new construction is often cheaper to paint.

Interior Painters vs. Painting Contractors

Though these terms are often used interchangeably, they’re quite different. Painting contractors carry general liability and workers compensation so in the case of an accident on the job, you are completely removed from risk. Contractors also tend to source and purchase all materials themselves, and work with a team to execute the project in a timely manner while maintaining a high level of quality.

Painters can also execute with speed and agility, but they typically don’t carry the guards against risk that contractors do, and on average charge less for projects than contractors.

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How to Save Money on Interior Painting

You can take care of some details beforehand so everything is ready when the painters arrive for the paint job. If painters have to do the prep work of removing electrical outlet covers and light fixtures throughout the interior, they’ll likely charge that extra time to you. Move large furniture to the center of the room, and cover everything you don’t want paint-splattered with a drop cloth. Additionally, some painters may reduce the cost of the job if you provide materials they would otherwise have to, such as paint covers, brushes, floor/furniture coverings, and paint trays and rollers.

You also might be able to save on your painting contractor’s labor cost by taking on some do-it-yourself work, such as doing a touch up on corners. Talk to your painter to see if there’s any way you can pay less by making their job easier or faster. And always start with an estimate. Getting estimates from multiple pros will equip you with the knowledge to confidently hire a pro and tackle an interior painting project.

>>> Get a Fair Price: Contact the Best Painters Near You

Video Transcript: How Much Does it Cost to Paint a House? 

“Jobs will range in cost for interior painting mainly in regards to what the interior design of the house is. What I’ve found dealing with clients is that they’ll go get four estimates and the range from those four could be $2,000 – $3,000. They’ll end up maybe going with the lower bid because that’s in their budget.

They’re not realizing that in that estimate, that contractor has bid it with the lowest quality paint, the lowest quality material.

I think it’s important for contractors to specify how much material is, how much paint is, and how much labor is.
When you get an estimate from me, we’re definitely not the lowest, but with that you’re going to get the highest quality paint, highest quality material. Then if it’s above budget, we can work from there. Just personally that’s kind of what I want, and that’s what I do.

So you can see the total cost breakdown and you can do the math to figure out our hourly rate.”

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