The cost of painting the room depends on a variety of factors such as the size of the room, the type of paint and primer, labor and materials, etc.

However, the cost of painting a room (labor and materials) ranges from $2 – $6 per square foot, with an average price being $3.75 per square foot. The labor of the professional painter ranges from $20 to $50 per hour or $1.50 – $4 per square foot.

For other factors that affect the total cost of the whole project keep on reading to find out more.

Cost per square foot$2$6$3.75
Labor cost per hour$20$50$35
Labor cost per square foot$1.5$4$2.75
Cost to paint 10 x 10 room$300$550$425
Cost to paint 12 x 12 room$400$950$675
Cost to paint 20 x 20 room$650$1,400$1,025

Cost to paint a room per square foot

Estimating room painting costs per square foot has become a widely accepted practice in the industry. Calculating costs per square foot makes it easier to determine how much your painting will cost. Professionals charge between $2 to $6 per square foot to paint a room with an average price of $3.75. The price could easily go up for extras like ceilings and trims, but for that later in the article.

Labor cost

This is a significant cost factor. If your painter charges you per hour expect to pay from $20 to $50 per hour and between $1.5 to $4 per square foot.

Cost to paint a 10 x 10 room

The low cost of painting a 10 x 10 room is $300 while the high range cost is $550 including labor and materials. The average cost is $425. Costs will vary depending on the color, the state of the wall’s disrepair, and the height of the ceiling.

Cost to paint a standard 12 x 12 room

According to industry-wide estimates, the cost of painting a standard 12 x 12 room you will have to pay between $400 and $950 with an average price of $675 including both labor and materials. Factors unique to each room could increase the overall painting cost.

Cost to paint a 20 x 20 room

The cost to paint a 20 x 20 room will depend on the height of the roof, and the state of the walls. It will cost you between $650 and $1,400 with an average price of $1,025. If the walls are not in the good condition and require a lot of repairs this price will go up.

Painting a room cost factors

As I have mentioned in the introduction cost of painting a room depends on a variety of factors such as

  • Room size;
  • Type of paint and finishes;
  • Primer;
  • Tools and materials.

Room size

This doesn’t need much explanation because logic dictates that the bigger the room the higher the price will be. Ceiling height also affects the total painting costs. The price will increase further if you have a high-to-reach ceiling for example. The table below gives a rough view of the cost of each room individually.

RoomTypical Square footageAverage Cost
Living room130$487.5

Type of the paint and finishes cost

The average cost of the paint ranges from $15 to $16 per gallon (the coverage per gallon varies from type to type but you will find that on the manufacturer’s manual). For designer brand paint or rare pigments, you must pay more than $100 per gallon. Also, you can find cheaper paint options from a big box retailer.

Oil-Based VS Latex-based paints

Oil-based paintsLatex paint
The average price is $20 - $70 per gallon;The average price is $15 - $60 per gallon;
Ideal choice for bathrooms and kitchens;Ideal choice for bedrooms, living rooms, and hallways;
Holds up well to moisture;Quick drying;
Easy to clean;Difficult to clean.
Requires good ventilation;
Prone to chipping.

Eggshell or satin

A smooth finish is guaranteed with both options plus a bit more sheen and reflectivity. Easy maintenance makes these finishes a good solution for every room. The price ranges between $12 to $72 per gallon.

Flat or matte

The paint doesn’t have a sheen and can be hard to clean, but it is ideal for low-humidity rooms. For a gallon of paint, you will have to pay between $15 and $65 per gallon depending on the quality.


If you had to deal with high-humidity areas such as bathrooms and kitchens, this is the best option for you. It also holds up well to stains and comes with the price of $15 to $75 per gallon.


This is durable and easy to clean and maintain paint ideal for trim, doors, and cabinets and comes with a price between $16 to $76 per gallon.

Primer cost

For a gallon-sized can of primer you will have to pay between $10 and $20. Primer is required because it helps paint adhere and gives you a longer-lasting, even paint color.

Tools and materials

This is useful information if you choose to DIY interior painting projects.

  • Paint brushes – from $2.65
  • Paint roller – from $10
  • Paint tray – from $2
  • Drop cloth – from $5
  • Painter’s tape – from $4.89
  • Ladder – from $100

Also, a cheaper solution is to buy a DIY painting kit that includes rollers, brushes, and trays for an average price of $15.

DIY painting a room costs

If you decide to go this way you will cut the labor costs and that way saves money. To complete this task you must have skills to prepare the walls for painting and paint them. Also, time and patience are required:)

When you cut the labor costs you will have to pay only for the paint, primer, tools, and materials. My advice for you is if you have high-to-reach ceilings, slopped walls, and a complex design of the room, hire a pro.

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Additional cost factors when painting a room

As always, additional costs will pop up eventually and it is good to know them and consider them. This usually includes

  • Accent or textured walls;
  • Painting a stairway;
  • Moving furniture;
  • Wall repairs;
  • Lead or asbestos testing;
  • Time of the year;
  • Trim and baseboards;
  • Cleaning.

Accent or textured walls

Whether it’s a sand swirl, orange peel, or combed texture, wall texture can transform the feeling of a room. However, some homeowners love it some don’t.

The cost of texturing the walls is between $1 to $3 per square foot and the cost of skim coating to remove texture has an average price of $1.2 per square foot.

Painting a stairway

This is a more complex process compared to painting the walls because of the different angles and shapes that must be navigated. For this procedure, you will have to pay between $4 to $6 per square foot.

For painting the stair parts such as posts, railings, spindles, balusters, and handrails you will have to pay between $3 and $17 per linear foot.

Moving furniture

If there is existing furniture in the room it must be moved so the painting can be conducted. This will take extra time to prepare and will increase the total cost of the painting project since sometimes must be hired additional workers, for oversized furniture or all the furniture for example. This usually costs between $25 and $50 per hour.

Wall repairs

Very often the walls must be repaired before painting. The cost of drywall reparation is about $50 to $75 per square foot. You have a DIY option with a price range between $10 and $30 for a drywall repair kit.

Lead or asbestos testing

Most of the homes built before 1980 are very likely to have lead paint and asbestos. If you are not sure about the lead and asbestos presence in your home, it is a good idea to test.

An asbestos inspection costs between $200 and $1,200 while a lead survey costs from $200 to $400. If tests are positive you will have to spend from $8 to $15 per square foot for lead paint removal.

Time of the year

If you like to save money on professional painters book them during their off-season.

Trim or baseboards

If you combine painting walls with trim and baseboards you will double the interior painting cost.


Professional painting companies will factor the cleaning in the per-square-foot quote. However, be aware that cleaning and moving debris to a dump may cost about $20 to $50 per ton.

DIY VS hiring a pro

If you have most of the supplies, experience, time, and patience, and if you choose a budget-friendly paint, you can paint the room yourself for about $200 more or less. Usually, paint takes up most of the painting cost, try to find a cheaper option that will provide you with good results.

When you hire a pro you will save time. And time is money. You must have the experience, for example, to get an even coat and drywall repairs. If you hire a professional painter you will have to spend between $180 and $680 on labor costs, but it is very likely that you will save money on paint because painters usually get a discount when purchasing materials.

Benefits of DIY painting

  • You can work at your own pace while painting your room. Since there are no strict timelines for completion, you can take your time to finish the project at your leisure.
  • You can save money by painting your room by yourself. Just a fraction of painting costs is for materials, while the rest is for labor. Also, you will have to spend some money to purchase materials.
  • You can build a healthy relationship with your friends and family during the painting process by inviting them to help you.
  • Painting your room yourself produces a high feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment you won’t feel if you hire a professional.

Benefits of hiring a pro

  • A professional painter has years of experience and that way he will provide you with a high-quality paint finish.
  • Professional painters possess the right equipment, and they have better quality equipment and tools than the average homeowner.
  • Hiring a professional saves time, and your painting project will be completed within an agreed timeline.
  • Professional painters have insurance covering the cost of repairing damages that may occur during the painting project. The insurance also covers the treatment cost of injuries suffered from accidents while performing their job.

How to save money when hiring a pro to paint the room?

When you are on a tight budget you want to save money. Here are some tips on how to save money and not DIY the painting task.

The contractor should buy the paint

Let him purchase the paint and don’t run on the store yourself. A contractor can get the paint from the seller for around 50% less than you.

Paint only the walls

If your ceiling, trim, and baseboard are in a good condition, paint only the walls. This will cut the expenses on labor and materials.

Avoid designer stuff

When you buy designer luxury paints you are paying for quality and vibrancy. These paints cost a lot more than “normal” paint because typically use natural coloring agents that are more vibrant compared to synthetic pigments.

However, you can still get great results with regular high-quality paint.

Should I hire a licensed painter?

Federal, state, and local laws require painting contractors to hold a license before being paid to paint people’s homes. Hiring a professional with a valid painting license assures you of receiving reliable and quality service.

Hiring a licensed painter can help you in the following ways:

  1. A licensed painter delivers a quality paint job and paints your room professionally and according to the best industry practices;
  2. Licensed professional painters build clear and easily accessible channels of communication with their clients. Pros communicate in clear writing the contract terms and milestones involved in the project;
  3. Hiring a licensed painter protects you from scams such as the painter disappearing after taking a deposit cheque or abandoning your painting project midway through;
  4. Since the government regulates licensed painters, they are insured and are legally bound to pay for any damages caused while working on your property. The government licensing agency can impose fines or withdraw a contractor’s license if he fails to comply with regulations.

Is there a warranty on painting?

You are eligible for two types of warranties when you hire a professional painter to paint your room. The first is the manufacturer’s warranty on the paint, and the second is the contractor’s painting warranty, which guarantees the quality of the painting project.

Manufacturers’ warranty

The paint used on your home comes with a warranty. However, a paint warranty does not include financial compensation for costs associated with hiring a professional to remove or correct defects in the finish caused by faulty paint.

A paint warranty merely compensates you with free paint materials if you can connect paint failure to production errors or improper factory or warehouse storage conditions.

Contractors' warranty

Most painting contractors offer their customers a two-year paint warranty as a standard industry practice. This warranty protects customers against paint problems such as peeling, flaking, and blistering caused by the contractor’s use of interior paint materials and shoddy craftsmanship. However, the contractors’ warranty does not cover paint damage from water, heat, fire, or other external factors.


Putting two coats of fresh paint on the walls of a standard 12×12 room with a height of around 10 ft will require 1.5 gallons of paint for walls and ceiling.

The time it will take to paint a room will depend on the painter’s experience and the room’s surface. It will take an experienced painter about 4-10 hours to paint a single room from prepping to cleanup. A do-it-yourself painter with much less skill and experience would take over twice as long to complete the same job.

Primer is a sticky neutral paint formulated to provide a uniform base and a firm grip for various topcoats. Painters prime when applying lighter-colored paint over a darker shade, and using a primer coat is advised during painting projects. You can use primer on almost any surface, such as wood, metal, drywall, brick, etc.

Primers perform the following functions:

a) Primers provide a firm base for the topcoat, including allowing the paint to better grip the wall surface.

b) Primers save you money because fewer coats of paint are needed to achieve saturation when you prime a wall before painting.

Paint applied over dirty or deteriorating surfaces does not last long. Professionals prepare a wall before painting to produce a quality finish and a long-lasting paint job. You can prepare dirty walls for painting by cleaning or scrapping the peeling and flaking paint to allow the new paint to adhere to the surface.

Yes, you can. You can put a fresh coat of paint directly over existing paint if both paints have the same color or chemical composition, e.g., painting a latex-based paint over another latex-based paint. However, you must apply a primer over the old paint if both paints have different colors or chemical compositions, e.g., painting an oil-based paint over a latex-based paint.

According to paint manufacturing and retail giant Sherwin Williams, the hottest color choice among painters and interior designers for 2023 is Naval SW 6244. The company website describes the paint as “a rich navy that creates a calm and grounding environment infused with quiet confidence.

Labor rates for professional painters in the U.S. range from $200-$300 per day to paint a room, depending on their experience level, location, and project size. The average hourly rate for a routine painting job is $49, and professionals can charge you additional rates for painting your trim, ceilings, and murals.

Benjamin McInerny
Author: Benjamin McInerny - is a qualified arborist with 20 years of industry experience. Ben has a wide knowledge of renovation and DIY projects around the house such as lawns, fencing and painting. Ben shares his skills with DIY and gardening enthusiasts.