How Much Do Painters Charge for Interior Painting?

Michelle Miley

The cost of an interior paint job varies based on the size and complexity of the room being painted. Learn what factors affect painting costs.

In 2015, American homeowners reported spending between $970 to $2,423 for interior room painting. Labor runs between $40 and $50 per hour. The exact painting cost varied based on the size of the room, the type of paint used and how much preparation work was required before the painting could begin. The amount of trim to be painted was also a factor, as was the experience level and labor rate of the painter. When getting an estimate for a painting job, be sure you understand how much the painter is charging per square foot and paint, as well as supplies. The more detailed the estimates you get, the easier they will be to compare.

Factors Affecting Cost

Room Size and Complexity

The size of a room is an important factor when determining the cost of painting, as is complexity. Rooms with many windows, doorways, chair rails and other items to paint around are more labor intensive than other rooms and may cost more. Additional costs may be incurred for painting window and door trim, as well as ceilings and baseboards. Remember that textured walls and walls taller than the standard 8 feet, require more paint, making them more expensive.

Paint and Supplies

Painters must cover their costs for supplies like brushes and rollers when estimating a paint job. They will also factor in how much paint they will need. A gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet. To calculate square footage of your room and determine how many gallons of paint the job will require, add up the total square feet of wall space.

    Measure the Walls

  1. Measure the height and width of each wall in the room.

  2. Multiply

  3. For each wall you measured, multiply the wall's height times it's width. This will give you the square footage of each wall. Get the square footage of the ceiling by multiplying the length of the room by the width.

  4. Add

  5. Add together the square footage of each wall and ceiling to calculate the total amount of square footage for the walls in the room.

  6. Calculate Windows and Doorways

  7. Measure the height and width of each doorway and window in your room and multiply to get the area.

  8. Subtract Windows and Doorways

  9. Since you won't be painting over doorways or windows, subtract the square footage of the doors and windows from your total wall square footage to arrive at the area that will actually be painted.

  10. If math is not your strongest skill, you can also use an online paint calculator to calculate your room's square footage.

Repairs and Prep Work

  • Without proper surface preparation new paint may not adhere properly to the surface and won't look its best. Surfaces must be smooth and free of both dirt and dust prior to painting. If you have a lot of cracks and holes to patch or woodwork that needs sanding, expect to pay more for your interior paint job. You may be able to save money by doing some or all of the painting preparation yourself, so be sure to discuss this with the painter when getting your estimate.

  • Tips for Choosing a Painter

  • Although you don't want to pay more for a professional paint job than you have to, price should never be the sole consideration when comparing painters. Make sure you do all of the following to get the best paint job you can:

    • Ask friends and family members for referrals
    • Obtain and check references
    • Find out what type of warranty or guarantees the painter offers
    • Understand the payment terms -- never pay a deposit in excess of one-third of the estimate
    • Verify that the painter will check for lead paint if your home was built before 1978
  • Tip

    • Remember that not all paint is created equal. You can expect to pay between $30 and $60 per gallon for paint depending upon the brand and finish chosen. * Factor multiple coats into your equation, if necessary. * Consider purchasing the paint yourself. The cost per gallon should be about the same whether you or the painter purchase the paint and retail stores keep records of paint sales for much longer and may be more helpful if you need to match the paint color later.