How Much Does It Cost To Paint the Interior of a House?

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The money spent to paint the interior of your house is well worth it. Whether you hire a pro or DIY (go for it!), paint transforms interior spaces.

The cost of an interior painting project depends on a ton of variables. Do you plan to hire a pro or DIY? What is the size of the space, the condition of the surfaces and your preferred type of paint? If you plan to hire a professional, you can keep the costs down by understanding the process and preparing yourself with good information.

How Much Does It Cost To Have Pros Paint the Interior of a House?

A professional typically will charge between $2 and $6 per square foot for interior painting. So if you have a 1,000 square foot home, it will cost between $2,000 and $6,000. The price can also depend on the paint you choose or the pro prefers to work with.

Aside from the cost to paint the walls, the professional price can vary based on the amount of trim, ceilings and other areas that need to be painted. The estimate should include labor and materials. Good questions to ask include:

  • Will the painters be moving furniture?
  • Will the floors and counters be covered with drop cloths, or is that your responsibility?
  • Does the estimate include repairs to walls, primer for water stains or toning down dark-hued walls?

How Much Does It Cost To Paint the Interior of a House Yourself?

On average, to paint the interior yourself will cost between $1 and $3 per square foot, about half what a professional charges. A gallon of paint runs about $20 per gallon for low-end and $30 to $55 for higher-end brands. The average-sized bedroom will need at least two gallons of paint for complete coverage.

Also consider what paint supplies you will need. These can run from $10 to $100, depending if you’re adding to your existing inventory or starting from scratch. The list of supplies you will need includes:

It can take a day or two to paint one room, depending on the number of coats and extra work such as trim. Consider the time it will take and supplies you will need when calculating how much it costs to paint your living spaces. Only you can determine what your time is worth.

How To Save Money on Interior Painting

Cutting corners can save you money but leave you unsatisfied with the end result. Be sure to purchase the best paint for your needs and don’t skip steps, such as laying down a primer if needed. And don’t go with cheap supplies just to save a few cents. Focus your cost-saving efforts here instead:

Borrow supplies

Brushes, rollers, sponges and tarps can add up. Ask friends and neighbors if you may borrow their paint supplies. Or buy a kit with all you need from an online resource, and save by purchasing everything at once rather than à la carte.

Determine if you need primer

Primer increases your overall costs, but you may not need it. You can skip this step when painting over similar types of existing finishes that are clean, dry, dull and in sound shape. For instance, latex to latex or latex to oils, according to Rick Watson, director of product information and technical services at Sherwin-Williams.

“We recommend a primer when you need to promote adhesion, or block stains, fill porous surfaces like concrete block, or resist alkali and efflorescence, provide corrosion resistance or (when) going from deep dark colors to white,” Watson said. Otherwise, save your money.

Measure the rooms

Measure correctly before you begin so you don’t waste money on supplies and paint you can’t return.

  • Add the length of each wall.
  • Multiply that number by the height of the room from floor to ceiling. This number is the square footage of the room.
  • Deduct 15 square feet for each average-size window and 20 square feet for each door.

The final number is the square footage you will need to paint. If you are painting the ceiling, measure the length of the ceiling. Then multiply that number by the ceiling’s width to calculate the square footage and the amount of ceiling paint you will need, separate from the walls.

Add 10 percent to cover any mistakes in your calculations or potential problems. This way, you know you’ll have enough paint to finish the job. An online paint calculator can give you an exact amount of product to purchase.

Buy the Right Paint for the Space

One of the most important things to do before you start your project is choosing the correct paint. Flat and matte finishes may be cheaper, but they are harder to clean than an eggshell or satin finish.

Consider how the space will be used for your lifestyle. A high-traffic area, where children and dogs will spend a lot of time, needs a more durable paint than a bathroom. Ceiling paint is thicker than wall paint and grips the surface with fewer drips.

“Some paint is more durable and washable than others,” Watson says. “Some are designed to smoothly cover an interior with rich hues and specific types of sheens, and some paints can help sanitize or reduce odors.”

How To Paint the Interior of the House

Before you begin, prepare your walls for painting. Use a good cleaner-degreaser (read the label to see if it should be diluted) or an emulsifying soap to thoroughly wash the walls and any painted trim. Rinse the walls with clean water and allow them to dry thoroughly.

This is a good time to patch any holes with a wall repair patch kit. Sand any patches, scuffs, gouges or other imperfections to create a smooth surface. Finally, wipe the walls again with a clean, damp rag to remove any remaining dust.

Time to start painting! Start at the top and move down. Paint the ceiling, then the walls. Finish the trim and doors last.

Kimberley McGee
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist based in Las Vegas. She specializes in health and wellness, food, travel, real estate and home improvement and decor trends. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, People, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today's Parent and dozens of other publications. McGee can create a variety of content, including articles, blogs, case studies, newsletters, and more. She has a knack for capturing the tone and authentic voice to tell a brand's stories.