How much does it cost to paint a room?

interior paint prep

Seems like a pretty simple question, right?  So, let’s try to give a simple answer. Let’s start with an example, a room with smooth drywall (wallboard, plasterboard, gypsum board) walls, and with the dimensions of 12 X 12 feet, with a standard 8 foot ceiling height. That’s 4 walls, 12 feet wide by 8 feet high. 12’x8’ = 96’, X 4 = 384 square feet of wall surface. Now let’s assume that there is one standard sized door opening, about 3’X7’, and at least one window of 3’X5’, and subtract those square feet from our total. 3’X7’ = 21 sqft, and 3’X5′ = 15 sqft.

384 -21 -15 = 348 sqft

The variables in this process include:
Paint color
Paint type
Surface preparation

Again, for simplicity in our example, let’s assume that we are repainting with a color and sheen (flat, eggshell, etc…) that is similar to the existing color and sheen. Preparation can vary a great deal, and is the main influence on the labor cost factor. Most of the time, this factor varies between $.80 and $1.50 per square foot of painting surface. Therefore, our labor cost for this room varies between $278.40 and $522.00.

Materials are approximately $48 – $70/gallon for a good, quality wall paint from Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams. For 348 square feet of surface area we can estimate approximately 1 gallon per coat of paint. For 2 coats we can figure $96 – $140 for paint.

interior stair

Adding our labor and materials costs together gives us a range between $374.40 and $662.00 to paint the walls of this room. This doesn’t include the trim, doors, ceiling, closets or windows. Most of our clients will want some or all of these items added to the project when painting.

Some other variables include:

  • Moving furniture – we are happy to move most furniture as needed, but some may require professional movers or special consideration, depending on the furniture.
  • Height/difficulty – higher ceilings, stairways or other difficult areas can add to the labor cost, as well as to the overall square feet of wall area.
  • Priming – If priming is necessary, we should add the cost of the appropriate primer product and another coat to our labor cost.
  • Repairs/water damage – we can provide most repairs to walls and ceilings, but if there is an underlying cause, like a water leak, this will need addressing first.
  • Wall type or texture – there are many surface types that may require more time and materials
  • Drying time – different paints require different drying times that may extend the duration of a project

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