Painting the interior walls is one of the most dramatic changes you can make to your home. Whether you hire someone to paint for you or you DIY it, painting is one of the less expensive and more instantly transformative home improvement projects you can do.
So what does it cost to paint a house?
Well, that depends on how you do it and what you buy. We’ll give you price ranges for a few different options so you make an informed decision based on your budget.
Just the paint:
Depending on the brand quality and type of paint, you can expect to pay between $13-60 per gallon. A 12x12 room will require about 2 gallons for full coverage, so you may need up to $120 worth paint. Higher quality paint will require fewer coats, and provide more even coverage.
If you want to leave the hard work to the pros, a painting company will typically charge $1-3 per square foot for an average room. If you’ve got vaulted ceilings or an otherwise complicated space, they may charge a little more.
Do It Yourself:
You’ll need to do the following if you’re going to DIY it:
- Clear the room
- Clean cobwebs, dust etc.
- Cover the floor with a drop cloth
- Patch and sand holes
- Tape the molding, ceiling, door and window frames, doorknobs, etc. with painters tape
- Remove electrical outlet panes
Hauling out furniture, covering floors and taping aren’t the most fun things in the world to do, but painting can be kind of cathartic.
Low-End Estimate for Interior House Painting
DIY: About $40 for a 12x12 room.
Paint and labor: About $200 for a 12x12 room.
High-End Estimate for Interior House Painting
DIY: About $120 for a 12x12 room.
Paint and labor: About $475 for a 12x12 room.
Additional costs to painting your interior
Materials you’ll need: Paint, primer, brushes, rollers, rolling handles, buckets, drop cloths, paint pans, tape, plaster filler, sandpaper.
Primer: If you are painting over a dark color, a glossy finish, or a material like dark wood, you’ll need to use 1-2 coats of primer.
Cost of moving furniture: Some painting companies will charge to move furniture for you, especially if you have any furniture or appliances that are particularly heavy or need to be disassembled.
Painting detail work: A professional painter may charge you extra if there are intricate details, such as crown molding, baseboards, or designs like stripes or outlining. If you want detail work, be sure to ask up front about additional costs you may incur.
Organic paint: You may notice when shopping for paints that some brands advertise a lower percentage of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), which have been linked to environmental and health issues. These paints will probably be more expensive, so do your homework to make sure you get what you pay for in your paint.
Lead-Based Paint: If you have a home built before the 1980’s, you could very likely have lead-based paint on your walls, window frames, etc. This should be checked and removed by a professional. Removing lead based paint can be dangerous, and you want to stay away from getting it in your system. Read more about lead-based paint from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website.
Other things to consider...
Time: Painting a single room can take as little as a half-day, but an entire house can take up to a week or more, depending on the size of the home.
Mess: Most of the paint drips and mess can be contained to clothing and drop cloths if you’re careful enough. The messiest part of painting is cleaning at the end of the day and putting back any furniture, fixtures and decorations you may have moved in the process. Want an estimate? There’s no harm in having someone come out and give you a professional opinion. Take a look at our list of Atlanta painters and make a smart decision. Need some color inspiration? Check out our article on Paint Color Trends of 2015.