Ask IT: How Much Should I Budget for Painting?


We just purchased an older home in a neighborhood that we love and will be moving in shortly.  The house needs a fair bit of work, but most of the projects will have to wait for a few month/years until we can afford them.  One thing we did want to do before we move in though is repaint the living room, dining room, and hallway (it’s an open concept bungalow, so everything is connected and will be the same color).  We will be buying one of your “PaintIT” packages to help us with the color, but we were wondering how to budget for the paint, materials, and labor for the project as well (we aren’t sure if we will do the work ourselves or hire pros).  Any tips on the cost of painting a room?


Tarzana, CA


Hi Shirley,

Thanks for your question.  Painting is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to create a whole new look in a room, and it’s a great way to create a fresh slate when moving into a new home.  As far as the actual cost of the job, it will vary quite a bit depending on certain factors (the type of paint you use, the application method, the condition of the walls) but here are some general guidelines to follow for creating your painting budget:

– Expect to spend about $100-$150 on the basic equipment you’ll need, like brushes, rollers, paint trays, drop cloths, and drywall filler.

– Interior latex paint will average about $30/gallon.  Our friends at Benjamin Moore include a handy Paint Calculator to help you determine the amount of paint you require, depending on the square footage of the area you wish to paint.

– Hiring professional painters will run you in the neighborhood of $2-$5/sq ft. (plus the cost of paint) depending on the condition of the space.  This pricing is for two coats of paint, not including ceilings.  If a great deal of patchwork or priming is required, or if the painters are required to move furniture expect to pay an additional $50/hr.

You can also check out our How to do IT: Painting a Room guide on the TOOLS page for more helpful tips.  Good luck with your project.  We’d love to see photos of the new room when you’re done!


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