How Much Does Interior Painting Cost? We’ll Show You the Formulas the Pros Use

Deciding to paint the interior of your home can be equal parts exciting and overwhelming. Paint can transform rooms from dull to dazzling. It can take away years of wear and tear and add value to your home in return on investment. But there are also the questions: How do I decide between 30 shades of greige? How much does interior painting cost? How do I find the best painter in Shelby County? 

Once you’ve researched professional painters, the next step is getting an interior home estimate. But how do you know if the bid is honest and reasonable? 

Frankly, when homeowners hire contractors they likely have some anxiety about affordability and transparency in pricing. Is it cheaper to DIY? Will the painters honor their initial bid? Are there hidden charges? How are they even coming up with the estimate?

cost of interior painting

How Much Do Interior Painters Charge and Why?

If you feel a bit naive about what goes into a painting estimate, you’re not alone. Chances are if you ask multiple neighbors how much they paid to have the interior of their homes painted you’d receive a wide range of prices. So, just how do painters determine the cost of interior painting?

Some painters charge by the hour and some charge by the project. Some painters will consider some jobs “too small.” If you plan to hire a residential painter, it’s worth not only thinking about updating your new home office but what other spaces are overdue for a fresh coat while you have a contractor on site. Also, if you have an open concept, you want to have a consistent, clean, coordinated look which is hard to achieve if you only paint the kitchen and ignore the adjoining family room.

We certainly can’t speak for every residential painter, but we can point you to some objective criteria that reputable painters should use to calculate the cost. This will help you know the right questions to ask about a painting estimate and give you confidence in hiring a professional.

How to Estimate and Interior Paint Job: PCA Standards

There are 25 industry standards the Painting Contractors Association (PCA) has developed that address everything from color designation, prep work, inspections, and the removal of wall coverings. These benchmarks also provide professional painters with a calculator to help them determine the amount of time that specific projects should take based on measuring the surface areas. The formula can be used to figure out the amount of time it takes to paint a wall based on square footage. Or how many minutes it takes to paint a 6-panel door. 

Other standards set forth by the PCA include unit pricing based on the number of windows and doors in a home and how many gallons of paint are needed for the job based on spread rates on various surfaces.

The PCA guidelines give painters a fair approach to estimates based on objective criteria and we adhere to them at Riggins Painting.

Three Factors that Impact Interior Paint Cost

  1. Size matters. 

Painters typically charge $1.50 to $4 per square foot of coverage area based on the number of gallons needed. It’s not as simple as breaking out your tape measure and determining the room size. When you account for doorways and fixtures such as cabinetry, fireplaces, and bathtubs, the actual coverage area may be smaller if you’re only painting the walls. If you have vaulted ceilings in the living room, the coverage area will be larger and the job will require scaffolding.

  1. Prep work and pricing. 

While the size of the job matters, so does time. Do you want popcorn ceilings or wallpaper removed? Are you painting sheetrock? Are you covering oil-based paint? Will the painter be moving furniture? Has there been water damage? 

  1. Details, details.

In addition to windows and doors, trim work such as wainscoting, fireplaces, mantles, and baseboards can impact the cost of your interior painting job. If you’re painting or staining cabinets or banisters there will be additional costs.

A Tale of Two Living Room Painting Jobs

To make this all a little less abstract, let’s look at two 350-square-foot living rooms with very different painting price tags

interior painter cost
professional interior painters

Living Room A $500

  • All walls are the same color
  • No fireplace
  • Three windows

Living Room B $2250

  • Removal of wallpaper
  • Fireplace with a mantle on an accent wall
  • Built-in cabinet and ornate trim to be painted
  • Paint change from oil-based to latex

As you can see, while the size is a starting point it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Prep work, detail work, paint changes, and the cost of supplies all impact your final number. In fact, at the time of publication, there are supply chain issues impacting paint manufacturing and costs that are passed onto the consumer.

Professional Interior Painters: The Riggins Difference

At Riggins Painting, we pride ourselves on both excellence and honesty. We start with the Painting Contractors of America industry standards as the foundation of our price painting estimates. Our contractors are licensed, fully insured, and committed to excellence in both results and your customer experience. 

We are proud to serve families in Memphis and nearby communities including Germantown, Collierville, Eads, Lakeland, Arlington, Bartlett, and Cordova.

Schedule your free painting consultation and estimate today. We look forward to meeting you and transforming your house into one you can’t wait to come home to.

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