The Easy Way to Know What it Costs to Paint the Interior of a House

The idea of tackling an interior painting project probably leaves you feeling one of two ways: like a DIY boss or completely overwhelmed. There are many factors to take into consideration when you’re deciding whether to hire a painter or paint your own home. And there are even more variables once you decide to channel your inner Chip and Joanna.

Other than the feeling of satisfaction of getting your hands dirty (or paint-covered), one of the primary motivators in painting the interior of your home yourself is likely working with a budget. But in order to determine the cost, you need to understand all of the expenses. Here’s where our expertise comes into play.

(For tips on saving dollars and cents check out: Painting on a Budget? Check out These Practical Cost-Saving Tips)

1. Calculating the Average Cost to Paint the Interior of Your Home

According to Home Advisor, you can paint an average ten-by-twelve-foot room in your home for about $100-300. This gives you a baseline based on how many rooms you have in your home. However, there are numerous factors that can impact the cost. For example, bathrooms have far fewer areas to paint because of tubs, showers and cabinets. And while your kitchen may be one of the larger rooms in your home, fixed appliances, cabinets, and tilework may dramatically reduce the amount of paint your kitchen requires.

Other factors that affect that average include the cost of supplies, how much paint you’ll need, the geographic region you’re in, and the quality of the paint you purchase.

In order to get more specific, let’s do some more math to determine how much paint you’ll need.

how many gallons of paint

2. How Many Gallons of Paint Will I Need?

Maybe you’re a math whiz or it’s possible that the idea of figuring out how much paint you need is beyond your pay grade. Let us share a tool that will make your job easier: the paint calculator. Both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have online calculators that will help you estimate how much paint you should buy based on room dimensions and the number of doors and windows.

If you’re looking to keep it simple, the calculator from Benjamin Moore allows for less input, and gives you an estimate based on using two coats of paint.

If your rooms have textured walls and architectural details, the paint calculator by Sherwin Williams allows for greater customization, however assumes a one-coat application.

When you think about painting a room it’s natural to go right to the walls, especially if you’ve been dreaming about a big color change. However, don’t neglect the trim. That new color will only look fantastic if your doors, windows, ceilings, cabinetry, baseboards and any molding get a fresh coat as well.

If you plan to prime your walls, especially if you’re switching from a dark color to a lighter one, you’ll need to add primer (which can cost $12-20/gallon) into your costs.

3. What Type of Paint Should I Buy?

So now that you have run the numbers and know how many gallons of paint you need, how much will that paint cost? This varies wildly based on the quality.

According to Home Advisor, house brand or budget paint from your local hardware or big box store can cost $20-30 per gallon. However, a designer paint, such as Farrow & Ball, can cost $125 per gallon. If you multiply the difference across many rooms and several gallons it may add an additional several hundred dollars to your spend.
While you don’t necessarily need to splurge on a luxury paint to get a great finish, higher-quality paint will get you better coverage. Better coverage means fewer coats and a more polished result. (Insider tip: At Memphis-based Riggins Painting we use both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams.)

The sheen you choose will also affect price. In some cases there will be a $2-3 increase per gallon as you progress from matte to eggshell to satin to semi gloss. (If you’re wondering “what paint sheen should I choose?” we have a blog just for you.)

painting supplies

4. What Painting Supplies Will I Need to Buy?

Have you ever stared blankly at a wall of rollers and brushes in a hardware store with no idea where to begin? Natural or synthetic bristles? One inch or four inch brushes? The choices can be daunting and all of them affect the cost. (Sherwin Willams has some good tips on which brushes are best for which parts of your painting project.)

Not to mention, you may be confused about which tools you actually need versus which products are gimmicky. Here is our list of “must-haves” when painting your own home:

  • Brushes
  • Rollers, roller trays, and extension poles, if needed.
  • A ladder
  • Drop cloths
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wall repair supplies including spackling, a putty knife, and sandy sponges (if you have nail holes or patch work.)

Bob Vila shares approximate prices here, however given the large variation in cost it may be best to do your own local research.

Pro tip: Save your receipts and don’t take anything out of the packaging until you need it. This way if you end up with unused, unopened brushes, rollers, or trays you can return them.

5. Time May Be Your Biggest Expense

There is one cost to painting the interior of your house that we can’t figure out for you but may be the most important one: your time!

DIY Painting Tips has a very thorough formula for how to determine the time it takes to paint a room based on multiplying the square footage by the minutes spent on each task. These tasks include prep work such as taping and draping, drywall repair, priming the walls, painting and cutting in the trim, and clean-up. (Warning: you may find the steps a bit overwhelming, however it’s best to have a clear understanding of the scope of a home painting project before you get started, especially if it involves multiple rooms.

Only you can decide if you have the time in your schedule to devote to painting your home yourself, as well as taking on any related stress.

How Much Does a Professional Painter Cost?

Painters generally give free estimates. Why not see what it would cost to have a professional paint the interior of your house? Not only can they share their knowledge to help you pick the perfect color and finish, but they have all of the tools and experience to deliver a result that only an expert can.

If you’re in the Greater Memphis area, we’d love to talk to you about how we can transform your house into the home of your dreams. Schedule your free estimate today.

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