What Does it Cost to Paint Your House and How to Save

A fresh coat of paint can make your home look and feel brand new. While it’s one of the most affordable updates homeowners can make, painting your home still comes at a cost.

According to HomeAdvisor, professional painters charge $2-$6 per square foot for interior jobs. Most jobs, however, average $3.50 per square foot. For the average 2,300 square foot home, you’ll pay between $4,000 and $11,000. For a single room, expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $1,000.

Armed with some basic knowledge, you can keep painting costs at a minimum, even if you hire out the job.

Understand Painting Costs

Painting costs vary on:

  • Where you live
  • What paint product you use
  • What material you’re painting over

Painting expenses fall into two basic categories: cost of materials and cost of labor.

Keep Labor Costs Down

Labor is a big portion of the total cost. Here are some ways you can keep labor costs down.

Get Multiple Bids

Get recommendations from friends, aggregator sites like Angie’s List, or your local paint or hardware store. (Paintzen offers a price match guarantee for comparable quotes, just ask your Project Advisor.) But don’t just compare costs. Make sure you look at what is being offered: insurance, customer service, timeline, etc.

Ask each painter about preparation and painting. Get the names of the products they’ll use, how many coats they’ll apply and the cost for any additional coats.

Have a Contract

This doesn’t have to be a multipage document. Even a couple of sentences will do, such as: “We’ll use one coat of primer and put two coats of paint. We’ll use Pittsburgh Paints eggshell, color to be determined.” The most important thing is to get it in writing.

DIY Part of the Job

While the paint is cheap, prep-work is expensive. The more work you can do upfront, the more you’ll save when it comes time to paint. Here are some tasks you can do beforehand to keep costs down:

  • Move the furniture
  • Clean the walls, patch holes, and sand rough spots

Don’t Wait Till You See Peeling Paint

Visible signs of wear, like flaking and peeling paint, mean extra work. Painting more frequently – every 10 years instead of every 15, for example – can save you time and money in the long run.

Reduce the Cost of Materials

After labor, materials are the second biggest painting cost. Paint runs $20-$70 or more per gallon, depending on the grade, the sheen (eggshell, matte, gloss) and special features like mold resistance or odor suppression.

Here are some ways you can keep down the costs of materials.

Use Mid-Grade Paint

Most painters recommend a mid-grade acrylic, which works on most surfaces, wears well and is affordable. For rooms used less often or that are used primarily for storage, like a garage or basement, you can go down a paint grade.

Keep the Same (or Similar) Colors

By choosing colors that are the same or similar to your existing colors, you may be able to get away with a single coat – assuming that the surface is in good condition.

Also, plan to spend more on bright colors or jewel tones. They may need more coats to cover well. If you want a brighter color, stepping up your paint grade to a premium paint will help you finish the job with fewer coats.

You can get started by getting a free quote from Paintzen.

Kelley Rebori

Kelley Rebori has written for national brands like Paintzen, HGTV, the DIY Network and Trulia for more than a decade. She loves home renovation projects, chocolate icing and small poodles. She and her husband split the year between their homes in Tennessee and Italy.