How much does it cost to paint a living room?

a room with a wood floor and a painting on the wall


Changing the color of a space is one of the quickest and most effective ways to spruce it up. The average price per square foot to paint a room is between $2 and $6.

The cost of hiring professional painters to paint the interior of your home is approximately 75% to 85% of the total bill. In order to get a good pricing estimate for painting your living room, keep in mind the size of the room, the type of paint, the number of coats of paint required, and other variables.

Factors influencing the cost of painting a living room

A room’s color scheme can be decided upon in a variety of ways. Knowing the differences might help you stay on track with your budget.

Some factors include:

1. Size of the Room

Size is the most significant issue, and the size of the space determines the cost of the materials. Two coats of paint are advised for each room, and one gallon of paint will cover about 400 square feet.

Professional painters may be able to provide more accurate quotes if you have the dimensions of the room to hand.

2. Wall Height

The more the square footage, the more the surface to paint. Walls taller than 10 feet, which is the average height of a story, often cost more per square foot to paint.

This is because painters will need equipment to facilitate the painting of out-of-reach areas and thus more safety precautions.

3. Geographic location

Depending on where you live, you can expect to pay different fees for painting services. You may have to pay more if you live in a location where the cost of living is high.

You can save costs by hiring your local painters, who may even get good deals from local supply stores.

4. Paint finish

Prices vary depending on the level of sheen, whereby the price will rise in direct proportion to the degree of glossiness. The cost of buying paint changes depending on the brand and the few typical finishes available:

Flat or eggshell paint is a popular choice for living rooms. A flat finish is more difficult to keep clean and doesn’t reflect any light, while for an eggshell finish, clean-up is a breeze making it ideal for high-traffic areas of the home like the living room.

How to estimate the cost of painting a living room

It is good to have a rough estimate of you much you will need for a painting project. This can be made less complicated with the help of a professional painter that can give a quote after a visit.

Measure the size of the walls by multiplying the linear measurements of the width and height. The total square footage excludes areas you won’t paint, such as the windows and the doors.

When a painter gives an estimate:

It includes the transport costs of materials, cost of the materials, cost of labor, and clean-up. This is generally the before and after of a painting project.

It excludes the costs to remove, fix or change existing structures and the costs for testing and dealing with hazardous materials such as lead. It also excludes the permit and inspection fees required for the project.

Before signing a contract with a painter, be sure to know what is included in the quote and what is not. Have the included items written down in the contract too.

The cost of painting a living room

Most of the time, the living room is the most spacious room in a house, and houses are of different types and sizes. This being, the cost of painting these living rooms varies accordingly.

1. The size of the room

The most common way painters charge is through price per square foot. The size of your living room determines the amount of paint you will use, which may increase with each extra coat of paint.

You will typically require two coats of paint after priming if you want a long-lasting paint coat. There are paint and primer in one product which may be applicable for some situations, but it is recommended that you use them separately for a more durable finish.

The cost to paint a living room is about $1-$3 per square foot and $3-$6 per square foot inclusive of the ceilings and trim. The cost of painting crown moldings, trim, and baseboards may cost you about $0.50 per linear foot for DIY painting and $1-$4 for professional painting.

For DIY painting, this cost reduces significantly since labor accounts for most of the cost. You will therefore spend about $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot for the DIY project, which mostly constitutes the materials.

The cost of painting a 12 by 12 living room is about $2-$6 per square foot for a professional and $1.5-$3.5 per square foot for a DIY painting. If you choose to apply two coats of paint, you should increase the price by 50%-100%, depending on how much the second coat will use up.

2. The type of paint

The type of paint you go for impacts the cost. There are two commonly used paints for interior painting that differ in composition and properties that impact their ease of use. They include:

  • Oil-based paint

Oil-based paints are thicker and more difficult to use. They require mineral solvents to thin and take longer to dry.

They, however, adhere better to surfaces and offer more firm finishes with fewer defects like brush marks and bubbles.

  • Latex paint

Latex paint is good for interior painting since it is thinned with water. They have less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) compared to oil-based paints.

A gallon of paint costs about $15 to $50 per gallon, with oil-based paints costing about $20 to $60 per gallon. You can get 400 square feet of coverage from a gallon of paint.

A gallon of primer costs about $20 to $80 per gallon but varies with type. Oil-based primers cost $20 to $50 per gallon, while shellac primers cost anywhere between $20 and $60 per gallon.

Choosing the types of paint

You can save money by picking the right type of paint and applying it with care since choosing various paint colors can increase the expense of your project. Eggshell and matte paints are typically less expensive than high- or semi-gloss paints.

3. Room customizations

It’s not just one color and one design that can be used in painting. Various techniques can be used when painting living rooms to add more life and color to the walls.

Some of the painting techniques and designs include;

  • Textured walls

Textured walls bring a flat wall to life by giving it a 3D look and feel. They generally take up more paint, and you will definitely not use a gallon for 400 square feet.

They cost about $0.80 to $2.00 per square foot and about 70% more to re-texture a wall which includes removing the previous texture.

  • Accent walls

An accent wall is often the wall you see when you enter a room. A room should have a focal point which may sometimes be a fireplace or a TV wall, or you can make one by having an accent wall.

They draw the attention of the room and can be decorated in many ways. You should buy smaller amounts of paint for the secondary color or the color you won’t predominantly use.

  • Two-toned walls

Two-toned walls differ from accent walls in that accent walls have only one wall with two different colors. The cost of painting using this design is fairly simple with just a few extra costs like materials and labor costs.

To calculate how much paint you will need, find the total area you want to paint, then divide it by two, which gives the cost of each color for equal-colored walls. You get about 400 square feet of surface coverage from a gallon of paint, and you can use this to calculate how many gallons of each color you need.

4. Additional costs

You may have to pay for paint disposal if there is excess paint, especially if you are DIY painting. You should never dispose of paint by pouring it down the drain, even if it is water-soluble.

Paint should be disposed of at a local hazardous waste facility or stored out of the reach of pets and children and out of direct sunlight. That is if you’re planning to reuse the paint; you never know what painting project will come next.

Lead testing and disposal may be required for older houses. Asbestos removal could cost about $5 to $20 per square foot, while lead paint removal could cost about $8 – $15 per square foot.

The Average Cost to DIY Paint a Living Room

If you are keen on taking a new, Do It Yourself (DIY) project in order to save some money, it is going to cost less than it would have been to hire a professional painter. However, keep in mind if you don’t have some of these paint supplies at hand already that, you will add to the project costs.

Secondly, if your living room needs more preparation of work than usual, that will also add to the costs via things like spackle, drywall repair, and more.

Moreover, in case you have some of this stuff already, then your total cost will just include the gallons of paint you will need to buy to do the job.

To begin DIY painting, you may require the following tools and materials. They are included in the following list, which gives approximate prices that may vary from store to store and the brand. You may need some of the items on the list, but if you have them, the cheaper your project becomes.

  • Drop Cloths – $15
  • Painter’s Tape – $10
  • Paint Brushes – $15
  • Painting Roller Frame – $12
  • Putty Knife (for clearing paint drips) – $10
  • Paint Roller Covers – $15
  • Paint Tray – $10
  • Sandpaper (for clearing imperfections) – $10
  • Disposable Painter’s Masks – $25
  • Disposable Painting Gloves – $12
  • Safety Goggles – $15

Depending on the size of your living room and the painting design, you may need more gallons of paint which is also determined by the number of coats you apply.

How to save money when painting a living room

Painting a living room adds color to the room, and you should not be restricted to one color. You can repaint your living room every 5 to 7 years for a change.

Painting can, however, be a costly project, and there are a few things you can do to reduce the overall project cost. Some of them include:

Do what you can; cleaning, surface preparation, and moving furniture

  • Make a strategy and stick to it
  • Get different quotes from different painters
  • Use a paint calculator
  • Hire a professional painter. Correcting faulty paint jobs is an expensive task.
  • Use a good primer
  • Choose your finish carefully
  • Pick the right color and carefully apply it. The more colors you choose, the more you will spend on paint.


What is the order when painting a living room wall?

Paint drips from up to the bottom of a wall due to gravity. To avoid drip marks on your wall, it is advisable to work from the top going down, which ensures you see any drip marks and correct any drips as you paint.

If you are painting a room, start with the ceiling first, then the walls, and finish with the floor. Always finish at the room’s entrance so as not to get tangled up in any tight spots.

How can I paint a room with high ceilings?

If you don’t already own or don’t want to invest in a ladder, renting one is a cost-effective option if you need to paint your ceiling. Buying a ladder is a long-term investment since you can also use it when doing home duties such as changing light bulbs.

A paint roller extension pole makes painting hard-to-reach locations easier to paint. You should use a ladder regardless since extension poles may flex in the middle when extended.

Pain roller coverings can be loaded with paint to avoid returning to the paint tray often.

How much does it cost to paint a living room?

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