How Much Does It Cost To Paint A House?

How much does it cost to paint the interior of a house?

Painters working interiorHow much does it cost to paint the interior of a house comes with numerous options and variables.  Just to throw out several $1.50-$.500 a square ft doesn’t help determine a budget.

With over thirty years in the painting industry and I can tell that the cost to paint a house varies depending on many factors besides the size.

But we will widdle away through each variable until you have a fair market value of what it should cost to paint the interior of your house.


There are a lot of factors that will ultimately affect the cost of painting an interior home.  A painting contractor who says he can paint any room for, say, $500.00 without seeing it is absurd.  It would equivalent to a used car salesperson who says he can sell you a car for $5,000.  Obviously, they could, but what are you getting?  It’s impossible to get a professional painting estimate without viewing the room and speaking to the customer.  Why? There are just too many questions that need to be discussed, and a visual inspection beforehand is imperative to giving an accurate interior painting estimate.

Variables That Determine How Much Does It Cost To Paint A House

Prep work for painting

What Do You Need to be Painted?

Do the ceilings need to be painted?   The average cost to paint one coat on the ceiling is about .50 a square foot.

How about painting the closets?  If so, factor in $50.00 per closet.  The cost to paint a walk-in-closet can exceed a typical bedroom price due to all the required brushwork.

How much trim needs to be painted? Do you have any crown molding, chair rail, wanes cote, built-ins that also need to be painted?  Any of these molding add time, which increases the average cost of painting a home.

Will you be painting the walls a different color or sheen than the ceilings?  If so, this will add cost to the painting job.  If not, make sure you tell the painting contractor to factor this convenience into the cost of painting the home.

Additional Variables That Will Also Affect The Cost To Paint A House

Ben Moore Paint AuraWhat grade of paint do you want? A typical interior gallon of paint can vary between $20.00 per gallon for a mid-grade or up to $65.00 for a premium grade.

Is there a lot of stuff in the room to be painted? Can it be pushed to the center, or is it better to remove it from the room?  Having a cluttered room slows productivity and increases costs.  This is especially true when you want the ceilings painted.

Are you changing colors or sheen? If so, you better count on applying 2 coats.  Keep in mind that when applying the second coat of paint, you will need almost twice the amount of paint.  Click here for the paint calculator. 

How about the prep work? Is there drywall tape peeling, cracks, holes patches, etc.?


Besides the size of the painting project, the labor rate will play an enormous role in painting a house.

Besides the size of the home, the last major factor is the labor rate.  This makes a huge impact on the total cost of painting your home.     The average cost of a painting contractor varies across the country from $40.00 – $85.00.  That’s a big difference.   For the sake of this blog,  I’m going to split the difference and use an interior painting rate of $55.00 per working hour.

Many customers have said to me, “I’ve gotten a few painting estimates, and the prices are all over the place! Why such a large difference ?”  It’s an excellent question.

Here are the top 4 Reasons why you have gotten a wide range of prices to paint your home:


Professional painting estimate


Inexperienced in estimating – some people are just not good at estimating, or maybe they low bid because they are out of work and desperate.

Overlooked the amount of prep work – it’s not uncommon for estimators to not pay attention to all the prep work involved in getting your home up to professional standards.

Comparing apple to oranges – make sure the estimates include the same number of coats, the same quality of paint, and painting the same areas. If you are getting rooms with closets painted, make sure all proposals include those types of details.

Chuck and a Truck – Chuck is an unlicensed, uninsured contractor who works out of his truck. He has no Workers Comp and General liability and perhaps works under the table.  These contractors’ prices can easily be 35% less than a legitimate licensed professional contractor.  For these types of contractors called “Chuck and a Truck,” reliability, communication, and quality of work can be hit or missed.  I’ll just say buyer beware.


Yes, those are many factors and variables to consider, but they all will factor into the cost of painting a home.  It is why a one size fits all price just can’t be given over the phone.  It is necessary to see the rooms’ condition and determine the customers’ needs so an accurate painting estimate can be calculated.

The prices listed below are for labor only and are calculated at a labor rate of $55.00 per working hour.  Your hourly rate may vary depending on your location.

Interior Estimating Price Chart

Area to be painted Per floor sq. ft
One coat on walls includes minor prep work $1.25
Two coats on walls include minor prep work $1.75
One coat on the ceiling includes minor prep work     .50
Two coats on the ceiling include minor prep work     .75
Cathedral ceilings one coat $1.00
One coat Baseboard, doors, window trim     .90
Two coats base board, doors, window trim $1.40


Other Factors
A typical bedroom closet (per coat) $50.00
Crown molding per linear ft $1.25
Chair rail per linear ft $1.10
Risers on the staircase (Per riser) $5.00
Spindle (square stock ) per spindle $3.00
House is empty, then deduct  –  .60
House is full add   +.60
Holes in walls (per patch) $25.00


The prices do not include the paint.  When calculating the cost for interior paint in your estimate, factor in about 15% of your labor cost for mid-grade paint and 25% for premium grade paint.  In other words, if you think your labor cost will be around $3000.00, add another $450.00 for mid-grade paint and $750.00 for premium grade paint.

Klappenberger& Son will always gladly give you an estimate for free.  Our estimates are detailed, fair, and prompt.  We definitely want to suggest the right products and procedures give you exactly what you are looking for.

Comparing Pprofessional painting contractorsainting Estimates

What should you do if you get 4 painting estimates and they look as follows:

Painting Contractor #1 $2,700.00

#2 $4,300.00

#3 $4,600.00

#4 $6,100.00

Before you snag painting contractor #1 like a $100.00 bill lying in a deserted parking lot, I’d like to share with you few words of caution besides my little “buyer beware” that I mentioned previously.  I have gone back and completed so many jobs from low ball bidders, maybe well-intentioned painting contractors who just made an honest mistake, but they ended up not finishing the job.  They either walk-off the job or asked for more money to complete the project.  Some contractors promise to come back and finish, but it takes forever, and the customer/contractor relationship turns ugly.  The customers rarely, if ever, sue because they know he has no money.  He’s Chuck in a truck, and it’s time to move on.

The cost listed above are fair and reasonable estimates and will make no one rich.  My goal is to take my Honey Bunny out for dinner on a Saturday night, and if she wants to get the mozzarella sticks for an appetizer – it won’t bust the bank.  The prices listed above are just what it takes to get a professional painting job done by a professional painter.


I recommend checking the references of both Contractor #2 and #3.  Contractor #4 is probably fishing.

Then choose who you feel most comfortable with between #2 and #3

COVID-19 Update: Klappenberger & Son Is Still Open For Business

Klappenberger & Son is still open for business during COVID-19