Painting a room inside your home is a fun way to refresh a space or change up the vibe, and if you’re just doing a color change, it’s a relatively simple DIY. What if you want to paint more than one room? Or what if your walls need a little more work than just a color change? Perhaps your kids insisted on playing tennis inside the house, leaving dents and dings in places you never thought possible.
When the job starts to get a little tricky, it might be time to think about bringing in a professional. But how much does it cost to paint the interior of your home?
"The beautiful thing about painting is that it’s an economical way to brighten up your space," Jonathan Rios of Rios Interiors Corp says.
Meet the Expert
Jonathan Rios is the founder of Rios Interiors Corp. He is a general contractor specializing in interior remodeling and has been painting professionally for over 15 years in the New York City area.
Rios says interior paint pricing can depend on several different factors: whether it’s a commercial or residential job, the state of the walls, the material of the walls, and your geographic location. We round up his insight and tips for ensuring the best interior paint job for your home.
Average Pricing for Interior Painting
For commercial spaces, Rios says most contractors usually price based on square footage. For residential painting jobs, he takes a few more factors into account and prices based on the scope of the project.
He notes that each team prices a little differently and you should be cautious of this when researching. “There are other teams and contractors that charge 70 cents for painting and charge 35 cents for sanding and prepping,” he explains.
In general, painters can charge anywhere from 90 cents to $2.50 per square foot to paint, according to Rios, including spot priming and two coats of finished paint.
In the New York City area, where Rios is based, he says you can expect a 250 square foot area to cost around $500-$600 for a basic paint-and-repair job. “That basically includes buying the residential paint, prepping the walls for paint, and the materials: tape, sandpaper, plastic, and compound, primer," Rios notes.
This pricing also takes into account minor repairs, like caulking small cracks and fixing minor damage. Rios says a more in-depth paint job might include fixing hairline cracks in the ceiling or walls, larger repairs that would need fiber tape or mesh to fix, and also caulking, priming, and painting.
However, there are a few other wild cards that come into play when pricing your interior home for a paint job, and this might explain why you might get varied quotes from different contractors.
Take, for instance, a wall with a hairline crack. A beginning painter might just paint right over it and call it a day. “The painting contractor that has the experience and a solid team that does very good work, that’s when the price is different," Rios says. "I know that once I open that crack, it’s going to be a bigger job."
He says another thing to take into consideration is the material of your walls and trim, or if you’re doing an intricate painting design. Basically, for anything that is going to take more time to prep and paint, expect to pay a little bit more.
How to Save Money When Painting Your Interior
While more prep time equals more money, there’s also an opportunity to save here. When asked how customers could potentially save money on their interior paint job, here is what Rios noted.
Offer to Do Prep Work for a Discount
While Rios does not encourage you to do prep work like taping off trim or buying materials—he says pros get them at cost, so you’re not really helping save money by buying the paint yourself—what you can do is offer to center the furniture, roll up the carpets, and remove any hangings from the wall.
Your painting team might spend a few hours essentially acting as movers: moving your furniture away from the walls and into the center of the room so they can have a clear workspace. By offering to do this for them ahead of time, you might save them some time and yourself some money.
Do Some of the Painting Yourself
While this isn’t number one on his list, if you really want to save some money, you could repaint the walls that just need a color change and leave the walls that need some repair to the professionals.
Rios says to be mindful that the finishes might be a tad different, but if you’re okay with that and would rather save the money, then go for it.
Paint Your Home More Often Than You Think
This may seem counterintuitive, but you should be refreshing the interior paint in your home every 3 to 5 years, according to Rios.
“If you wait ten to fifteen years when the painter does come in, it’s going to cost you much more than if you maintain the space,” he says.
Hire a Good Team
A good painting team will do a good job and you’ll likely get more wear out of your space. So, how do you know if you’re getting a good team? “The contractor should be insured, have references, have a presence online, and have a track record," Rios says.
You want your pro to be insured and have worker’s compensation so that you’re not liable if someone gets hurt on the job. They should have references and good reviews from others.
Rios also notes that if a company has a good online presence, they likely care about their reputation. "Make sure they have an online presence, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok," he says. “Then you know it's not a company that’s going to disappear.”
He also recommends getting multiple quotes and even going to see the painting team in action if it’s possible so that you can see what kind of quality work they’re doing. Do your research, pitch in beforehand if you can, and then enjoy your freshly painted and vibrant space.