Painting Cost per Square Foot: 2023 Pricing Guide (2023)

While some painting jobs bill hourly, having painting costs be estimated per square foot has been slowly accepted in the industry.

As an average painting cost, you can expect to pay $3.50 per square foot, this estimate includes the labor costs and material costs.

By calculating per square foot, it is easier for you to have a ballpark overall cost for your painting project. You must note that professionals normally charge differently for painting a room, ceilings, and other trimmings.

Painting Cost per Square Foot: 2023 Pricing Guide (1)

What we cover

Cost to paint a room

When you give your room a paint makeover, you can enhance the way it looks and would give you a fresher and brighter space to live in. The cost to have this may depend on the type of paint, the type of finish, and the size of your room.

As a ballpark cost, painting a room can range between $2 to $6 per square foot, including labor and materials. On average, you can expect to spend $3.50 per square foot for a painting job.

In hiring a contractor to do a painting job for a 120-square foot room, you can expect to spend between $200 to $800, this cost range includes the labor cost and material cost).

Painting Cost per Square Foot: 2023 Pricing Guide (2)

Cost to paint a bedroom

Painting a bedroom can range between $2 to $4 per square foot. While this may be a reliable estimate, the final cost can still depend on the size of the room, and the areas to be painted such as the ceiling, trims, and baseboards.

DescriptionQuantityLow-end CostHigh-end Cost
Bedroom Painting Cost10 x 12 sq ft$240$480
Labor Cost4 hours$120$360
Material Cost(per room)$120$180
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Cost to paint a roof

If you want to give the exterior of your house a fresher and more appealing look, you can hire professional painters to do the job for an average cost of $1.50 to $3 per square foot.

The actual cost can vary depending on factors such as the slope of the roof, the size, the type of paint that you want, and the number of hours for the involved labor.

Typically, most painters would charge homeowners anywhere between the range of $1,400 to $3,000 for a standard-sized roof of 1,200 square feet.

As a rule of thumb, it is cheaper to hire a painter to paint a flat roof compared to a sloped roof. If the roof is steeped, the hired painter is exposed to more hazards and risks, which entails more precautionary costs.

Cost to paint a ceiling

On average, homeowners spend around $1 to $2 per square foot. In painting a whole ceiling for a room, you can expect to spend somewhere in the estimated range of $150 to $350.

Note that the estimated costs indicated above are not inclusive of any repair costs or painting costs for surrounding walls. The final cost can depend on their factors. These factors include

Paint used

Since ceiling paint is specifically made for ceiling surfaces, it can be more expensive compared to regular paint.

The brand that you choose will also affect the cost.

Before you decide on the type and brand of your ceiling paint, make sure that you research and select the best type that will offer the best value for your budget.

Total square footage

If you want to save more on costs, it is more efficient to paint more than one ceiling. Doing so would make you save around 10-15% on the total cost.

Choosing to paint a larger area makes you save more per square footage. To do this, you should plan to paint all your ceilings at the same time, if possible.

Ceiling height

Depending on the height of your ceiling, the cost can also vary.

Usually, ceilings have a height of 8 feet. If your ceiling is higher, you may need to add around 9-10% per additional foot.

(Video) Easy FORMULA for Interior Painting Estimate

Other costs and considerations

  • Ceiling Repair Costs
  • Drywall Repair Cost
  • Plaster and Lath Ceiling
  • Drop Tile Ceiling
  • Popcorn or Textured Ceilings

Cost to paint a ceiling depending on its type

Ceiling painting cost also depends on the type of ceiling, e.g., flat ceiling, vaulted ceiling and cathedral ceiling. Find below the average cost to paint a ceiling by type.

Type of CeilingQTYAverage cost range
Flat Ceilingper square foot$1 - $1.2
Popcorn Ceiling or Textured Ceilingper square foot$2 - $3.5
Vaulted Ceilingper square foot$2 - $4
Cathedral Ceilingper square foot$3 - $6

Cost to paint vaulted ceilings

Typically, the size of the ceiling will directly affect the total cost of the entire painting project. Additionally, the height of the ceiling contributes to this as well.

Normally, hired contractors will find it challenging to paint a high ceiling. This would entail additional costs and equipment to do the job efficiently, such as ladders and scaffolding.

With this, the cost to paint high or vaulted ceilings will also increase depending on the height of the ceiling.

For reference, below are the average costs for painting a ceiling depending on its height:

Height of CeilingAverage Cost
per square foot
Average Cost for
a 500 square foot room
8 to 9 feet high$0.50 - $0.75$250 - $375
10 to 12 feet high$0.75 - $1$375 - $500
12 to 18 feet high$1 - $1.5$500 - $750

Cost to paint a cathedral ceiling

Commonly found in churches, cathedral ceilings have two equal sides whose tops meet at the center of the roof. This creates a volume of space and makes the room appear and feel larger.

In painting a cathedral ceiling, you can expect to pay $3 to $6. The cost is notably twice the cost of painting a normal ceiling since the need to have extra ladders and scaffolding is also accounted for, on top of the extensive labor included.

Cost to paint wood ceiling by type

If you have a wood ceiling, it would cost more to paint, and the average cost varies depending on the ceiling type. For instance, cathedral and vaulted ceilings would cost more to paint compared to flat ceilings.

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For reference, below is the cost to paint wood ceilings by type..

Wood ceiling typeQTYAverage cost range
Flat Ceilings Per square foot$3 - $3.50
Vaulted Ceiling Per square foot$4.5 - $6
Cathedral Ceiling Per square foot$5 - $8

Cost to paint a ceiling by type of room


The average cost to paint the ceiling of a 50-square foot bathroom is between $110 to $225. The final cost will depend on the size, and the number of painting coats you need to apply to your bathroom ceiling.


Painting a basement ceiling can be quite a labor-intensive process. Usually, they are open and need to be covered before they can be applied with a coat of paint.

Depending on the size of your basement, you can expect to spend somewhere between the ballpark cost range of $900 to $1,950 to paint the ceiling of your basement.


The cost to have your garage ceiling painted can also depend on the size of its ceiling. Most homeowners pay somewhere between $400 to $1,000.


Having an attractive kitchen can make all the difference in a home. If you want to have an appealing kitchen, you can expect to spend between $150 to $375 to have it painted. For homes with a large kitchen, the cost can also increase.

Type of roomAverage cost
Bathroom$110 - $225
Basement$900 - $1,950
Garage$400 - $1,000
Kitchen$400 - $1,000

Wall paint vs. ceiling paint

Ceiling paints differ from wall paint due to their viscosity which is not the same as regular paint. The paint used in ceilings is much thicker and does not easily drip when applied to the surface. This makes it neater and easier to apply.

Additionally, ceiling paints also have a different formulation that is designed to cover the ceiling surface and has elements that can help repel stains, peels, cracks, and molds. Regular wall paint often does not have these.

Another characteristic of ceiling paints is that they have the most matte and flattest type of finish, making your ceilings appear more appealing.

In areas such as basements and bathrooms that do not get a lot of ventilation, applying high-quality ceiling paint is necessary. Using ceiling paint specifically for ceilings can also drastically affect the quality and appearance of its surface.

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How much does it cost to DIY?

If you choose to do the painting job by yourself, it will cost you less compared to hiring a contractor.

If you have the skills and experience to paint a wall or a ceiling, all you have to do is to buy the necessary materials and have the equipment.

In calculating the cost for supplies such as rollers, brushes, drop cloths, masking tape, thinners, and ceiling paint, you can expect an average cost range of $200 to $600.

The cost to DIY a painting project can depend on the type of surface that you want to paint, its size, the type of paint that you want to use, and the number of coats required.

However, while choosing to do it yourself can cost you less, it can still be difficult especially when you do not have the experience and the skills. These mistakes can include:

  1. Applying an uneven coat of paint
  2. Under or overuse of thinner
  3. Failing to properly prepare the surface for a coat of paint results in a bad coat of paint
  4. Doing a poor job in applying a paint

While doing it yourself can come cheaper, hiring a professional is still a better option since you can avoid these common mistakes.

How much does it cost to hire a professional painter?

Hiring a professional to paint your home can assure you that you will have a highly satisfactory painting job. Aside from that, you are also guaranteed that it is of the highest quality since they are trained, experienced, and certified to do so.

Some of the factors that professionals take into account for their total cost are the following:

  1. The square feet to be covered
  2. The type of surface (concrete, wood, drywall, etc.)
  3. The location
  4. The type of paint to be used
  5. The number of coats required
  6. And the number of hours for labor

In most cases, the labor cost makes up the majority of the total cost. With this, you can expect most painting professionals to charge between $20 to $100+ per hour. This can also be translated to $200 to $600 per day of labor.

A professional painter can also be billed per room. They can do this because some rooms can be more complicated or easy compared to others such as bedrooms versus kitchens, or even bathrooms versus basements.

For example:

  1. A painter may need to use water-resistant and mold-resistant paint whenever they paint a bathroom. This type can be more expensive and tricky to use.
  2. Living rooms and bedrooms may also be charged differently since they typically require more than one coat of paint, and would usually require more than one color.
  3. Other specifics such as ceilings, doors, trims, windows, and baseboards that require painting will also be added to the total cost.

A professional painter normally would charge somewhere between $200 to $800 to paint a 120 square feet room.

For reference, below are the expected average cost to paint a room depending on its type:

Type of roomQTYAverage cost (Wall)Average cost
(Walls, trims, doors,
baseboards, ceilings)
Bedroom10 x 12 sq ft.$400 $850
Master Bedroom14 x 15 sq ft.$750$1,300
Master Bathroom$200$600
Living Room$300$1,200

These average costs can still vary depending on the size of the room, the type of paint, and the number of required coats.

Painting Cost per Square Foot: 2023 Pricing Guide (3)

Author: Benjamin McInerny - is a qualified arborist with 20 years of industry experience. Ben has a wide knowledge of renovation and DIY projects around the house such as lawns, fencing and painting. Ben shares his skills with DIY enthusiasts.

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