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How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House?

How Much Does it Cost to Paint a House?
Austin Kilham
Austin KilhamUpdated March 7, 2023
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A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your interior and exterior walls. Whether you’re changing the color, or ensuring that your house gets the regular maintenance it needs, you’ll need to figure out the cost involved in painting and how to pay for it. The cost of painting a house will vary depending on a number of factors, including the scope of the job. Here’s a closer look at how much it costs for painting a house. 

Average Cost of Painting the Interior of a House

The cost of painting the inside of a house varies, depending on the size of the area you need to paint, the surface you’re painting, the quality of the paint, and the labor. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $1 and $4 per square foot of house. That means painting the interior of a 2,000-square-foot home may cost between $2,000 and $8,000. 

Average Cost of Painting the Exterior of a House

When you’re figuring out the cost of home remodeling, you may want to include the price for painting the exterior of your home. Painting the exterior will run you about the same as painting the interior: $1 to $4 per square foot. Larger houses tend to have more surface area to paint, though this will vary depending how many doors and windows there are.  The number of stories your house is will also help determine the painting cost. The more stories you have, the more surface area there is to paint. Finally, consider what material the exterior of your house is made of. Wood siding tends to require less paint and labor, while a stucco house may be more expensive to paint due to additional preparation, materials, and labor. You’ll want to add the cost of painting your house to your home renovation budget.

Cost to Paint for Renters

Your rental contract will likely stipulate whether or not you can paint a home or apartment you rent. There may even be language in the contract outlining regularly scheduled painting to be paid for by the landlord.   However, if you want to paint your walls a color of your choosing, you may have to get permission and pay for the paint and the work yourself. What’s more, you may be responsible for painting it back to a neutral color when you move out. 

Breaking Down the Cost of Painting a House

There are a number of elements that contribute to the cost of painting a house. They include:

Square Footage

The larger your house, the more surface area there is, which increases the amount of paint you’ll need and the time required to paint it. Larger homes may have more crown molding, baseboards, wainscotting, and trim around windows and doors that can also increase labor time and costs. 

Type of Paint

There are many different kinds of paints to choose from, and costs can range widely, depending on what the paint is made of and the finish. For example, paint with a glossy finish is often more expensive than one with a matte finish. On the low end, a can of basic paint will generally cost between $20 and $30. Designer paints can cost double or triple that amount. 

Paint Tools

Painter’s tape, sandpaper, paint brushes, drop cloths, buckets, rollers — these tools can add to the price of a paint job. If you’re hiring a professional, this expense will be built into the estimate you get. If you’re planning to paint yourself, be sure to leave room in your budget for tools. 

Cost of Labor

Painters often charge for jobs based on the square footage of the house. Typically, the expense works out to about $20 to $50 an hour. The more walls there are to paint, the more you can usually expect to pay. 

DIY Paint Job vs Hiring a Contractor

You may be tempted to do the painting yourself. If the job is relatively simple and the walls are in good condition, DIY may be worth it. A smaller job like painting and remodeling a bedroom shouldn’t take too much time, labor, or expertise on your part. And all you’ll have to pay for is the cost of materials. However, if the job is complicated — for example, if you’re using a paint with a specialty finish, or the walls are in need of repair — you might want to consider using a pro. 

Ways to Pay for the Cost of Painting a House

If you have enough money in your savings account to cover the expense, that may be the simplest way to pay for painting your house. However, if you don’t have the cash on hand, here are some other financing options to consider. 

Credit Cards

Credit cards are easy and convenient to use, and some professional painters may accept them as a form of payment. But be sure to ask them first.Credit cards do have relatively high interest rates, however. If you can pay your entire bill each month, this may not be an issue. But if you carry a balance, you can end up quickly taking on more debt.

Personal Loan

Personal home improvement loans are a type of installment loan. With a personal loan, a bank, online lender, or credit union lends you a lump sum that you repay regularly with interest over time. The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate you may get. You can explore different personal loan offers for the best rates and terms. Once you’re approved for a personal loan, you may expect to receive funds quickly, typically within one to five days. Personal loans are flexible, and personal loan uses are varied, which means they can be used for many purposes, including home improvement. These loans are often unsecured home improvement loans, which means you don’t have to provide any collateral to back the loan.


A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a form of revolving credit backed by the equity you’ve built in your home. The interest rate is variable. Instead of receiving a lump sum, you can borrow HELOC funds as needed during what’s called the draw period, which typically lasts up to 10 years. When the draw period ends, the repayment period begins, which can be as many as 30 years. But beware the risks: If you fail to pay back your HELOC, your lender may seize your home to recoup their losses. 

Tips for Saving Money on Painting a House

Whether you’re planning an interior or exterior paint job, consider these tips to help lower the costs.

Do It Yourself

Doing all or part of a paint job can save you money. If you do the entire job yourself, you might save about $20 to $50 an hour. If you’re hiring a painter, talk to them about how you could bring labor costs down. For instance, you could trim foliage away from the exterior and move furniture away from interior walls to make sure painters have a clear perimeter. You might even be able to help (and save) by sanding or taping floors, ceiling and trim.  

Compare Quotes

Don’t automatically go with the first painter you talk to. Instead, contact several painters to get quotes. Then, compare their estimates to see which one makes the most sense for you. As part of this process, it’s a good idea to ask the painters for referrals to previous clients. Call the clients and inquire about the work the painter did, the quality of the job, whether they finished on time, and what they were like to work with. That will help you make your final decision. 

Buy Paint on Sale

Paint often goes on sale before long holiday weekends. Keep an eye out for sales during these times and buy your paint then, even if you don’t plan to start your project for a few weeks. 

The Takeaway

Painting helps beautify and maintain your home. While the job can cost well into the thousands of dollars, there are ways to lower the expense, whether you do the painting yourself or hire a professional. If you’re looking for ways to finance your project and you’re considering taking out a personal loan, be sure to shop around. Lantern’s personal loan tool allows you to quickly and easily compare rates and terms from multiple lenders to help find the best loan for your needs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a loan to paint my house?
How much does it cost to paint a house?
Why are house painters so expensive?
Photo credit: iStock/Feverpitched

About the Author

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham is a writer and journalist based in Los Angeles. He focuses on personal finance, retirement, business, and health care with an eye toward helping others understand complex topics.
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