How to Calculate the Cost of Painting a Room

Calculate the Cost of Painting a Room
Calculate the Cost of Painting a Room (Image: Steve Woods)

The cost to paint a room can vary quite a bit depending on the paint you use, the size of the room and how much of the materials used in painting you have hiding away in your garage. Another consideration is if the walls need to be primed before painting. You will need to take a little time to figure out all the things you need to do the project and then do a little comparison shopping at your local home improvement, paint and hardware store.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • List of what you need
  • Calculator
  • Price list from a store

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Measure the room for square feet. Measure each wall's length and width, and multiply. Add all the walls' square footage together to find the total amount. Add in the ceiling if you will also be painting it. If you are going to paint the trim, you will need to do the same measuring to find its square footage. Since trim is normally painted with a higher-gloss paint, calculate the trim paint separately.

Pick out the type of paint you want to use, and read on the label what the coverage is. You will see on the label how many square feet it will cover. Calculate the cost of the number of cans you will need. If the square footage is close to an even can, add on an extra can. This way you will have some extra paint if the wall gets marked or scratched.

Decide if you need to prime the walls. If the drywall is new or you have a dark color that you are painting over, you will need to prime the walls. You will also find the coverage on the primer labels. Calculate the cost of the number of cans of primer that you will need.

Measure the length of the trim and molding in the room. Look on the label of painters tape to see how many liner feet it will cover. Calculate the price for as many rolls of painters tape that you will need to cover the edges of the trim.

Calculate the cost of a six-pack of rollers in the nap that you will need. Certain paints work best with a certain nap roller. You will also need one roller frame for each person who will be painting. Add on the cost of a paint tray or two; and if you like to keep it neat, add on few dollars for tray liners.

Determine the type of paintbrushes you will need. Since the cost of paintbrushes can vary enormously, decide if you want to invest in high-quality paintbrushes or just some brushes that will get you through this job. Whichever paintbrush type you decide to buy, add the price of two more just in case.

Decide if you wish to buy tarps. Tarps are also necessary when painting. If you want to save money on tarps, you can use old sheets or blankets that you have laying around. Otherwise, add on the cost of at least one tarp.

Add the price of paint remover for those accidental spills or smudges. It's nice to have if you spill a little paint on your trim or cabinet. That way, you can remove it right away. Add the cost to your total.

Total the prices of all your items on your list, and you will have the cost to paint your room. If you are having someone else paint your room for you, then you will have to add on the cost of the labor. This price should be whatever the customary cost is for a painter in your area.

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