One of the most common home-improvement projects can also be one of the most enjoyable for the entire household. While some aspects of interior room painting, such as masking and “cutting in,” can require some experience and skill, applying a fresh coat of paint to a ceiling or wall or doorway is often a matter of a good brush, a paint tray, and some sweat equity. A coat of fresh paint may be all that’s required to revive a living space that’s faded a bit.
Of course, paint brushes and rollers are also important line items on your budget sheet. A 3-inch-wide paint brush costs, on average, $10 to $20—though you'll likely need an assortment of paint brush sizes for trim, corners, and narrow surface areas. Brushes come in a variety of bristle types and qualities, and each has a different purpose. Some are intended for specific paint types, finishes, and surfaces, so be sure to buy the right brushes for your painting job.
If you are seeking a few gallons of interior house paint for your home, office, or apartment, read our helpful shopping guide. We have compared dozens of brands of interior house paints currently on the market and have compiled a short list of our favorites. Topping that list is Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 Interior Paint, a low-odor, VOC-free formula from one of the most trusted brands in paint.
Prime. Dark colors, stains (once sealed), and previously unpainted surfaces (drywall, spackle, etc.) will need a primer coat, usually white. NOTE: most paint stores & home improvement centers will now tint primer (at no charge) to match fairly close to the color of the finished coat, that way two coats of primer need not be applied.[6] Although not all surfaces need a prime coat, skip this step at your peril! Dark colors will likely show through the first -- or even the first couple-- topcoats of paint. Sealants and unpainted surfaces like spackle patches will absorb or repel moisture in a topcoat at a different level than the areas surrounding them. Applying a good primer coat will help even out these differences. Primer equalizes a wall to a uniform surface. It's like erasing a canvas before drawing a new picture. Although some will argue the point, you generally don't need to spend a great deal on primer or buy special primer. A cheap, 5 gallon (18.9 L) bucket of plain, flat white paint will usually do the trick and cover a large area. Give your primer at least 24 hours to dry (follow its instructions) before applying a topcoat.
In addition, paint features such as mold and mildew resistance are important cost factors. Many mold-inhibiting bathroom paints, for instance, cost substantially more than ordinary latex-acrylic paint—sometimes close to twice the cost. Also, paints that come with warranties from the manufacturer may be more expensive depending on the length of the warranty. (A two-year warranty is standard.)

Painting interior walls does not require professional aptitude, but it is still a skill that arrives with a learning curve. The most challenging part of any interior painting project is the prep work, which often involves cleaning the walls, masking off windows, doorways and baseboards, then carefully “cutting in” the paint around the edges. Once the masking and cutting in are finished, volunteers with handheld or roller brushes can usually fill in the rest of the space with little trouble.


When determining the total cost of a home’s exterior project, you’ll want to include things like the trim, a garage, foundation, windows and doors. All work is calculated by square footage and sometimes by the linear foot, such as in the case of trim. Your contractor will give you a price for the entire project unless you specifically ask for each item separately.
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