Last updated 9th April, 2020
All you need to know about having your living room walls painted including costs of materials, costs of labour and time frames.
Painting a front room is a fairly straightforward job but will still entail moving all the furniture from the room, then carrying out any minor repairs to the existing wall and woodwork. After all that then the actual painting can begin, though in some cases it may also be necessary to strip wallpaper first. Only then can the walls, door, ceiling, skirting boards, door, window sills and frames be painted. Normally this would involve a coat of emulsion to walls and an undercoat then gloss to all the woodwork.
If you need wallpaper removed to give a nice smooth finish then this will of course add extra time and higher costs to the job. Wallpaper removal is time consuming and the condition of the wall underneath can be patchy, which you will not see until the wallpaper has been stripped. Most painters and decorators are happy to repair damaged walls and minor repairs, but if the walls are in a really bad state and you need to have the entire wall re-plastered, then this will obviously cost a lot more and will not be included in the quote.
The condition of the woodwork affects the price too. If gloss is peeling and requires to be stripped off then this will add extra time to the job. Another extra cost can be if the ceiling or walls have nicotine stains, as in this case they will need to be washed with sugar soap prior to the actual painting, again adding time and money.
When gathering quotes from painter & decorators always ask if the price is fixed or do they charge per day/hour. Remember when comparing quotes to check on the brand of paints they are using, good brands such as Dulux can cost as much as 3 times more than cheaper DIY store brands, so make sure you are comparing like for like! You should also check that quotes are provided on headed paper with an address, landline phone number and VAT number if registered (also confirm if the quote includes VAT or not).
The vast majority of the cost of painting a room is normally labour as most decorators get a heavy discount on the cost of the paint and materials. You can be lucky if the tradesperson you choose isn't too busy as they may lower the prices just to get the work. But in the summer when they are busy, expect the quotes to be higher. Your location is also a factor in the costs quoted to paint a front room. For example living costs in London are considerably higher so this will be reflected in the quotes provided by painters and decorators.
When you are trying to determine what is a fair price to pay painting work the cost will obviously depend on the size of the room and what exactly needs to be painted. But for a typical front room to include walls, ceiling, skirting boards and window sills - expect to pay in the region of £400. This price assumes that the surfaces are in decent condition with only a few minor repairs needed.
If there are lots of filling in to do, or if the walls or ceiling have damp patches which will require sealant - then you should obviously expect to pay a little more. Removing wallpaper will also add to the cost considerably as paper stripping is pretty labour intensive, especially if "woodchip" paper has to be removed, which will often mean more damage to the walls so more preparation work will be required before painting.
Most decorators charge around £150 per day and for painting a living room you're looking at around 2 days worth of work.
Individual costs for hiring a painter and decorator to paint a living room - Total Cost: £400