Cost of Painting a Room

Last updated 14th March, 2024

Want to find out the cost of painting a room?

This article breaks down all the costs involved in painting a room. From painter and decorator prices to paint prices. We've got you covered!

Carry on reading for more!

front room painted

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How Much to Paint a Room?

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.

What needs to be done first?

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.

What should I do about quotes?

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.

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Room Painting Cost

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.

Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for hiring a painter and decorator to paint a living room - Total Cost: £400






Waste Removal


An average front room will take one experienced painter plus labourer around two days to complete. Though it can be a little longer depending on the amount and the condition of the woodwork. The first day is used for the preparation work then the first coats are applied. These need to be allowed to dry before the second coat can be applied on the following day. However, if the condition of the walls and woodwork means a lot of extra preparation such as filling is required, this will increase the costs. Quotes normally assume the walls, ceilings and woodwork are in good condition and require only minimal repairs and preparation.
First of all don't call out ten different painters to get quotes, that wastes everyone's time, including yours! Think about the paint job you need and explain to around 3 painters exactly what you are looking for. If you want cheap and you are willing to compromise on quality, let the painters know. On the other hand if you want a high quality job and are willing to pay a fair price for that quality finish, then tell the painters that also. Then arrange for 3 painters that you like the sound of call round and provide a quote. Always ask them for details of previous customers in the area and speak to them and get references - if a painter will not supply these names, consider why.
Family and friends are often the best place to start, ask around and find out if anyone has had any painting and decorating work done recently that they have been happy with. Failing that, a great place to get painter recommendations is your local paint store. However you get the recommendations, make sure you always check the references.
If you are considering a DIY paint job, or have a quote for painting that is labour only and you are supplying the paint, then beware of using the cheapest paint. Quality paints can make a real difference and most decent painters will only use high end products that provide a superior, longer lasting finish. Expensive paint brands like Dulux cost a lot more, but they are normally worth it!
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