Cost to Paint an Apartment: Average Prices in 2023

Find out how much painting contractors charge for apartments

Nelmie Jane Pardo | Updated February 16, 2023

Do you want to revitalize the look and feel of your apartment? A new coat of paint can transform any space from drab to chic. 

Painting your apartment freshens up old walls, brightens dark areas, and lets you create a coordinated color scheme. 

But how much does it cost to paint an apartment’s interior? And how about the exterior of an apartment complex?

Whether you’re a property manager, an apartment owner, or a tenant, this extensive guide will help you thoroughly understand the cost to paint an apartment, the factors affecting apartment painting prices, and the benefits of hiring professional painters. 

What’s the Cost to Paint an Apartment?

Apartment painting costs between $1800 to $3600 on average for a 900 square feet apartment. This is typically broken down into $35 to $60 per hour when hiring a professional painting crew. Top-rated companies, particularly in cities with higher living costs, may charge as high as $100 per hour.

Most painters calculate prices based on square feet instead of an hourly rate. However, some contractors may charge per hour or per room. Contractors that price out apartment paint jobs per room generally charge around $400 to $1,200 for each room. 

The average apartment size in the U.S. is 889 square feet (1). A gallon of paint typically covers up to 400 square feet. Experienced painters work fast and cover up to 200 square feet per hour. 

It takes up to 10 hours to paint a single room, depending on the condition of the walls and the painting crew’s skills.

DIY renters usually take three times as long as professional contractors to paint an apartment, so we recommend hiring a dependable painting company instead of painting on your own. 

A professional painting contractor will personally inspect your apartment to check any unique conditions that can make the job harder. Large walls take less time to paint, whereas small rooms with nooks and built-in shelves are more time-consuming as it takes longer to do tasks like taping off the trim and cutting in around the edges. 

Textured walls increase painting costs by up to 50% since they require more paint. It takes one gallon to cover only 250 square feet of textured drywall. 

Here’s the typical pricing structure for standard apartment sizes: 

Apartment Type and SizeAverage Painting Cost (Includes Labor)
Studio (Approximately 500 Sq. Ft.)$1,500 to $2,000
1-Bedroom (Around 750 Sq. Ft.)$2,100 to $2,800
2-Bedroom (900 to 1,100 Sq. Ft.)$2,700 to $3,600
3-Bedroom (Above 1,200 Sq. Ft.)$3,600 to $4,800

If you’re wondering about the cost of interior paint per gallon, take a look at the following common types of finish and their prices to know different price points: 

Type of Interior Paint FinishCost Range Per Gallon
Flat$10 to $60
Satin$11 to $70
Semi-Gloss$12 to $80
High-Gloss$17 to $90

Professional painters generally charge extra for services such as cleanup and moving furniture. Here are the most common services that can add to the total cost of your apartment painting project: 

Add-On ServicesCost Range
Trim and Baseboards$1 to $4 Per Linear Foot
Cleanup$20 to $50 Per Room
Windows and Doors$35 to $50 Per Window/Door
Moving Furniture$50 to $70 Per Room
Ceilings$300 to $700
Wallpaper Removal$650 to $950
Drywall Repair$75 to $350
Sanding and Patching$50 to $115

Be sure to ask your contractor if the painting quote you receive already includes all necessary processes from start to finish, and make sure to thoroughly review the painting contract once you’ve chosen the best contractor for the job.  

Average Cost to Paint an Exterior Apartment Building 

an apartment building

Painting the exterior of an apartment complex can instantly modernize its look, give existing tenants a sense of pride, and attract new residents. A professional painting company specializing in commercial painting jobs performs painting services without disrupting your tenant’s day. 

Professional painters generally charge by square foot when estimating prices for commercial painting jobs, like warehouses and large commercial buildings. But apartment complexes are often quoted per apartment unit.

Companies generally charge between $600 to $1500 per unit. When quoting by the square footage, it generally translates to $0.65 to $1.65 per square foot.

These costs cover two coats of paint for surfaces that don’t require substantial cleaning and repair. 

On average, labor cost ranges from $55 to $100 per hour for painting commercial spaces. Professional painters also add the cost of tools and equipment to the total cost of the exterior painting project. 

Commercial painting contractors will consider the total square footage of your apartment complex, the condition of the surfaces, the quality and amount of paint to use, and the total hours of labor when calculating an estimate. 

Expert painters cover 200 to 300 square feet of exterior surface per hour. Painting crews may use power washing to remove dirt and grime, ensuring that paint adheres to the surface and lasts a long time. 

Substantial prep work, surface repairs, and hard-to-reach areas requiring equipment like lifts and hoists will increase the overall cost of painting an apartment complex. 

Factors Affecting the Cost of Apartment Painting Projects

Professional apartment painting contractors charge different rates depending on two main factors: 

  1. Size and Scope of the Apartment Painting Project
  2. Paint and Materials 

Size and Complexity of the Painting Job 

Professional painters charge more labor for bigger and more complex apartment painting projects. For example, painting coffered ceilings and vaulted entryways increases the cost of painting an apartment.


Additionally, apartments with high ceilings cost more to paint than standard apartments. Painting tools and equipment also add to the final estimate for a painting project. 

Covering a dark wall with a light color and vice versa is more expensive as it needs extra coats of paint. Other special conditions can add to the project’s cost, including building scaffolding to paint hard-to-reach areas, trim work, and cabinetry. 

The condition of your apartment walls can also affect a painting company’s estimate. Painting textured walls, patching holes, repairing drywall, and removing wallpaper are several conditions that drive up the cost of a painting project. 

Quality of Paint and Other Materials 

Different paint brands come with varying price tags. You can choose your own brand and finish, affecting the overall cost of painting an apartment.

Higher quality paints drive up painting costs, and oil-based paints increase labor costs as they take longer to dry. It’s best to select a high-quality paint that lasts long, requires fewer coats, and emits a minimal odor. 

Choosing different colors from one room to another requires a wide range of paint and thus costs more, so we recommend sticking to consistent tones. Dark colors typically need an extra coat to create a smooth, even finish. 

Keep these factors in mind when considering a paint color and brand for your apartment painting project to save on costs. 

FAQs About Apartment Painting Costs

How much does it cost to paint a 900-square-foot apartment?

It should cost $1,800 to $3,600 to paint a 900-square-foot apartment. Bigger three-bedroom apartment measuring at least 1,200 square feet generally costs anywhere between $3,600 and $4,800.

How do painting contractors estimate an apartment painting project?

Professional painters will personally visit your apartment to understand the overall cost. An on-site visit involves the following: 

Calculating the total area size by square footage
Assessing the surfaces for any damage that requires repairs
Checking if old wall coverings should be removed and replaced
Identifying areas that are difficult to paint, such as textured walls

They will calculate overall costs, including paint, materials, supplies, and labor, to give you a precise quote per square foot, hour, or room. 

Perform the following steps to get an idea of your apartment painting project’s estimate if the contractor charges by square foot: 

Step 1: Multiply the height of every wall by its length and add up the numbers together to calculate the total size of your apartment. Repeat the process for doors and windows, and deduct the result from the total wall space to determine your final wall square footage. 

Step 2: Multiply the price per square foot by your apartment’s total wall square footage. For example, if a contractor charges $3 per square foot for a one-bedroom apartment measuring 750 square feet without intricate details and difficult repair jobs, the entire painting project will cost $2,250.  

How Much Interior Space Does a Gallon of Paint Cover?

A gallon of paint generally covers 400 square feet of space, approximately the size of a standard living room. Painting jobs require two or more coats of paint for a long-lasting finish.

Reasons to Hire Professional Painting Contractors Instead of DIY

an apartment living room

Painting your apartment on your own is a tempting idea. However, it can lead to unexpected troubles and costly mistakes, especially if you lack experience and knowledge in interior painting. Here are three good reasons why hiring professionals will save you money in the long run: 

You Get Excellent, Long-Lasting Results. 

A trustworthy painting company has a crew of skilled and experienced painters who will complete your painting project to your liking. With their extensive knowledge and years of experience, they will apply expert painting techniques to achieve exceptional results.

Painting your apartment on your own involves the risk of choosing the wrong type of paint or applying paint incorrectly and eventually spending more due to a poor paint job. 

You Don’t Have to Buy Painting Supplies. 

In addition to gallons of paint, you need to prepare the right supplies to accomplish your painting project without ruining other surfaces. For example, you’ll have to buy brushes, paint trays, painter’s tape, drop cloths, and paint roller frames and covers. 

You Can Avoid Major Headaches.

Letting professional painters do the job will ultimately save you from headaches, especially if you’re a beginner DIY renter without much painting experience.

Many apartment renters and homeowners initially believe they can accomplish painting projects on their own, only to experience expensive mistakes along the way. 

It’s best to let the professionals handle this complex task to save time and effort and avoid unexpected troubles, like accidentally damaging the apartment while painting.  

Choose a Reputable Painting Contractor to Paint Your Apartment 

Whether you need to paint your small studio apartment or reinvent the outer appearance of a large apartment complex; a trustworthy painting company will give you a reasonable quote and deliver outstanding painting services.

You can better understand the bids you receive from contractors now that you know the average cost to paint an apartment.

Check online reviews to know what past customers are saying, and hop on review sites like Yelp to find the best local painting companies. You can also gather referrals from local Facebook groups.

Compare at least three painting companies, and get three or more references when interviewing a contractor. An accurate and comprehensive painting proposal contains essential details, including the type of paint, materials, labor costs, and project length. 

If you’re a renter with a long-term lease, talk to the landlord or property owner first before hiring a professional painter to discover particular painting rules, especially color choices.


  • Average apartment size:

Written by Nelmie Jane Pardo

Nelmie Jane Pardo

Nelmie Jane Pardo is a senior contributing writer who lends insight into digital marketing methods and business solutions. She regularly writes at BusinessHue to help business owners take their online marketing to the next level.