How much does a Decorator charge to paint a room? Well, enough, but not too much! It’s a bit like asking “How much does it cost to buy a car?”. Do you want a top-of-the-range supercar or a little runaround? A classic two-seater soft-top or a family-friendly SUV? Electric, petrol, diesel, hybrid? What extras do you want to include? Just as there’s no simple answer to “how much does it cost to buy a car?”, there’s no simple answer to the question.
So, I can’t actually answer the question, but what I will do is go through some of the many factors which could have an influence on the price and talk you through how I personally go about pricing up a room.
Factors That May Influence How Much a Decorator Charges to Decorate a Room
From the Decorator’s perspective, the main factors that go into putting a price together are time and materials; how long is it going to take me to do this job, and what materials (in what quantities) do I need to complete it? The answers to those questions will depend on a number of factors:
Obviously, Mrs Johnstone’s downstairs loo is going to require considerably less time and paint than a massive factory or warehouse. Generally, the larger the room the longer it will take, and the more paint will be needed.
But it’s not always that simple; a 4m x 4m room with only one internal door will take much less time to paint than a 4m x 4m room with 6 doors and frames, wooden windows, a dado rail and a built-in wooden bookcase that needs to be included. So yes, size matters, but so does the layout of the room, and what needs to be painted within it.
Ease of access.
How easy it is for the Decorator to access the areas they need to paint will have an influence on the price. In a very large room, scaffolding (or a moveable scaffolding tower) may be needed to gain access.
At the other end of the scale, sometimes small rooms (kitchens and utility rooms in particular) can be more expensive than you might at first think based purely on their size, because there are so many built in units and appliances that need to be painted round, which can be time-consuming.
Having the room empty of furniture etc before your decorator arrives makes it so much easier for them to move around the room and work without fear of bumping into your property, and of course eliminates the risk of damage to that property as well. The easier it is for the Decorator to access all the surfaces that need to be painted, the faster they can work, and the lower the cost is likely to be.
What’s included in the job?
When a Decorator is pricing up a job, they will need to know what you expect to be included. How much prep work is going to be needed to get the walls, ceiling and woodwork into the best possible state to achieve the desired finish? Is the job going to include lining the walls, or possibly hanging wallpaper on some (or all) of them?
Are you wanting your Decorator to put coving up around the ceiling, or possibly replace a damaged or missing section of skirting board? Not all Decorators take on all these jobs, so make sure you ask.
Are you looking for specialist paint finishes? Do you have a love for designer paints, or are you looking for a quick freshen-up with something really affordable? If you’re planning to have your room decorated by a professional, it’s really important to discuss all these questions, so that you know what you will be getting, and the Decorator knows what to include in their quote.
Where your property is located.
This will also have an influence over how much a Decorator will charge to paint a room. As a general rule, the southeast (and London particularly) tends to be more expensive than the north, and there are other regional variations as well.
Even within one area, a Decorator is likely to charge more for working in a property where they need to drive an hour-and-a-half each way through city centre traffic (and don’t even mention ULEZ!), and then have to pop out to feed the parking meter at regular intervals, compared to a property that is at the end of their road with easy off-road parking available.
Finally, the experience level of the Decorator, and how they are feeling about how much work they have coming in, may also affect the amount they will charge to paint your room. For example, a young lad/lass who is just starting out on their own and keen to get some experience and some photos of completed jobs for their website might charge less per day than an experienced decorator who has the next six months work already booked in their diary, and in that sense is slightly less in need of the work.
How Much Does A Decorator Charge To Paint A Room? How I Go About Pricing a Job
Everyone’s different, and there will be some Decorators who do things differently to me. That’s fine – I’ve been running my own business for sixteen years, this is how I like to work, and as long as it works for me and my customers, that’s what matters to me. So, this is the process I go through to work out how much I would charge to paint a room.
The first step of the process, after the potential new customer has contacted me, is to arrange an appointment to meet them and see the room. The purpose of this meeting from my perspective is to start to build a good relationship, and primarily to answer all the questions listed above, so I can understand all the factors that will have an influence on the price for the job.
While asking the customer what their ideal outcome is (Quick freshen up? Complete makeover? What’s included – coving, wallpaper, etc?), I will be making a note of how much woodwork there is (how many doors, is there a dado rail, etc) and measuring up the room (to help me calculate paint quantities and man-hours) and assessing the condition of the ceiling, walls and woodwork (so that I can estimate how much prep will be involved).
Armed with all this information, I go home and feed it all into my PC. I use an Excel spreadsheet that I’ve designed myself; other Decorators use various apps and web tools, some still use a pen, calculator and sheet of paper. It doesn’t matter what is used, the objective is still the same; to take account of all the customer’s requirements and calculate what materials will be needed to complete the job, and how many man-hours it will take.
I then print off a copy of the summary page of the spreadsheet (without all the detailed calculations – nobody needs to know how long it will take per coat to paint the skirting board specifically!), and attach it to a letter to the customer.
In the letter I restate all my assumptions based on the conversation we had when we met, so that everyone is clear on what is included. I usually base the price on using good quality “mid-market” trade paint brands and explain that the price is therefore my best estimate based on these assumptions – if the customer then says they want to use more expensive designer paint, or a cheaper alternative, I can adjust the final price accordingly.
Hopefully all of that will have helped explain why there is no simple answer to the question “How much does a decorator charge to paint a room?” Every room is different, every decorator is different, every customer’s expectations and wishes are different.
If you’re planning to use a Professional Decorator to do some work for you, I very strongly recommend that you meet them at the property so that you can explain to them what you want to have done, you can ask each other questions, and they can see the room for themselves, so that they can give you a realistic price based on the specific room and your specific requirements. Only then will you find out how much your decorator will charge to decorate your room!
By Robin Gofton – Wokingham Decorating Services