bedroom after redecorationliving roommodern living room in period property

Cost of Home Decoration

If you are looking into the cost of home decoration, we are pleased to share our cost data with you. Here are some indicative prices for a range of tasks and activities from our projects.

Using figures from our own projects we offer guidance on the cost of home decoration

In this article we show the cost of painting walls and ceilings, skirtings and doors, wallpapering and tiling. You will see budgets from £350 for a cloakroom, to over £2500 for a hall with stairs and landings.  We also consider exterior work in the cost of home decoration.

Before sharing specific figures with you, we thought it important to run through the factors that affect the price (including VAT).  Understanding these will help you to specify precisely what you want, decide who should do the work, and realise how the cost of home decoration is calculated.

living room undergoing redecoration

preparing for Home Decoration

Having decided what you want to achieve, you will need to decide who will carry out the work. You may choose to do this yourself or employ a professional. If you engage a decorator, decide who is to supply all the materials. Most decorators will be happy to discuss this openly; it will affect his or her price so it is important to be clear. Decorators will use their own tools and help you to calculate quantities but, if you decide to supply materials, you will be reponsible for delivering them to site. Make sure you remember to include sundries such as wallpaper paste, tile adhesive and grout.

Most professionals will be glad to share ideas – if you have any concerns, ask their advice. It is important to develop a good working relationship with them, and they may actually save you some money.

living room design

How To Specify your Home Decoration Requirements

You need to write down what you want your decorator to do, particularly if comparing quotations. Otherwise, one decorator might quote for 2 coats, whilst another will price for 3. Remember that an existing dark wall will need more pale coats to cover the old paint.

Think about everything that needs decorating, including radiators and pipes. Do you want doors painted on one side or both sides? What about the architraves? The following standard words should guide you on what to say to your decorator:


  • Perform all decoration in accordance with best practice.
  • Prepare walls and joinery thoroughly for all decoration.  Fill with appropriate filler, rub down to remove spatter, and wipe clean and dry.
  • Ensure that no traces of new paint are left on hinges, sockets, switches, or other items.
  • Ensure that all nicks around sockets and switches are filled and redecorated.

Room 1:

  • Apply mist coat and 3 coats of Brand/Code matt emulsion to all walls. Ceiling to be trade white matt emulsion.  Cornice to be Brand/Code matt emulsion.
  • Prepare radiator and apply primer and 2 coats of Brand/Code eggshell.
  • Apply one coat of primer (to new or exposed timber), 1 coat of undercoat and 2 topcoats of Brand/Code eggshell to all doors, door linings, architraves, window frames and cills, and other joinery.  Door and architrave to be painted on both sides;  other joinery to be painted on room-facing side only.

Room 2:

  • Apply mist coat and 2 coats of Brand/Code matt emulsion to all walls. Ceiling to be trade white matt emulsion.
  • Apply one coat of primer (to new or exposed timber), 1 coat of undercoat and 2 topcoats of trade white gloss to all doors, door linings, architraves, and other joinery (including new shelf units).  Door to be painted on both sides.

How a decorator prices the job

A decorator is essentially pricing the time to do the job, adding any special requirements such as a tower or scaffold. He or she then adds the price for materials if not supplied by the client. Whilst your specification states what you want, the decorator may make further observations on site.

  • The condition of your surfaces will affect the price, particularly the underlying plaster.  The contractor may include an additional price to face-fill holes. If the walls are flaky, loose plaster may need to be removed and the walls skimmed by a plasterer, and allowed to dry fully.
  • If you are chasing walls for electrical cables, remember the cost of making good.  In a recent project, simply filling chases in 8 rooms added £1200 to the decoration price.
  • Preparation is time-consuming. Unless you’ve done this yourself, you may not appreciate the hours of filling, rubbing down and cleaning. It all adds to the cost.
  • The price of materials is significant. A 5l tin of fashionable paint covers around 50-60m2 (one coat at approx 10m2/litre); a basic UK reception room of 5m x 4m x 2.5m would require 2 x 5litre tins at around £75 each – so £150 just for two top coats! By comparison, a regular branded paint will cost around £80. Similarly, eggshell woodwork paint covers 16m2 per litre and a 1 litre tin of fashionable paint can cost upwards of £25.  A scanned colour-matched paint might be more cost-effective.
  • A self-employed decorator is unlikely to be VAT-registered.  Whilst this might appear to save you the 20%, they may charge more because they still undercut a VAT-registered contractor.  The prices below exclude VAT so you will need to include this if you are using a VAT-registered contractor.

Tiling labour and materials

As with a decorator, a tiler will also price his or her time; but there are other factors.  Tilers are very conscious of the price of adhesive.  If sub-floor levels or walls are inconsistent, and the tiler needs to make up the difference with additional adhesive, this can easily lead to additional costs running to £100s.  They will draw your attention to loose plaster – tiles add a lot of weight to a wall and it is vital that the surface is sound.

Your choice of tile is important.  Porcelain is harder to drill and cut so will carry a premium over ceramic.  However, porcelain is often through bodied (ie the same colour through the tile as on the surface) and is generally a superior product.

Larger tiles will be quicker to fit and grout than smaller tiles.  Mosaics will add a level of complexity that will add to the cost.

the cost of home decoration

Figures below are for labour only; materials are extra, as are any towers or scaffold. We’ve approximated the figures to Jan 2016 prices.

cost of home decoration

cost to decorate a Living Room

living room being decorated

Living room above, decorated to create scheme below, requiring some face-filling, emulsion to all walls and ceiling, and all woodwork including sash windows.  Price: £1025.

Living Room Lighting

In the following Edwardian property, walls were stripped and face-filled then re-decorated along with ceiling and skirtings;  this was a knocked through space so effectively 2 rooms.

sitting room before refurbishment

The following was created – cost of home decoration (living room): £1660

edwardian sitting room in bath

cost to decorate a dining Room

dining room before makeover

Dining room above, decorated to scheme below:  walls, ceiling, and woodwork including door and sash window.  Price:  £825

colourful dining chairs

cost to Decorate a bedroom

Small bedroom – all walls and woodwork – £450
Medium bedroom / reception room- £700
Large master bedroom / living room- £950  – £1200 (£800 for emulsion only to walls)

bedroom before decoration

Medium bedroom (before decoration above) was stripped and the walls re-lined.  The decorator applied emulsion to all walls and ceiling and painted built in wardrobes and skirtings to create room below:

Price:  £1100

cost to decorate a bedroom

cost to decorate a bathroom

cost to decorate a bathroom

Small bathroom – £350 – £450
Medium bathroom – £800
Cloakroom – £350

cost to decorate a kitchen

cost to decorate a kitchen

For this kitchen diner project, the mist coat and first coats were sprayed onto the walls and ceilings saving time and money.  The top coat was rollered.  Cost of decoration:  £1200


cost to decorate a hall, stairs and landing

hall and stairs before redecoration

Hall stairs and landing – typical UK terrace house over 2 floors (inc spindles and edges for carpet runner) – £1200 – £1500

striped stair carpet runner

Hall stairs and landing – over 3 floors (inc spindles and edges for carpet runner) – £2600

For this Edwardian property shown below before decoration, the stairs, spindles and all woodwork were stripped and walls face-filled.

hall before decoration

Here is the hall stairs and landings after decoration over 3 floors – Price (decoration only):  £2745

hallway after decoration

In the overall cost of home decoration, we also designed and fitted this stained glass along with decorating the lobby doors and hallway. Price:  £580.

contemporary stained glass

Cost to decorate an apartment

Apartment Decoration

To decorate this basic apartment above with hall shown, kitchen-living space, two small bedrooms – emulsion to all walls and ceilings, eggshell to skirtings, architraves and window cills (but not doors or windows) – Price: £2650

Typical Labour Prices to apply Wallpaper

monochrome stairwell

Wallpaper – small bedroom, prep and hang – £250
Wallpaper – medium bedroom, prep and hang – £450
Wallpaper – large reception room – £950

cost to decorate a front door

Front door exterior face only- £250 – £300
Grand front door exterior face only – £500

cost to tile a bathroom or kitchen

cost to tile a bathroom

Tile shower enclosure and bath wall above (13m2) – £650 – £800 labour

shower tiling

Tile bath area above (6m2) – £450 – £500 labour – ceramic tile so easier to work than porcelain, and fittings are exposed (not concealed as in the further example below).

short shower bath

Tile bath area above (6m2) – £600 – £700 labour – porcelain harder to work, and note fittings are concealed so higher labour charge.

Tiled bathroom

The cost to strip and re-tile around this bath, and the adjacent basin area was:

To strip existing tiles, remove sanitaryware and screen and prepare for new tiles: £350
To supply and fit new tileboard: £300
To tile bathroom as described: £450 (white gloss tiles and quadrant edges extra)

porcelain tiled floor

Floor tiling – expect to pay around £40/m2 labour

cost to decorate a house exterior

maintenance free barge boards

You need to include the exterior in your cost of home decoration.  Decorate high level joinery (soffits, fascias, barge boards etc) front and back – £900 (does not inc scaffold) – £1800 if more complicated including side.

edwardian bay with pleated blinds

Sash window – decorate inside and out (per window) – £250
Three sash window bay – decorate inside and out – £400 – £450
Large window (3m x 2.5m) – decorate inside and out – £500 – £600
Medium sized window externally only – £180

maintenance free wood effect dormer cladding

To re-clad dormer in maintenance-free wood effect panelling – £1450

House renovation advice

If you are considering more than just decorating a few rooms, we have produced the following guides to help you with your more general house renovation.

The cost of home decoration varies considerably and we hope you find these notes helpful. We have designed and delivered all the work above; if you think you need some help, please read more about our interior design and property renovation services.