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Whether doing it yourself or hiring someone, buy the best quality paint you can afford; it lasts longer and in some situations requires only one coat of paint instead of two. Painting a room usually involves prep work, primer and latex or alkyd paints with a range of finishes. HGTV.com gives a quick overview  as well as a list of painting dos and don'ts .
Regarding cost - Keep in mind some older homes may cost more due to the EPA RRP lead paint rule that was placed in effect. I'm not saying price will be doubled, but it will add some more labor and material cost. After all, the EPA is fining non compliant contractors nearly $38,000 per non compliant violation. I see many posts about illegal contractors. We do pay insurances, we have business costs, I price jobs to where I am comfortable with paying labor, expenses for my business, and not making $250k per year as some do. I have gone into homes where someone thought they were getting a great deal and ended up calling me to fix mistakes or sloppy jobs. Paint will vary in cost, yes.
If you want to upgrade your home’s interior, or if you’re starting with a blank canvas, find a painter nearby so the project can go smoothly. Interior painting contractors and companies work hard to turn your house into a home. Hire a professional painter to add a fresh coat of paint on your walls, ceilings or window trim in any room in the house. Browse through the top-rated painters, read their customer reviews and ask for a cost estimate.
"C&A was not the cheapest company, but it was the only one that offered full service (removal of waste and carpet installation), and showed some real interest. Furthermore, the sales representative was on-time, polite, and always available. The finished job looks great, the crew was on top of its work, and they left after cleaning thoroughly, which not that many companies care to do. I highly recommend them."