A can of latex interior house paint costs $15–60.
A can of exterior house paint costs $20–$80.
Primer costs $10–20 per gallon.
You’ll spend an average of $0.75–$3 per sq. ft. on paint.
Walking into a paint store—or even just the paint section of your local home improvement store—can feel overwhelming. With such a broad selection of colors and finishes, it’s easy to get carried away and start planning color schemes for your entire home’s interiors.
So, how much is a gallon of paint, and how far can your budget take you? Read on to learn what you should expect to pay by the can for different paints, primers, and sealants.
Paint Can Costs and Sizes
Paint comes in an array of sizes, making it possible to buy only the amount you need. However, check the store’s return policy, as many outlets will not accept returns for mixed paint. Still, you can always save the leftover paint for future projects. Here’s what prices will look like for the most common paint can sizes.
|Paint Can Size||Average Cost|
|One Gallon||$10 – $100+|
|One Quart||$10 – $100|
|One Pint||$25 – $80|
|Half Pint||$4 – $20|
Prices for a gallon of paint can range anywhere from $10 to $100 or more, with the average can costing between $20 to $30. One gallon typically covers around 350 to 400 square feet in a single coat. Gallons are the most common unit for paint, and one gallon can cover a small accent wall, though you’ll likely need multiple gallons for adequate coverage if you’re painting an entire room.
One quart of paint costs $10 to $100, with average prices falling between $16 and $20. You’ll get about 100 square feet of coverage for this paint can size. You can use this size paint can for a single coat of ceiling paint, painting a door, and other similar-size projects.
One pint of paint typically costs between $25 and $80. This size can will cover around 50 square feet in a single coat. It works great for small projects, such as painting an accent wall in a powder room or painting a small piece of furniture.
A half pint of paint costs between $4 and $20. This can size is the standard for samples, especially when you’re checking how a color will look before you commit. It’s also handy for details in a mural or accent wall, as well as small art projects like painting a model or a small birdhouse.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Gallon of Paint?
The price tag on a gallon of paint depends on several factors, including quality, finish, and (most importantly) the type of surface the paint is meant to cover.
Interior House Paint
The market for latex house paints is competitive, with different options available at a range of different price points per gallon:
Under $20: Major retailers offer some paints at significantly low costs. The discount comes at the expense of quality, so expect a product containing solvents and large pigment particles.
$20–$30: This is the standard cost range for consumer-grade home paints of average quality.
$40–$60: This price range includes professional-grade paint made with finer pigments and higher quality resin, which makes it longer lasting and easier to apply.
$100 and more: If you have the budget for a luxury finish, some designer brands with rare pigments can easily increase the price per gallon above $100.
Exterior House Paint
The cost of exterior house paint varies depending on the type. Acrylic latex and latex paints come at similar price points, while oil-based paints can cost more.
|Type of Paint||Cost per Unit|
|Acrylic latex||$20 – $50 per gallon|
|Latex||$20 – $50 per gallon|
|Oil||$20 – $80 per gallon|
|Chalk||$15 – $40 per gallon|
|Spray||$4 – $16 per can|
|Wood Stain||$10 – $20 per quart|
|Primer||$10 – $150 per gallon|
|Lacquer||$30 per gallon|
|Shellac||$40 – $50 per gallon|
|Self-Priming||$15 – $25 per gallon|
A popular component of the modern farmhouse decorating style, chalk paint is a decorative paint with a matte finish. It is most often used on furniture, but it’s suitable for walls, too. Expect to pay between $15 and $40 per gallon.
Oil-based paints adhere and penetrate surfaces better than water-based types, but they give off malodorous fumes and present some hazards to those working with them. A gallon can cost between $30 and $40.
A 12-ounce can of spray paint costs between $4 and $16, depending on the quality and its purpose.
If you decide to stain rather than paint the wood surface in question, you’ll pay $10 to $20 per quart.
A standard primer, which you’ll apply as a base layer for your paint, costs an average of $20 per gallon, but the price drops to $10 and $15 per gallon if you purchase it in five-gallon quantities. The price rises for primers designed for specialized purposes, like those that combat mildew, fire, or stains, to between $30 and $150 per gallon.
If you’re remodeling your kitchen or painting furniture and want a durable, damage-resistant coating, you may opt for lacquer. It costs an average of $30 per gallon.
Shellac costs between $40 to $50 per gallon. You can apply this material as a protective finish to furniture and other wood items.
If you wish to combine painting and priming into a single step, you can buy a paint and primer all-in-one for between $15 and $25 per gallon.
How Much Does Paint Cost per Square Foot?
While the cost of paint per square foot depends on the paint and the painted surface, a gallon of paint typically covers about 400 square feet or 200 square feet, if you’re applying two layers. With average costs between $15 and $60 per gallon, that works out to a cost between $0.75 and $3 per square foot.
|Project||Size of Space (Square Feet)||Average Cost|
|Bedroom||132||$100 – $400|
|Bathroom||40||$30 – $120|
|Home Exterior||1,580||$1,185 – $4,740|
How Much Paint You Should Buy
To determine the amount of paint you should purchase for a particular coverage area, multiply the length of each wall by its height and subtract windows, doors, and any other areas you won’t be painting. To make things easier, use HomeAdvisor’s paint calculator.
|Size of Space (Square Feet)||Gallons of Paint||Average Cost|
|100||0.5||$8 – $30|
|300||1||$15 – $60|
|500||1.5||$25 – $90|
|1,000||3||$45 – $180|
|1,500||4.5||$70 – $270|
Cost of a DIY Paint Job vs. Hiring a Pro
Painting your own home costs significantly less than hiring a local interior painter or an exterior house painter near you. However, hiring a professional will ensure your home’s paint job is done quickly and efficiently.
Painting a 10-by-12-foot room yourself costs around $100 for materials plus your time, while a professional will charge between $200 and $800. Materials to paint your whole house will cost between $200 and $300. The average price for a full interior house painting is $1,900, or $3.50 per square foot.
Materials and tools for a DIY exterior paint job cost between $500 and $1,000—and potentially higher if you use any specialized products. The national average cost to hire a professional exterior house painter is $3,750.
How to Save Money on Paint
The easiest way to find the right paint at the lowest cost is to shop online and compare rates from multiple stores before you decide where to purchase. This additional research will make comparison shopping easier, plus you’ll save yourself the time spent mulling it over in-store (not to mention making multiple trips to different retail outlets). Don’t forget to calculate how much paint you need beforehand.
The best way to save money is to have a local contractor purchase the paint for you at a professional discount. It’s possible to handle some parts of a job on your own, so you’re not spending money for a contractor to tape off a room and lay down tarp but hire a pro to paint with lower-cost supplies. If you’re hiring a pro for a small or relatively simple job, you will pay less for a local handyperson than a professional painter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Painting the interior of a single room will take the average DIYer between 6 and 10 hours. However, your timeframe could increase or decrease based on factors such as your skill level, room size, as well as the number of light switch plates, outlet covers, and other small objects to work around.
In addition to paint, you’ll need some other supplies to paint a house yourself. These include:
Brushes: $3–$20 each
Tape: $3–$10 per roll
Drop cloth: $5–$30 each
Tray: $2–$5 each
Rollers: $10–$100 each
House ladder: $100–$300