How Much is a Gallon of Paint?

The average cost of a gallon of paint ranges from $20 to $110 per gallon, with homeowners paying an average of $65 per gallon.

The average price for a gallon of paint ranges from $20 to $110, but the national average is $65 per gallon which typically covers around 350 to 400 square feet in a single coat. 

Budgeting for a paint job is tough, but it doesn’t have to be if you’re using some hacks. What’s the hack? Know how many gallons of paint you need to cover the paintable area and determine the total estimated cost using this guide.

In this article:

Average Cost of a Gallon of Paint

National Average Cost$65
Typical Price Range $20 – $110
Low-End Cost$15
High-End Cost$300

The price of a gallon of paint depends on the quality and type of paint you pick and the type of surface you’re painting, among other factors. Typically, one gallon of paint covers an area of 350 to 400 square feet and will cost somewhere between $20 and $110, this averages to $65 per gallon

At the lowest end of this price spectrum, you can get a gallon of low-quality paint for just $15. At the highest end, branded and premium-quality paints can cost as much as $300 per gallon.

Woman in paint supply store
Photo Credit: JackF / Canva Pro / License

Cost by Can Sizes

You’ve properly measured the square footage of your paintable area and are off to buy paint. Remember, it is impossible to purchase just the amount you need. You will always have a little bit left in the can or need a bit more from a new one. But, you can always save the leftover paint for future DIY painting projects. 

There are several paint can sizes available in the market. Let’s take a look at the common can sizes and their prices:

Paint Can SizeAverage Price
1 Gallon $20 – $110
1 Quart $10 – $100
1 Pint $25 – $80

A Gallon of Paint

One gallon of paint can cost you between $20 and $110 and covers about 400 square feet in a single paint coat. This is the most common unit for paint around the world. Typically, one gallon of paint will cover a small accent wall but if you’re painting an entire room, you might need more to achieve proper coverage.

One Quart of Paint

One quart of paint costs around $10 to $100 and covers approximately 100 square feet of your paintable area. This paint size is perfect for small projects like painting a door or putting a single coat of ceiling paint. 

One Pint of Paint

One pint of paint costs around $25 to $80. Typically, this can size covers approximately 50 square feet of paintable area in a single coat. One pint of paint is perfect for small-scale painting projects such as painting a small furniture piece or an accent wall in a powder room. 

Cost per Square Foot

If you’re wondering or working up how much paint costs per square foot, here’s what you need to know. 

One gallon will generally cover about 400 square feet if you’re putting a single coat on or just 200 square feet if you’re applying two layers of paint. Now if the average cost is between $20 and $110 per gallon, this works out to a cost range of $1 to $5.5 per square foot

Some common projects and price of paint per square footage are:

Project Average Size of the Project Average Cost
Bathroom 40 sq. ft.$40 – $220
Bedroom 130 sq. ft.$132 – $715
Exterior of the house1500 sq. ft. $1500 – $8,250 

Other Factors That Affect Cost

The price of a gallon of paint depends on several different factors such as the type and quality of paint you choose, the finish, and, most importantly, the type of surface you’re painting. This is because different surfaces have different adhesion capabilities. Some need more prep and paint coats to achieve an adequate look. This, of course, increases the cost of paint for the project. 

Interior Paint 

Water-based paints are used when painting interior walls and there are two common varieties of such paint used: acrylics and latex. Acrylic paints are more elastic and cling better to the wall, they’re a popular choice for bathrooms because of their water- and mildew-resistant formulations. 

The latex and acrylic paint market is rather competitive. You will find several options at a range of different price points. Let’s take a look at different price groups and types of paint you can get in them: 

  • $20 or below per gallon: Significantly low paint costs translate into slightly poor paint quality. If you’re buying paint in this price range, expect it to have solvents or maybe large pigment particles.
  • $20 to $30 per gallon: This is the standard cost range for house paints. The quality of consumer-grade paints is average at this price point. 
  • $40 to $60 per gallon: This range covers professional-grade paint that is made from higher-quality resin and finer pigments. These paints are easier to apply, longer lasting, and give better coverage.
  • $100 and above per gallon: This price range is for luxury finishes. Certain designer brands use rare pigments that justify the price per gallon going higher than $100. 

Exterior Paint

Acrylic paints are the best type of paints for painting the exterior of a house. These paints are heat- and cold-resistant and last longer than oil-based paints. Oil-based paints are also costlier but are water-resistant and quite durable. 

Some common paint finishes and types for a home’s exterior and their respective costs are:

Paint TypeAverage Cost
Acrylic latex$20 – $65
Latex paint$20 – $60
Oil-based $25 – $85
Spray $4 – $16 per can
Wood stain$10 – $20 per quart
Chalk $15 – $40 per gallon
Shellac $40 – $50 per gallon
Self-priming $15 – $25 per gallon

Acrylic Paint

These paints are flexible and resilient and perfect for ever-changing temperatures in the great outdoors because of their elastic nature. You can apply acrylic paints to almost all kinds of surfaces, be it stucco, drywall, or plaster. They are long-lasting and cost somewhere between $20 and $65 per gallon

Latex Paints

These paints cost an average of $20 to $60 per gallon and are excellent for long-lasting and smooth finishes. They hold up pretty well in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, etc. as they’re durable. 

Oil-based Paints

Oil-based paints are slightly more expensive, with an average cost of $25 to $85 per gallon. These paints penetrate and adhere to the surface better than water-based paints but give off certain hazardous fumes. This paint type, however, is more prone to chipping over time and generally makes a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms. 

Spray Paints

Spray paint makes application easier and quicker. Generally, expect to spend between $4 and $16 per can of spray paint, depending on the purpose and quality of the paint.

Wood Stain

If you’re not painting the wood and instead choose to stain it, a quart of wood typically costs $10 to $20

Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is popular for its matte appearance and is a favored component of modern farmhouse decorating styles. It’s essentially a decorative paint and costs about $15 to $40 per gallon. You can apply it to walls and furniture items.

Shellac Paint

Shellac paints cost between $40 and $50 per gallon and are great for protective finishing for wood items and furniture pieces. These paints are generally stain-blocking and quite long-lasting. 

Self-priming Paint

You can combine priming and painting in a single step and save time too. Expect to spend $15 to $25 per gallon for an all-in-one paint and primer. 

How Much Paint Do You Need

When estimating the cost of paint you will need, you must know the square footage of the area you want to cover and the type of surface to determine the number of coats it will need. 

Measure the indoor or outdoor area you want to paint and multiply the length of each wall by its height and then subtract the area of doors, windows, and other areas you won’t be painting. Here’s an estimate of the average gallons you will need to cover 100 to 1,500 square feet of an area and what it will cost you:

Square Footage of Paintable AreaGallons of Paint RequiredAverage Cost
1000.5$10 – $55
3001$20 – $110
5001.5$30 – $165
1,0003$60 – $330
1,5004.5$90 – $495

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

Painting your home by yourself is a perfectly DIY-able task if you have some know-how and experience in DIY painting. Hiring a local interior painter or an exterior painter near you will increase the cost significantly. 

We recommend hiring professional painters to tackle all your paint jobs if you’re even slightly unsure about the project. This is because in theory painting a house seems like an easy job but it takes a lot of prep work and many weekend’s worth of work to get it done. Then again, you might or might not get that clean and desired finish. Professionals ensure that your home’s paint is done efficiently and quickly. 

You can refer to the sections above as your paint calculator for the cost of paint you will need by gallons of square footage. 

How to Save Money on Paint

Here’s how you can save some bucks on each gallon of paint you buy:

  • Compare and Buy Online: This approach lets you browse a variety of paints in different price ranges to find the best at the lowest cost. Comparison shopping makes the job easier and saves you time that you would otherwise spend in home improvement or paint stores finding the right paint.  
  • Hire a Professional: Professional painters get a discount on paint. You hire a local contractor to do the job and buy the paints at a discount for you. 
  • Handle Some Prep Yourself: When hiring a pro to paint, you can lower the cost by handling some easy parts of the job on your own. This could include cleaning up, putting aside furniture, taping off a room, laying down a tarp, etc. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do the other painting supplies add to the total project cost?

Supplies other than wall paint with their respective costs are:

  • Paint brushes: $3 to $20 each
  • Paint tray: $2 to $5 each
  • Paint rollers: $10 to $100 each
  • Tape: $3 to $10 per roll
  • Ladder: $100 to $300 

How much paint do I need for a 12×12 room?

You will need about 1.5 gallons of paint to cover a 12×12 room with 8-foot-high walls. 

If I DIY, how long will it take to paint a single room?

It can take around 6 to 10 hours for an average DIYer to paint a single room. 

Need a Consult?

If you’re confused about the best paint or how much you will need, we can connect you with a professional to help you estimate the cost and paint your space efficiently for you.

Note: Paint Gnome may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.

Main Photo Credit: JackF / Canva Pro / License

Farah Nauman

Farah Nauman is a freelance writer and an accountant based in Pakistan. She spends most of her time combating the South Asian heat and being a mom to her three fluffy cats and a dozen little Aloe Veras in her house.