How Much Does It Cost to Paint?

painting supplies

A fresh coat of paint makes absolutely everything look better and this is a fairly easy DIY that anyone can learn how to do. But how much does it cost to paint the stuff that you want to paint?

You can instantly spruce up a room of the house, the exterior of the house, a piece of furniture, or a home accent with a little paint and some time. But knowing how much it's going to cost you in both time and money is crucial for your vision to be a success.

The Tools You Need to Paint

You can't buy some gallons of paint at the store and then get going. No matter what you're going to paint, you're going to need some tools in order to make it happen.

Assemble all the tools you will need to paint before you get started, so you can actually complete your project without stopping to go to the store. Remember that the cost of all these tools will add to the total cost of the overall project.


Get some painter's tape. No matter what you're painting, this is going to come in handy.

Tape is used to protect places you don't want to paint. You might use this around windows when painting a room, for example, or to cover areas of a piece of furniture you don't want to paint.

Painter's tape is sold in large rolls and it's relatively inexpensive. You can get a roll of this tape for around $25 to $35.

Paint Tray

You need a paint tray to actually hold the paint. You can't dip your paintbrush or roller into the gallon of paint because you'll end up with too much paint on your tool.

This is where the tray comes in. Get a couple of trays just to be on the safe side and now, you will also have a place to set down your tools when you need to take a small break while painting.

Paint trays are highly affordable, ranging from around $5 to $15 per tray.


You will need a paint roller if you're painting anything that has a broad surface area. You will definitely need a roller if you're painting walls and you may find one useful for painting certain pieces of furniture as well.

Paint rollers vary in price based on their size and the material they are made from, but you can purchase a paint roller for around $10.


Even if you've got rollers, you also want some paint brushes that can get into those smaller and hard-to-reach spaces. The paintbrush is necessary for corners and other places that are difficult to reach.

Paint brushes vary greatly in price because they vary greatly in size and material type. Paint brushes are more or less expensive based on what they're made from.

A fairly standard paintbrush used to paint interior rooms, about three inches in size, will cost you less than $5.

Putty and Knife

Get some putty and a putty knife to patch cracks and fill in any holes you find. This will create a smoother, more paintable surface on walls and furniture.

A small tub of standard wall putty, which will be around one quart in size, costs around $15. The knife, which will usually come in a set featuring multiple sizes, costs around $30.

hand applying putty with putty knife

All About That Paint

Actually picking out paints and trying to paint your home is a lot more difficult than it ought to be. The sheer number of choices and decisions you have to make it overwhelming and it's very easy to feel a little lost and confused by it all.

What Is Paint?

Paint is, essentially, a chemical formula. It is a mixture of a liquid, a pigment, and a binder.

There are only a few types of paint, despite all the different colors you will see when you're shopping for paint. Water is used in latex paints and acrylic paints.

Oil-based paints have better adhesion, which makes them good for chalky or not-so-smooth surfaces. Oil paint also creates a smoother surface once dried and finished, with fewer visible brush strokes.

Interior Paint

Interior paint is available in literally every single color of the rainbow and any mixture of colors you want to create, too. But there's a lot more to choosing interior paint than picking the color you want.

Interior paint has a finish, or a sheen, that ranges from very shiny to a flat finish with no shine at all. The flat or matte finish has no shine, while eggshell paint has just a little bit of shine to it.

A satin finish creates a pearly shine, while semi-gloss is slightly reflective and shiny. The high gloss is the shiniest, with a very glossy reflective appearance.

Interior paint is designed to resist stains and it's made to be cleanable, so that you can wipe down the paint when dirt and grime get on it.

Exterior Paint

Exterior paint is specifically formulated and designed to withstand changes in temperature and air moisture. Exterior paint is made to resist mildew, which is caused by moisture, and fading, which is caused by sunlight.

Exterior paint is made in a huge range of colors that are every bit as comprehensive as the different shades of colors you will find with interior paint options. It's also available in various finishes that determine shine.

However, exterior paint will be clearly marked as exterior paint, so you will know you're getting a formula that's made to withstand the weather and the elements.

light blue paint in bucket and roller pan

What Is the Cost of a Gallon of Paint at Sherwin Williams?

Sherwin Williams is one of the most famous names in paint, so knowing how much a gallon of paint costs here is a good benchmark for judging how much your painting project might cost you.

The price for a gallon of paint at Sherwin-Williams ranges from around $45 to over $110, which is a very broad range. The average cost of paint through Sherwin Williams is between these two prices, around $70 to $80.

What Kind of Paint Is Cheapest?

Want to save some money on painting your home? There are many ways to make it more affordable to paint based on what's going to be cheapest.

If you want to save money, don't rely on the big name brands like Sherwin Willaims. Stick to the brands you can find at big box retailers, such as the Valspar brand from Lowe's.

You can save even more by buying paint in larger amounts. Home Depot sells very affordable paint in huge, five-gallon buckets.

Purchasing a lot of paint at once can be a good way to save money but this only makes sense if you plan to paint an entire room or multiple interior rooms.

If you want to save money on paint, buy primer. That may seem like you're working against yourself because spending money isn't supposed to be a good way to make money but in this case, it works.

By using primer first where you plan to paint, you'll end up with a much better final result. This can spare you the trouble of using multiple coats of paint.

With a good primer coat, you can cover a room or piece of furniture with one or two coats of paint. Without primer, you could use a lot of paint by adding multiple extra layers.

What Kind of Paint Lasts Longest?

Which paint will last the longest without showing signs of fading, chipping, and wear? Many industry experts say that acrylic paint has the longest lifespan and looks the best for the longest, as compared to other types of paint you could choose instead.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint Your Home?

The cost of painting your home varies, obviously, depending on the size of the rooms you want to paint, the type of paint you want to use, and whether or not you're going to paint yourself or hire a professional crew to get this done for you.

Factoring in all these differences, it helps to know how much it costs to paint specific areas of the home.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Living Room?

According to national U.S. estimates, it costs around $900 to $2,000 to paint an average living room. That's about $2 to $6 per square foot, which includes the paint and the tools, and the labor needed to complete the job.

That's the cost of hiring someone to paint for you. If you paint yourself, expect to pay closer to $200 to $300 to get the entire room done.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Wall?

The cost of painting a single wall in your home, say in the case of creating an accent wall, varies depending on the height of the ceilings. With a standard 10-foot ceiling, you can usually paint a wall with a single gallon of paint, which covers about 400 square feet of space.

Factoring in the cost of tools and paint, you can typically paint a standard wall in your home for $100 or less.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Bathroom?

Bathrooms vary greatly in size. A half bath, or powder room, is much smaller than the main bathroom of the house that's attached to the biggest bedroom.

For most standard bathrooms, expect to spend $300 to $800 to get paint on the walls. A large bathroom that's part of a suite will cost closer to $1,500.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House?

The cost of painting your house, whether you're painting the exterior or the interior or both, comes down to the square footage you need to cover with the paint. If it costs $2 to $6 per square foot, you can do the math yourself.

Suppose you need to cover 3,000 square feet with paint. Expect to spend $6,000 to $18,000 to cover the walls, either interior or exterior.

So How Much Does It Really Cost to Paint?

The cost of painting your home depends entirely on the size of your home and the type of paint you choose. Don't forget that the real cost of the project includes the amount of time you spend painting, too, because as they say, time is money.

Depending on how much painting you plan to do, the cost of painting your home could take you up to two weeks and cost as much as $20,000. However, this is still one of the most affordable ways to spruce up your home and give everything a fresh look.

freshly painted kitchen cabinets

Paint Cost FAQ

How long does it take to paint a room?

Professional painters can get the work done quickly when they're painting the interior or exterior of a house. A person who doesn't paint for hours a day every day, however, will take quite a bit longer than a professional who can paint an entire room in just a few hours.

For most people, expect to spend around six to 10 hours painting a single, standard-sized room. Larger rooms will, of course, take longer.

The complexity of the room will also affect the time of the project. If there are a lot of doors and windows and extra elements in the wall, for example, or many different corners and nooks, it will take longer to complete this project.

How long does it take to paint the exterior of a home?

Painting the exterior of a home can be a pretty lengthy process, as you will need to use a ladder for some of the project and there will be a lot of doors and windows to work around.

If your home is of an average size, meaning it has one or two stories and four or fewer bedrooms, expect to spend four days painting the exterior if you're working with one or two people. If you're working alone, the project will take around a week.

To paint a larger home, something with more than four bedrooms, the project will take additional days.

What should you do before painting a room?

Before painting a room, remove furniture or place it in the center of the room and cover it with drop cloths. You'd be surprised how far drops of paint can flu, so cover everything.

Tape baseboards, doorframes, window frames, and anywhere else in the room you don't want to get paint. Take all decorations off the walls, such as mirrors and photographs.

Fill any holes or cracks with putty and smooth these spots with a putty knife. Your paint won't look good unless you start with smooth walls.

Remove all old wallpaper and paint from the wall and cover the walls with primer. A good coat of primer will make any paint job look much better when it dries.

Further Reading

5 Decorative Wall Painting Techniques

A Primer on Interior Paint Finishes

The Basics of Painting Antique Furniture

Benefits of Painting Your Home By Hand

How to Choose Interior Paint Colors

How to Paint a Wood Ceiling

How to Sponge Paint a Bathroom

Interior Painting - Trim and Woodwork

To Paint or Not to Paint Your Siding

Pros and Cons of Painting Brick

Update Your Kitchen With Paint

What Makes a Quality Paint?