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How Long Does It Take To Paint A Room?

A man and woman painting a room

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Embarking on a brand-new home DIY painting project can be overwhelming, as well as exciting. It also helps to cut out the costly charges of hiring a professional painter.

However, along with the fun comes the time, effort, patience, and thorough preparation that must be put into any paint job.

You may wonder How Long Does It Take To Paint A Room? and it’s a common question that people ask when preparing to tackle their painting jobs.

Well, it’s not a question that proposes a straightforward answer because not every room is the same. Instead, several factors, from the size of your room to the fine details, impact the amount of time you will spend painting your desired room.

On average, an unprofessional painter will spend 10 minutes painting for every 100 square feet of a room, but bear in mind the entire process included preparations, painting, drying times, and cleaning up, which can take 2-3 days.

In this article, we’ve broken everything down into a guide detailing the time commitments for each step so you can comfortably get on with painting your new room and come to grips with answering the question, how long does it take to paint a room?

So, let’s dive into each factor so you can get a better idea of how long your paint task is going to take.

What Factors Effect How Long It Takes To Paint A Room?

The current state of your walls.

Examine your walls and the area you are preparing to paint. Look out for any holes, scratches, or dents. Any slight bump or other defect needs to be filled and thoroughly sanded before paint application so you can start with an even, smooth base.

Also, figure out what paint was previously on the wall- if repainting. If, for instance, it was a flat paint, these a susceptible to grimes and stains, therefore the wall would need to be thoroughly cleaned in your preparation stages before paint application.

Covering up the imperfections will probably only take around 20-30 minutes but remember the putty needs to completely dry. This can take approximately 1-2 hours to be dry before the paint can be applied.

How big is the room?

two people measuring a room for article how long does it take to paint a room?
Photo Credit:

So, how long does it take to paint a room? This depends heavily on the surface area that you are aiming to cover. The bigger the room, the more time you are expected to spend painting.

The average room, according to the National Home Builder Association, is approx. 432 square feet should take an average painter around 4-6 hours from preparation and painting to cleaning.

A big factor is what kind of room it is. For example, a bathroom may require you to paint behind a toilet, requiring you to remove the toilet tank first.

Key Fact: Professional painters tend to apply a single coat of paint to a 400 square foot room in under 30 minutes.


Equipment is a big contributing factor to the amount of time it takes to paint a room. If you have the right equipment, you speed up the painting process, but it’s about doing a good job in less time. You don’t want to rush ahead and end up with an unappealing final product.

Have an extension pole (2-by-4 feet) for your paint rollers, an angled brush to efficiently allow you to cut in around your trims and corners of ceilings, as well as a quality paint tray.

Simple things like ensuring you have enough paint will also reduce painting times. You don’t want to be running to the DIY store for more paint because that will add more time to the project.

The weather and the effect on drying times:

One of the longest parts of any paint job is drying times. The constant battle between high humidity and good ventilation will cause your coats to dry at different rates.  

Cracking open a window is necessary to keep you in good health and limit the inhalation of any paint fumes. However, if the conditions outside are hot and humid, and if you have Air Conditioning or A/C facilities, consider switching that on and closing in windows.

If you live somewhere that is dry and cool, you will be fine to leave the windows open as this condition will produce good drying results.

Insight: Waiting around for your paint to dry can be painstakingly boring. But remember, given your walls maximum time to dry is a huge part of the process. Take some time away from the room, regather energy so you can prepare for your second coat.

To prime or not to prime?

Amongst all the preparation, some little but significant steps may be missed out when trying to figure out how long it takes to paint a room?

However, the question to prime or not to prime sparks many different opinions, but we think it’s a key step in achieving a perfect finish.


Priming your wall prepares it for new paint and allows your newly chosen color to really shine through by blocking out the previous color underneath- if there is one.

Key Insight: If you a changing from a dark color to a soft neutral color, you will need a primer. If you try to paint over without a primer, the darker color will show through, making your neutral color look dirty.

Cancels out previous mistakes:

Even if your new color is a close match or similar to the previous color, applying a primer is still extremely useful.

If you have noticed any stains or marks on the wall, maybe from pictures or the couch scraping the walls during your preparation stage, then applying a quality primer can help to cover up these blemishes.  

Suitable for all surface materials:

Some paints will not adhere well to all surfaces, leaving an uneven or unsmooth finish- especially if the surface is porous. Drywall, plywood, and concrete are key examples of porous surfaces.

This type of surface will absorb the paint if you do not apply a primer first. Glossy surfaces also need primers. If you skip out applying a primer, the paint will not stick to the surface.

It’s important to use primers to fully prepare your walls to ensure your paint is properly sealed.

Step by Step: How Long Does It Take To Paint A Room?

You must follow several steps that influence the question; how long does it take to paint a room. To get a clear understanding of how much time you need to set aside for your paint job, you must understand and incorporate all the steps.

The time guidelines we have provided below are based on a 12×12 room; your timings will vary depending on the size of your surface area.

Preparation: 2-3 hours

Preparing the wall, covering holes and dents
Photo Credit-

The most important step when painting, whether interior or exterior, is to fully prep your area. You may want to jump straight into the main painting, but prepping correctly is detrimental to ensuring your final coat is as smooth as possible.

Disregarding the importance of preparation may leave you with a lot of mess, as well as a damaged-looking paint job.

Although prepping can take between one and two hours, it must be completed if you seek high results.

Here is a list of things you should do before you consider applying any paint to your wall/s:

  • Take down any picture frames, remove light-switch covers and any other decor from the walls.
  • Using painter’s tape cover window trim, door trim, and baseboards
  • With your spackle fill in any dents and holes. By filling in any dents and holes, you are helping to ensure you have a smooth surface for your paint to adhere to.
  • Dust and wipe down the walls with a damp rag making sure any grime is removed
  • Sand down your walls either with a sanding sponge or a sanding pole. If you are happy that you wall is as smooth as possible, take a rag to remove any dust.
  • Place a drop cloth to cover the flooring in the area you are working in.

Tip: Purchasing a high-quality painter’s tape will reduce the amount of time you spend on painting your room all together. A low-quality tape will struggle to stick to the areas you are trying to protect, potentially causing the paint to drip and leak behind the paint.

Cutting In (ceiling and trim): 2-2 ½  hours

a woman applying painters tape around corners of the room with painter try and roller
Photo Credit:

Now that your walls are looking bare and smooth, it’s time to open your chosen paint and start cutting in. Cutting in is designed to paint the areas of the room that a roller cannot reach.

Starting with your ceiling, use a high-value angle brush to create a sharp line in all corners where the wall connects to the ceiling.

Now you can move on to your trims. The process is similar to cutting in the ceiling, but it shouldn’t take long because your trims are taped off.

You want to go around your light switch covers and look for areas you think the roller cannot get to.  

Neglecting this step could create an unprofessional look; cutting in first and then using the roller for the rest of the room allows the paint to merge for an even finish.

Tips and tricks to speed up this process:

  • Using a high-valued 2-to-3-wide-angle brush.
  • A strong paint tray or cup will stop multiple trips up and down the ladder to get more paint.
  • If you are struggling to cut in with a straight line, apply some extra painter’s tape to create a sharp line you can follow.

Please Note: The design of your ceilings may alter the amount of time it takes to paint. For example, a popcorn or stucco ceiling will take a little longer than a standard flat ceiling.

How Long Does It Take To Paint A Room: Application 4-5 hours

To recap, you are now roughly four hours into your painting project; after completing preparation and cutting in your ceilings and trims, you can begin to start rolling on your chosen paint to your walls.

As you are just using a roller to paint such an open area, your precision does not need to be as accurate as cutting in. This part of the job is deemed the easiest and fastest step required when considering how long it takes to paint a room.

Choosing a larger roller around 14-18 inches long may be preferred as it will cover more surface area with each stroke for your 12×12 room.

Suggestion: Purchasing an extension rod will cut out having to go up and down a ladder multiple times.  

How Many Coats?

Painting a new room usually needs multiple coats to ensure full coverage.

The first coat you apply to your wall will take longer than it to apply the second coat.

Applying a second coat will help to saturate the color and fully cover the surface area and any bumps and nicks.

How to paint a room: Clean up

Your paint application is finished, but now you must leave it to dry for around 48 hours. Ensuring the paint is fully cured is important.

Once you have waited for your paint to be dried and have gently placed a finger on the wall to check, you can put your room back together. Remove any painter’s tape, put your light switch covers back on, reposition any furniture, and hang up family pictures.

Remember: Sometimes paint can feel dry to touch, but if it is not cured, then hanging up pictures or any other decor can create indents, cracks, or bubbles to your freshly painted walls.

How Long Does It Take To Paint A Room? Summary:

A new and fresh coat of paint immediately enhances the interior look of your home, and interior painting is a task that all homeowners can achieve if you set aside the right amount of time, effort, and patience.

Your skill level and the tools you have will contribute to how quickly you can finish the job but speak to professionals and see if they have any recommendations to speed up your project.

Don’t miss out on vital steps to cut corners because they may be slightly time-consuming, because it’s the difference between and smooth application and a rushed-looking finish.

Make sure you thoroughly prepare your wall, from filling holes to dusting and sanding. Copying the procedure a professional painter would take will provide you with the best possible application.

Remember, if you are not a professional and it’s your first or second DIY painting project, then naturally, it’s going to take you a little longer to complete, and that’s fine.

If you are preparing to paint your bedroom and want to know what colors work best, you can check out our video detailing the five key factors that create the relaxed feel of a bedroom.

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