Painting a room in your home seems easy enough to do on your own.

But you know that painting a room is more involved than simply buying some paint, pouring it in a pan, and rolling it on the walls. There’s prep work to do on the front end, touch-ups at the back end, and all sorts of things to consider in the middle.

Perhaps you’ve got questions like these:

  • What steps are involved in painting a room? 
  • How long does it take to paint one room? 
  • How long does it take a painted room to dry?

This DIY guide will give you all the info you need along with some handy tips for your next DIY room painting project.

Table of Contents

5 Things to Consider When Figuring Out How Long it Takes to Paint a Room

Determining how long it takes to paint a room is dependent on a variety of factors. We’ll highlight five important things you should consider to calculate your time investment.

#1: How Much Prep Work Needs to Be Done?

It can be tempting to skip the prep work and just get busy painting. 

But prepping well goes a long way in making sure you have a clean, final coat.

Prepping an average-sized room (432 square feet –  a 13’ x 13’ room with 8’ ceilings) should take between 1 to 2 hours, depending on how many of the following elements you need to tend to:

  • Moving furniture
  • Removing wall decor
  • Repairing nail holes with spackle (Fast-drying spackle can save a little time.)
  • Repairing large drywall holes
  • Cleaning the trim
  • Thoroughly cleaning and sanding the walls with a sanding sponge or pole
  • Taping the trim around baseboards, door frames, and windows (A good quality tape is worth the extra cost.)
  • Removing outlet and light switch covers
  • Laying down drop cloths and/or covering areas or furniture
  • Setting up brushes, roller, and paint tray

#2: How Big Is the Room?

Of course, larger rooms will take longer to paint than smaller rooms. 

Our average room of 432 square feet could take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to paint.

But what if you’re painting a smaller room? 

Your question may be, “How long does it take to paint a room 10’ x 10’?” According to this formula (0.185 minutes/square foot), a room this size could take between 1 and 2 hours.

We’ll discuss this formula below so you can time out your entire project before you get started.

#3: How Much of the Room Are You Painting?

If you are painting only a portion of a room, then naturally, it will take less time than painting the entire room.

Suppose you are only painting one feature wall or aren’t planning on painting the ceiling — the square footage that you will paint decreases as does the time investment. 

Using the formula above should give you an accurate idea of how long the painting will take when painting only a section of the room.

#4: What Application Methods Will You Be Using to Paint the Room?

Different parts of a painting job require different tools. 

When it comes to the actual painting, there are three common application methods:

  1. Brushes
  2. Rollers
  3. Sprayers

Though sprayers can get the job done quickly, they can be cumbersome indoors and are usually reserved for exterior jobs. 

Brushes are generally used for cutting around edges and trim, and rollers are used to apply paint to the larger portions of the walls.

#5: How Many Coats of Paint Are You Applying?

Most rooms require multiple coats of paint unless you are merely doing some touch-up work.

The first coat typically takes longer than the second or third coats. 

In an average-sized room, the first coat may take 45 minutes to an hour while the second coat may only take half as long to finish.

One of the Biggest Time Commitments When Painting a Room: Cutting In

Cutting in is easily the most time-consuming part of a painting job — but don’t skip it.

Trying to cut corners (pun intended) can cost you more time in the long run and leave you with a subpar finish. The following adage is most definitely applicable when it comes to this important step — “Do it right; do it light. Do it wrong; do it long.”

Cutting in involves two areas:

  1. The trim
  2. The ceiling

Cutting around the trim should be pretty straightforward and speedy if you’ve taped off those areas during prepping. And don’t forget to brush around the outlets and light switches. 

Cutting in around the trim should only take about 30 minutes for an average room.

Cutting around the ceiling can be more time-consuming, especially for a beginner — taking 45 minutes to an hour for the first coat and 30 to 40 minutes for the second. Cutting in around the ceiling will take more time and a steady hand to achieve a sharp, clean line. 

Follow these tips to make this tedious part of the job a little easier:

  • Use a small painting pail with a handle to avoid carrying the paint can up and down the ladder.
  • Use a high-quality 2.5” to 3” angled brush to get a clean, straight line.
  • Rather than a ladder, use a platform bench to cover more surface area with every trip up.
  • Use painter’s tape around the trim. The extra time to apply the tape will pay off in the end.

The Main Event: Painting the Walls

This is, without a doubt, the easiest and fastest part of the job.

For an average-sized room like the one we’ve mentioned above, painting the walls should take 1 to 2 hours (depending on the number of coats).

If you’ve done your prep work thoroughly, this phase of the job should be easy and fairly quick. 

Using a paint roller doesn’t require any special skill, so even the beginner painter should be able to perform this part of the job without any trouble.

Consider these pointers when painting with a roller:

  • At regular intervals, step back and look at your work and roll back over any streaks, runs, or light spots.
  • Use wider rollers for walls with larger surface areas. The standard 9” roller works well for average walls, but a 14” to 18”-wide roller can get the bigger jobs done in less time.
  • Use an extension rod to avoid the time and effort involved in going up and down a ladder.
  • Use your friends — to help you paint. With the help of a friend or two, the painting can be done in a flash.

How Long Does it Take a Painted Room to Dry?

Before adding extra coats, you want to make sure that the paint is thoroughly dry.

Drying time, typically 2 to 4 hours, depends on a few factors including:

  • Type of paint
  • Type of finish
  • Temperature
  • Humidity

Water-based paints are thinner and tend to dry more quickly than oil-based paints. Glossier finishes take longer to dry than matte finishes — up to an hour longer.

Cooler temperatures and higher levels of humidity can also slow down the drying process.

A final factor to consider is curing time. 

This factor shouldn’t be overlooked even though it can take longer than you’d prefer. Allow 1 to 3 weeks for your walls to cure before moving furniture into place or hanging paintings or other decorations on the wall.

You Aren’t Finished Yet! Don’t Forget About Touch-Ups and Clean Up

Finishing well will guarantee a job you’ll be pleased with, so don’t sidestep these last few tasks:

  1. Look for missed spots that need touching up.
  2. Carefully remove the painter’s tape.
  3. Replace switch plates.
  4. Clean up dust.
  5. Fold up and store drop cloths.
  6. Mount wall decor.
  7. Position furniture in place.

Depending on various factors, you should be able to finish touch-ups and cleaning up in under an hour. 

What Is the Fastest Way to Paint a Room?

The fastest way to paint a room is to have the right equipment readily at your disposal. Running to the hardware store to get more paint or a forgotten tool will cost more time in the long run. 

Some tools you’ll want to have on hand include:

  • Extension pole
  • Paint tray
  • Roller frame
  • Roller cover
  • Angled brush
  • Paint pail
  • Enough paint to complete the job

As for supplies, purchase these before you get started:

  • Painter’s tape
  • Sanding sponge or sanding pole
  • Shop-Vac
  • Drop cloths
  • Drywall spackling
  • Spackling tools

On top of all the tools and supplies, consider all of the steps you’ll need to perform to complete the job:

  • Prepping
  • Cutting in
  • Painting (including multiple coats)
  • Touch-ups 
  • Clean up

If all of that sounds time-consuming, it is. 

The fastest way to paint a room is to call on the professionals. 

With years of expertise and experience, our team at A1 Paint Removal, Painting & Restoration can get your painting project done in a fraction of the time it will take to do it yourself. 

Our A1 professionals will give you a beautifully painted room in a time frame that meets your needs.

A Formula for Finding the Average Time to Paint a Room

To calculate the average time to paint a room, the general guideline is that it takes 0.76 minutes per square foot. 

You will need to find the square footage of the walls of the room you want to paint. To do this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Find the perimeter of a room. For a 10’ x15’ room, the perimeter would be 50’ (10+10+15+15=50).
  2. Multiply the perimeter by the height of the ceiling. For a room with 9’ ceilings, the square footage would be 450 square feet (50 x 9 = 450).
  3. Multiply the square footage by 0.76 minutes per square foot. (450 x 0.76 = 342)
  4. Now convert the time from minutes to hours by dividing by 60 (342 minutes/60 = 5.7 hours).

How Long Does it Take to Paint a Room? Other Things to Consider

The calculations above are simply averages. 

The following factors can influence the bottom line when it comes to how long it takes to paint a room:

  • Skill level
  • Tools
  • Helpers
  • Additional painting of the ceiling or trim

In general, professionals can paint a room in half the time it takes a homeowner.

Our A1 pros have the skill and experience to get your painting job done with excellence and speed.

If Time Is a Big Factor for You, Should You Hire Professionals or Try to DIY?

When deciding whether a painting DIY project is the best option, ask yourself these questions?

  • How much of the house do I want to be painted? 
    • One room may be doable, but the entire house or multiple rooms might be too overwhelming. That’s when you should call in the pros.
  • How many stories are involved? 
    • If your home has two-story walls, a professional painter will have the proper equipment and experience to get the job done safely and on time.
  • Do the walls need a lot of repairs? 
    • Unless you have loads of experience with spackling and sanding, you may want to let the pros handle your job to guarantee a seamless finish.
  • How much trim is involved? 
    • If the trim work is minimal, a DIY project might be in order. But if the trim is extensive and extravagant, a professional painter will likely do a more quality job.
  • How old is our house? 
    • Houses constructed before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. In that case, you’ll want to have it tested by a professional before painting.
  • How would I rate my skill? 
    • Honestly gauging your skill level can help you decide to do it yourself or hire a professional.

In addition to the time factor, you may also want to consider the cost. In the end, after a cost-benefit analysis, hiring a professional may be the preferred choice.

A1 Paint Removal, Painting & Restoration: Your Source for Expert Professional Interior and Exterior Paint Jobs

After you’ve considered … 

  • The scale of your painting job
  • Your skills and experience
  • Your timeframe; and
  • Your budget

… you may decide to call in the experts. You don’t need to look any further than A1 Paint Removal, Painting & Restoration to get the job done.

Family-owned and operated since 1995, we share our experience and expertise with homeowners in the Portland, Oregon area.

When you choose A1 Paint Removal, Painting & Restoration for your painting project, we will:

  • Help you select colors
  • Help you choose the right finish
  • Take your timeline and accessibility into account

Our goal is to give you the best painting experience possible. 

Our team will consult you at every step of the process to make sure the job is done to your specifications and desires.

From prepping to painting to finishing, we complete the entire process with your needs and desires in mind. 

Contact us to get a free estimate.