How Long Does It Take To Paint A Room?

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Painting a room is one of the most cost-effective and impactful ways to refresh your home’s interior or create a new ambiance.

Whether updating your decor or preparing to sell, a fresh coat of paint can make a significant difference.

But how long does it take to paint a room?

If you’re doing this DIY, it may take more time than you bargained for. This article will give you a rough estimate of how long it takes to paint a room.

The Answer (in chronological order of when do this task):

  • Buying Supplies: 1-2 hours
  • Prep: 1-2 hours
  • Paint Ceiling: 1 hour + 1 hour dry time between coats
  • Paint Trim: 1.5 hours
  • Clean Tools: 30 minutes
    Wait 1-2 days for the ceiling and trim to cure
  • Paint Walls: 2 hours + 1 hour dry time between coats
  • Touch Up & Clean Up: 1.5 hours
  • Curing: 24 hours

Factors To Consider

So you purchased all of your painting materials and you’re ready to go to town on the spare bedroom. How hard can painting a room be? Well, it isn’t rocket science. However, that doesn’t mean it’ll be as quick as slapping on a few layers of paint.

The times we shared above are all estimates. Take our estimates and add or subtract time-based on the factors below.

How Much Prep Work Is Required?

Painting is the easiest and quickest part. Prepping will take the longest, especially if you do it right. Prepping goes a long way toward ensuring a clean, smooth, and durable finish.

Priming alone is insufficient to cover gouges, old paint, and accumulated dirt on the surface. Professional painters always recommend cleaning and sanding the surface to ensure the paint applies evenly.

Here’s all that goes into prepping:

  • Moving furniture
  • Removing wall decor
  • Cleaning the trim
  • Repairing nail holes with spackle
  • Repairing drywall holes
  • Cleaning and sanding walls
  • Applying painter’s tape the trim around baseboards, door frames, and windows
  • Removing outlet and light switch covers
  • Laying down drop cloths and covering immovable furniture

Pro Tip: Using fast-drying spackle can save you a lot of time.

Size Of The Room

If you’re not a professional painter, it should take you about .2 minute/square foot. So painting the average bedroom (132 sq. ft) will take 30 minutes per coat.

Type Of The Room

The room type significantly affects how long it takes to paint due to various factors such as size, complexity, and unique features.

  • Bedrooms: Standard bedrooms, typically around 10×12 feet, may take one to two days to paint. They usually have a moderate amount of trim around windows and doors. Preparation includes filling small holes in picture frames, sanding, and priming if the walls are dark or stained. Bedrooms often have fewer obstacles to move compared to living rooms, making the process slightly quicker.
  • Bathrooms: Bathrooms can be more time-consuming despite their smaller size. The presence of fixtures such as sinks, toilets, and bathtubs requires careful taping and protection. Additionally, bathrooms often need moisture-resistant paint, which may require a primer. The confined space and necessity to paint around tiles, mirrors, and vanities add to the time required, often extending the project to two or three days.
  • Living Rooms: Living rooms are typically larger and may feature higher ceilings, extensive trim work, and multiple windows and doors. For example, a 15×20 foot living room with crown molding and large windows can take three to four days to paint. Preparation involves moving furniture, covering large areas, and dealing with more surface area. Decorative features such as built-in bookshelves or fireplaces further complicate and extend the painting process.

Application Method

The painting application method affects the time it takes to paint a room. Three common methods are brushes, rollers, and sprayers.

  • Brushes are typically used to cut around edges, corners, and trim. While brushes provide precision and control, they can be time-consuming for larger areas.
  • Rollers are commonly used for painting the larger portions of walls and ceilings. They offer a good balance between coverage speed and ease of use. Rollers can quickly cover large areas but may require multiple passes to achieve even coverage.
  • Sprayers can paint a room very quickly, covering large areas in a fraction of the time it takes with brushes or rollers. However, they can be cumbersome to use indoors due to the need for extensive masking and furniture, floors, and fixtures protection. They are usually reserved for exterior jobs or empty rooms where overspray isn’t an issue.

Choosing the right method depends on the room size, the work required, and the environment. Each method has advantages, but balancing speed with precision is key to achieving a quality finish.

Total Coats Of Paint

The first coat of paint will take about an hour to dry. After waiting for it to dry, you can complete the second and third coats in half the time, respectively. The number of coats needed will depend on the paint quality, color, and surface conditions.

  • Light over Light: If you are painting a light color over another light color, usually two coats of paint will suffice. The first coat provides initial coverage, while the second coat ensures an even and consistent finish.
  • Dark over Light: When painting a dark color over a light one, you often need at least two to three coats. The first coat may appear patchy; additional coats are necessary to achieve full coverage and color depth.
  • Light over Dark: Painting a light color over a dark one can be challenging. It typically requires a primer plus two coats of paint. The primer helps block the darker color and provides a neutral base for the new paint.

High-Quality Paint

Higher-quality paints often have better coverage and pigmentation, which can reduce the number of coats needed. These paints are heavier, thick acrylic-latex paint with around 20% more paint particles.

Paint products that only need one coat:

  • Sherwin-Williams Infinity
  • Behr Marquee Pretty
  • Valspar Signature
  • Cashmere Interior Acrylic Latex Paint

Surface Condition

The type and condition of the surface being painted also affect the number of coats. Textured or porous surfaces may require more coats to appear even, while smooth surfaces generally need fewer. This is why prep is so important; it will save you time on the back end.


Cutting in is a painting technique that creates clean, straight lines and ensures even coverage where a roller cannot reach. It involves using a paintbrush to carefully paint the edges, corners, and areas around trim, ceilings, baseboards, windows, and doors.

Cutting is by far the most time-consuming part of painting.

Cutting involves two areas:

  • The trim
  • The ceiling

Cutting around the trim should only take 15-30 minutes per wall for an average room.

Pro Tip: Avoid making the mistake of cutting the whole room before painting. You want to cut each wall one by one to blend the cut and the rest of the wall paint.

From decades of experience, here are the best cutting tips we can give you:

  • Thinning the paint by 10% will make it easier to work with.
  • Get a high-quality 3″ sash brush and learn how not to overload it with paint.
  • Carry a damp rag and a putty knife to correct errors
    Stroke with confidence and deliberate speed

Your Experience

If you’re reading this blog, I’ll assume you haven’t painted a room before. For beginners, it will take more than five hours of actual work. An experienced painter could finish it in about 4 hours. Trim and doors take more time than expected. If the walls are already painted, primer can be skipped.

Plan for at least two days.

one day to prep, mask, and prime, and another day to paint two coats. If patching is needed, add an extra day to dry overnight before sanding and retexturing.

If you don’t want to devote a weekend to paint a room, then consider hiring a painter instead of DIY.