How Long Does It Take To Paint a Room?

painting a wall with roller and extension pole

6 Key factors determine how long it will take to paint a room:

  • Size of the room and how much of it you plan to paint
  • Surface preparation 
  • The existing color and the color you want to paint it
  • Your expertise and the experience you have 
  • The tools you use
  • Cleaning up

How well you prepare your room and painted surfaces is a direct factor in how long it will take. The actual painting is just a fraction of the overall time it takes to complete a room. 

Let’s talk about each part of painting a room and what’s involved. You’ll then have a fair idea of how long it will take to paint the space you have in mind. There’s no way to know precisely how long it will take, but it’s invaluable to have a clear overview of your project. This article intends to give you a clear overview.

Let’s be real; painting is hard work. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be crazy hard. Let’s talk about each of the factors involved, and that should give you a fair idea of how long it will take to paint the room you have in mind. That will ease some of the anxiety of wondering, at least.

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How Much Paint Will You Need To Paint A Room?

choosing the right paint color

Since a gallon will cover up to 400 square feet, you can count on using around two gallons for most average-sized rooms. If you want a little help determining how much paint you’ll need, Benjamin Moore has a decent paint calculator you can use to get a general idea of how much you’ll need to have ready for your project.

Always plan on two coats. If you’re covering one color with another similar color, you may get away with one pass. But it’s a given you’ll need two coats if you’re covering a dark color with a light one or if you have a lot of stains or discoloring. The same goes if you to have lots of repairs. Consider applying a good quality primer first, so you’ll have a good “canvas.”

If the color you want is a unique color mix and not a standard color, always make sure you get more than you need. You’ll want to have a little extra for touchups later on. You don’t want to run out of paint, either, which will cause a color matching issue. Always get extra paint when mixing specialty colors.

Here’s a list of the parts of a room to consider for your paint job:

  • Ceiling
  • Walls
  • Trim
  • Baseboards 
  • Doors

Each one will require at least a slightly different approach to tackle. Ceilings don’t take as long as you might think, although you do need to make sure that drips don’t land on the carpet or your grandmother’s prized curio cabinet.

Are the walls stained or need repair? Covering smoke-stained walls with a good quality primer can eliminate unwanted odors later on and help guarantee paint adherence. Primer is an excellent cover for deep stains as well.

Planning Time:

1-2 Hours: Outline your overall painting job, choose colors, what you intend to cover with paint, and how many coats it will take.

Preparing The Room For Paint

moving furniture

Getting the room ready to paint will include: 

  • Clearing everything out or moving everything to the room’s center 
  • Covering flooring and furniture
  • Removing wall plates, curtains, blinds, and other hardware
  • Repairing holes and cracks
  • General cleaning and covering or removing stains

Preparation is key to a good quality paint job. Many professional painters say that surface and room preparation is the bulk of every job they tackle. 

room preparation for paint

Room Preparation Time:

1/2 to 1 Hour: Clear out the room or move everything to the room’s center and cover flooring and furniture.

1/2 Hour: Remove wall plates, curtains, blinds, and other hardware from the walls.

1-4 Hours: Repairing holes and covering odor or stain issues will take time. Adding in how long it should take is a judgment call. You will need to fill in the cracks, too. Experience is your best teacher when estimating time for surface preparation.

Your Painting Experience and Expertise

The more hands-on experience you gain, the faster and better you will become. That’s a given. Still, know that some people have a knack for it, and some don’t. If you think you’ll enjoy painting, you likely will. 

If you generally avoid the whole idea of painting, at least give it a try. You may be surprised. If it still pains you to think about it, you should probably consider hiring out the work.

The main thing about experience is this: If you have no experience at all, it will likely take you at least twice as long as a professional painter to paint a room.

The time it takes to paint an average-sized room, including ceiling, walls, and trim – 3-1/2 Hours.

Your Tools

I’ll make this as simple as possible; Don’t skimp on tools. Using the right tool for any job is so important that this paragraph should probably be at the top of this article.

You’ll need to have on hand the tools and materials required for various tasks aside from the actual painting. These tasks include:

  • Hole and crack repair
  • Removing hardware like wall plates
  • Protecting floors and furniture
  • Reaching the ceiling and high walls
  • Cleaning up

Here’s a laundry list of tools you need to consider having on hand for the room you want to paint:

  • drop cloths
  • masking tape
  • blue painter’s tape
  • basic hand tools
  • a good quality 3″ natural bristle brush
  • a good quality 2″ natural bristle brush
  • a ladder or step stool that allows you to reach everything you need to reach
  • a medium knap roller and tray
  • an extension pole for your roller
  • rags
  • trash bags
  • buckets

Tool Gathering Time: 1 hour

Cleaning Up After You’re Done

You’ll need to allow time to clean up. If you do each chore through to completion, you’ll spend less time cleaning tools and your work area.

You’ll need to move furniture back into place. You’ll need to put your tools away. And finally, you’ll want to spend time putting things back on the wall, like pictures, wall plates, and drapes.

Cleaning Up: 1-2 hours.

How Much Time Does All That Add Up To?

Based on averages, like the room size, the number of wall hangings, and the amount of furniture in the room, I think you should expect a total of somewhere between 10 and 14 hours for everything. Everything includes preparation, and cleanup, ceilings, walls, and trim, but it doesn’t cover taking breaks or going to the bathroom.

I save doors as a separate project, but that’s just me.

Doing multiple rooms goes faster since you can bulk steps together. If you have some painting experience, you can probably shave an hour or two from my total. Every job has its nuances, but I think this covers most things and gives a pretty good average of how long it takes to paint a room.

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