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How Long Does It Take to Paint a Room?


There are a lot of variables to be considered before you can determine how long it will take for you to paint a room. You must consider the fact that if you attempt to paint a room quickly, and you miss any of the important procedures of preparation, application, and drying time, then you will more than likely have less than satisfactory results.

Painting a room requires several things to be done before you get the aesthetically pleasing results you long for.

Things that Effect How Long it Takes to Paint a Room

Painting a room is more than slapping some paint on a wall surface. The following things all affect the amount of time it will take for you to paint a room.

Size of the Room

The size of the room that you are painting plays a large part in how long the work will take. For the purpose of this article we are going to discuss painting a room that measures 13’ x 13’ and has a ceiling height of 8’. The National Home Builder Association declares a room this size, with 432 square feet, to be the size of the average bedroom.


The first order of painting is the preparation of the surface you want to apply paint to. Preparation includes:

1. Removing the curtains, curtain rods, and window blinds

2. Removing any nail, screw, or picture hanger that might be protruding from the wall. It is possible that some nails can simply be hammered back into the wall so the head of the nail is flush with the surface

3. Repairing any broken pieces of wall covering such as repairing holes in the sheetrock. Holes may be from damage, deterioration, or be left by the nails, screws, or picture hangers that you used to hold your room décor in place. If you apply anything to fill the hole you must   a) make sure the material you use can be painted   b) give the material you use ample time to dry before you do anything else.

4. Clean the walls to remove all dust, dirt, or grime (Depending on the amount of dirt and grime this portion of the preparation can take between 5 minutes and 1 hour. If you need to use water and detergent to clean the wall surface you need to allow the walls to dry completely before you apply paint)

5. Cover the floor with a drop cloth so no paint can get on the flooring

6. Put drop cloths over any furniture in the room that you do not want to get paint on

Taping the Room


You want to use painter’s tape to protect the baseboards, door trim, window trim, and anything you do not want to get paint on. (This process can be done by professionals in about half of an hour in the typical bedroom. If you are not a professional then this process may take an hour or more to complete.) 

You want to make sure and use a high quality painter’s tape. You are going to be tempted to buy the cheaper versions of this tape, but the professionals know that the tape you choose will affect the job in major ways.

High-quality painter’s tape will protect the surface it is covering and not allow paint to bleed through. It will also be easy to remove when the job is finished. Cheaper painter’s tape will often damage the wall surface that is supposed to be protecting.

Wall Preparation


At this time you are advised to sand the surface area of the walls to make sure that you have a perfectly smooth surface to paint. This job is going to require you to have a fine grit sandpaper and a sanding pole to help you reach the highest parts of the wall without having to climb up and down a ladder. You can do this sanding without the sanding pole, but you will spend more time climbing your ladder than you do sanding.

Once you have sanded the walls to make them smooth you need to use a clean dry cloth and wipe over them to remove all particles of dust. If you have a shop vacuum you can use that to help you eliminate all of the dust left behind.

You need to cover the glass on your windows if you will be painting with a roller or a paint sprayer. Until you get the hang of using the roller there is a good chance that you will apply too much pressure when you are rolling the paint and that pressure will allow droplets of paint to float onto surfaces such as window panes. Taping newspaper over the glass will take the worry of paint transfer out of the equation. It will also reduce your clean up time.

It normally takes about 80 minutes for you to prepare the room for painting.

Tools Used to Apply the Paint a Room

painting tools

The tools that you use to apply the paint are going to change the amount of time it takes to apply the paint. The common painting tools are:

Paint a Room Using Paintbrush

Paint a room using a paintbrush

The paintbrush is mandatory for cutting paint in around the top of the walls, in the interior corners, and around the top of your baseboards. (If you are an average painter then you will spend an hour, or more, cutting the paint in around the ceiling and baseboards.)

You can also paint the walls using a brush, but the paint application will be uneven, it will be thicker than what you will do with other painting tools, it will not be uniform in appearance and the brush strokes will be obvious when the paint dries.

Paint with the Roller

paint a room with a roller

The roller allows you to cover a larger area of the wall in a shorter amount of time. The roller will allow you to apply an even coat of paint and you can eliminate brush strokes, or patterns in the painting process. Iit will take you about 80 minutes to apply paint using a roller. This estimation is based on one coat. Each coat should take a little less amount of time, so the second coat will likely only take you about 60 minutes to apply.)

Using Paint Sprayer

Paint a Room with paint sprayer

A paint sprayer is the quickest method of applying paint. If you are not used to using a paint sprayer (HVLP, airless or paint sprayer specially for wall) it will take you some time to get your application process correct. Practice applying the paint from one of these apparatuses on an old piece of cardboard before you attempt to use it to paint your walls. (It should only take between 45 minutes and one hour to paint the room using this tool. You will likely need to apply more than one coat of paint, but the paint is applied so thin that you can start back on the first wall by the time you have painted the other three walls.)

Rags and Sponges

You can get creative with your paint application. You can use soft rags, or sponges to create textured appearances, or to make the paint look softer on the walls. The rags and sponges will take more time to use because you are going to be creating a special effect by daubing paint onto the surface with these smaller tools.

Thickness of the Paint Coatings

We just discussed the fact that different paint tools will apply different amounts of paint to the wall while you work. You can also apply different amounts of paint by loading your roller heavier, or making the paint you are spraying from your sprayer thicker.

It is always tempting to use thicker coats and reduce the number of times you have to paint each wall. The thicker coats dry slower, and are more likely to have runs or imperfections in them.

Light, even coatings of paint are recommended by the professionals.

Weather Conditions and Temperature

The amount of time that it takes for paint to dry is affected by the amount of moisture that is in the air. If the humidity levels are high, or it is raining outside, or the temperature outside is 50 or below, then the amount of time that it takes for the paint to dry will be increased.

How Much Do Painters Charge to Paint a Room? 

The amount that a professional will charge you to paint your interior surfaces will be dependent on the location you live in, and what painting you are having done.

To paint the average wall a professional will normally charge between 1.50 and 3.50 per square foot. If the average room is 432 square foot then the average price will be between $652.5 and $1,512.

If you are also having the ceiling of the room painted, and the trim in the room painted, the painter will likely charge you between 3 dollars and 4 dollars per square foot to paint the room. Remember that by adding the ceiling to be painted, you have increase the square footage the painter has to paint and that increases the amount the painter will charge.

Other variables that may change the amount you have to pay to get the room painted by a professional are:

  • The number of outlets, windows, or obstacles in the room. This includes whether there is furniture in the room the painter has to work around.
  • Whether you provide the paint or the paint is part of the job bid
  • The texture or painting style you choose. If you want the painter to do a decorative style of painting then the amount they charge is going to be increased by the level of difficulty the style adds to the job.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for paint to dry in a room?

In a room that is between 60 degrees and 90 degrees, with good air circulation, most latex paints will dry in under an hour per coat. This figure is dependent on the paint being applied in thin coats and the humidity levels not being too high.

Can you paint a room over several days?

You can paint a room over a period of several days. You want to make sure that you do not start a wall and stop before you complete that wall because when you try and connect wet paint to dry paint lines you will always have a visible line on the wall.

How much does it cost to paint a 12×12 room?

If you hire a professional to paint a room this size it will cost you between $200 and $800 dollars. If you paint the room yourself it will cost you between $100 and $300. The cost is partially determined by the paint brand that you choose.

How do you store a paint roller overnight?

You should clean your paint roller with clear water until all of the paint is washed from the nap. Then run your hand down the roller to remove excess water. Then stand the roller on its end so it is not lying flat against any surface.

Last Notes

Painting a room is the least expensive way of restoring a look to a room, or creating a new look. Painting is not extremely difficult to do, anyone with the desire to paint a room can do it. Painting does require you to do some work in order to paint the room and have the results look professional.

If you are willing to invest the time and effort you can paint your room with beautiful results.

Good Luck With Your DIY Painting Project!

Check out my post on how to stain a fence!

About Lisa Bohrer

Lisa is a native Texan who says she wears many hats. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, farmer, animal lover, fisherwoman, gardener, and college student. Lisa is a sophomore at Liberty University where she is taking classes to earn her Associates Degree in Creative Writing. She and her husband of 35 years fill their days with life on the farm raising goats and chickens, and then most evenings she can be found at the computer writing, or researching a topic that has piqued her interest.

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