One of the most common questions I get from my students who are looking to increase their DIY skills is “How long does it take to paint a room ?”   

 Like any other household DIY project no simple answer can be had for any.   By far the biggest way to cut down the time is by utilizing a paint sprayer for the job over traditional painting methods.  For a quick choice we recommend the paint sprayer below as the #1 sprayer.  For more in-depth information on the questions you need to ask before figuring out your painting time, please continue.

Best All-Purpose Paint Sprayer

 While this seems like a simple question for the average painter, there can be a ton of variables in place that must be looked at with each room.   Let’s take a look at just a few.   

  • What is your painting experience?
  • What type of tools do you have?
  • Are you using a roller, brush or paint sprayer?
  • What type of roller, brush or paint sprayer?
  • What type of primer are you using?
  • What type of paint are you using?
  • What is the temperature?
  • What type of room are you painting?  

As an expert in painting cars and homes, painting can become something that can be very simple or very detailed.    An average person painting a traditional 10 x 10 room or 12 x 12 rooms with no issues can be done in a short amount of time, while the same room that needs sanded and painted can take several hours.   Below I will try and cover various rooms and the process that I would use on each of the rooms.  

How long does it take to paint a room with a roller?

If you are one who may already have a traditional roller or a few rollers you will be surprised at how long a good paint job may take.    If you are a novice, there are three things that you need to do before actually adding your first coat of paint to the wall.   how long does it take to paint a room

Prepping:  The prep part of painting can often be the most time consuming part of the job. This is almost always true if you are painting a small bedroom or painting a 10 x 10 room with little or no issues when it comes to the type of wall.  Other walls may require sanding or patching parts of the wall so that it is easier to paint.   To see more on how to prep a room for painting, follow the ideas here.   

Gathering your painting materials is often the most time consuming task, especially for someone that has to buy everything.  Make sure to talk with a professional at your local hardware store to see what materials you need for your job.

Priming:   If you are using only 1 roller, your time will increase as you will have to use your primer, wash your roller and then let it dry before using your paint.   If you have multiple rollers (which is what we suggest) you can cut some time off of your painting job.   

Painting:   Painting is often the easiest part of the job when it comes to painting.    Using a roller is definitely a more cost effective method than using a paint sprayer to paint a room, but it takes a lot longer.   The actual time spent depends on the type of size of the room, which we will cover later and how fast that you paint.  A typical novice painter will take about 1-2 hours to paint a small room after all the prepping and priming is done for a room with no other issues.  

How long does it take to paint a room with a sprayer?  

As you can see from the name of this website, that I am someone who advocates using a paint sprayer, even for the novice, you will be able to cut a substantial amount of time from using a traditional roller.   When it comes to the actual time to paint a room with a sprayer, on average you will be able to spray both the primer and paint approximately 75% faster than when using a roller.    

Painting one room (minus dry time for the primer) can usually be done in 10-20 minutes total time counting both the priming and painting.    This is for a small 10 x 10 room square room and you must make sure to add a few minutes extra for any issues that may arise or any parts that you can’t paint a large portion at a time and any other issues that may arise.

It is important to figure our what type of sprayer that you need, before moving forward based on your job.  For larger projects I would invest in a Graco or similar sprayer.  You can see a list of some of my favorite sprayers by clicking here.

How long does it take to paint a one bedroom apartment?

Painting a one bedroom apartment is something that many people living in large cities often wonder about.    Those who are fresh out of college and have no significant other often rent out small apartments in large cities that they will have the ability to paint.   Because of the age of many of these apartment complexes, especially in places such as New York City, the prepping process will be different as there are no other rooms available for storage.   Let’s take a look.  

Prepping:  Prepping a one bedroom apartment to paint, will take much longer than then prepping in a traditional home.    Most people who rent a one bedroom apartment will have no place to store their furniture and other items and must buy extra tarps, cloths, tape as the items will stay in the home.   When you are prepping these items the best idea is to take at least 2 days to paint your apartment as you can cover items and place them all on one side of the apartment and then move them back after the paint has dried.  

Priming:   For those who are looking to save some time, one option that some people choose is to prime the whole apartment in one day and then paint the next day.   If you have a smaller apartment with not that much to move, this can be the best option, as you are guaranteed to get the job done in two days.    

What do I paint with ?  While you can paint with a paint roller, I strongly suggest buying an inexpensive paint sprayer.  You can find some low cost paint sprayers that work well on small jobs from this previous post.

Painting:   When figuring out the amount of time it takes to prep, prime and paint a one bedroom apartment it is important to know that you must do it in intervals, due to moving furniture and drying time.   If you are short on time or looking to get done in one weekend, we recommend priming on day 1 and painting on the next day.  If you are looking for an easier way, we recommend dividing your work up into 4 different intervals as you move your furniture and priming 1/2 day 1,  painting day 2,  moving furniture back and priming on day 3 and finishing painting on day 4.    

  How long does it take to paint a room with trim?

Painting a room with trim will involve more time in the actual prep work than painting a room without trim.  The only time this would not involve more prepping, would be if you were to paint the trim the same color as the walls.   Those who choose to paint different colors (the majority) will have the majority of their time spent in prepping.  

Another consideration that must be taken, is whether you are painting the ceiling or not.  If you are painting the ceiling, you will have to add more time than originally anticipated.

Because the majority of trim is on the bottom part of the room, prepping the room will tend to take longer as many people have a hard time bending over and taping.   If you have any of these issues, we recommend that you allow double or triple the traditional prepping time as you may have some issues.  Once the prepping is done, we recommend painting the top first and letting it dry before moving to the trim.     

Painting trim with a paint sprayer is the best way to do it, being that you will be painting very close to the floor and/or ceiling and you do not want to get paint on these areas.   It is always wise to add 2 to 3 layers of tape and tarp on the floor, as you will be painting very close to the floor.   

How long does it take to paint a room with cathedral ceilings?

While not for the faint of heart, painting a cathedral ceiling can be accomplished by the novice if they get the right tools and set apart enough time for the job.  There are two different ways that we can cover and both can do the job but with a big difference in cost.   Let’s take a look.

Painting a cathedral ceiling with a paint sprayer:  Using a paint sprayer on cathedral ceilings is by far the easiest way to do it, but it will be much more expensive.   Because using a lift system is the only way to be able to be close enough to paint with a sprayer, many people will avoid using a sprayer.    

Depending on where you live this can run up to a few hundred dollars for just a few days rental.  Another alternative is to borrow scaffolding or a large ladder from a friend or local construction company if you have the right connections.    Painting a large room with a cathedral ceiling is something that can only be a weekend job with the paint sprayer + lift combo.

Painting a cathedral ceiling with rollers:  Some of us in the painting industry cringe when just thinking about painting a cathedral ceiling with an extended roller, but this is by far the cheapest way to paint your ceiling.   While a long extension pole will cost you less than a scaffold lift, it is important to have good paint clothes and quality paint goggles as the drip from high above can be very damaging to the eyes.

If you have all of this equipment already you are in good luck, as the only real cost will be the extension pole and your time.   The time in painting a cathedral style room will probably be at least triple the amount of time of painting a traditional 12 x 12 room as the roller method and the fatigue that you get in your shoulders will cause many more breaks than normal.

Best Strategy in Planning Your Painting Time

When trying to figure out how long it takes to paint a room it is wise to have a strategy mapped out before beginning the task.  I know many novice painters will jot down a few supplies and head to the local Lowe’s or Home Depot, only to think of more supplies that they need only increasing your job.   

If you are painting any type of rooms outside of a cathedral style room, you can usually get all of your painting done in one weekend (usually just a few brief sessions if you using a paint sprayer).   If you are doing a large project that requires a lot of prepping, the best idea is to take a whole weekend to prep and then do the painting the next weekend or maybe even a few nights during the week if you have time.