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How to Measure a Room for Painting

Deborah Waltenburg

Whether you're in the mood for a total room makeover or just want to brighten up your existing wall colors, painting is an economical way to improve any room. You will need to measure, before ordering paint, in order to be sure that you get enough paint to complete the project.

Measure a Room for Painting
  1. Measure the height and length of each wall. If the wall has large windows or door frames, measure that area, height x length, and subtract it from that wall's square footage.

  2. Multiply height x length to calculate square footage.

  3. Add square footage for each wall together to get the room's total square footage.

  4. Measure length and width of the floor to calculate square footage of the room's ceiling.

  5. Choose your paint colors. Deep, dark colors will require a tinted primer and a minimum of 3 coats of paint to get the most uniform coverage. Lighter colors will require only 1-2 coats of paint. Primer may not be required unless you are painting light over dark color.

  6. Determine how many gallons of paint will be needed. All interior paints specify how many square feet each gallon will cover. Divide the square footage of your room by the paint's square foot coverage amount. This is the amount of gallons needed for one coat. For each additional coat, you will need to double or triple that amount.

  7. Tip

    Include window and door trims in measurements if you will be painting those with the same color. Round up measurements to ensure that you will have enough paint for the project. Keep a copy of your paint label, including the formula, in case you need to purchase more paint.