How Long Should Paint Dry Before Putting Furniture Back?

How Long Should Paint Dry Before Putting Furniture Back?

Finishing painting a room is a satisying experience. But when you realise you’ll have to wait for the paint to dry before you move your furniture back, satisfaction quickly turns into impatience.

Not to worry!

I’m here to tell you exactly how long you should leave the paint dry before moving your furniture back into your room.

Follow my advice and avoid the pain of smudging and scratching your freshly painted walls by putting your furniture back too soon.

Not only that, I’ll share some of my secret pro decorator tips to save you from the agony of having to watch paint dry just so you can move your furniture back into your room.

What’s The Difference Between Paint Drying And Curing?

Before we get into how long you should wait before putting furniture back, you need to know the difference between paint ‘drying’ and ‘curing’ times.

Paint is considered dry when it feels dry to touch. The dry time for paints are usually short.

When we talk about paint being cured, it’s a totally different thing. Curing refers to the process of paint reaching its maximum level of hardness and being 100% dry. The curing time of paint is typically substantially longer than the drying time.

The best way to think about the difference between paint drying and curing is to imagine the process of making ice cubes. Paint drying is like the surface of an ice cube forming, feeling hard while the inside is still liquid. Curing paint is like the ice cube fully freezing, solidifying from the inside out.

How Do You Know When Paint Is Fully Dry?

Check the back of your tin of paint, and you’ll find information on the curing and paint drying time for the specific paint you used.

However, these times are not always accurate. That’s because there are various factors that affect the curing and drying time of paints – I’ll talk about these later on.

The best way to check whether your paint is dry and cure is to assess them yourself. Here are two easy tests you can do to check whether your paint has dried and cured.

You can do a quick touch test to check if the paint is dry. A touch test simply involves touching the paint to see if it feels dry. Dry paint will feel like a piece of paper or plasterboard.

So, how do you know when paint is fully cured?

To check whether the paint is cured, you can do a ‘fingernail test’. It’s not as disgusting as it sounds, I promise. The ‘fingernail test’ involves pressing your fingernail into the painted surface. If your fingernail leaves a tiny dent in the freshly painted area, it’s not fully cured. If there’s no visible mark, then the paint has fully cured.

Man standing in front of painted wall waiting for it to dry

Factors That Affect Drying Time Of Paint

There are many factors that affect drying times of paint.

As a result, each of these factors will impact how long you have to wait before you can put furniture back into your room.

Let’s take a look at these factors:

Type of paint you use

The type of paint you use will have the biggest effect on the time it will take for paint to dry.

Whether it’s latex paint, oil-based paints, acrylic paints, or textured, every type of paint will have a different drying time.

The reason for these differences in drying times come down to the differences in the thickness and properties of the paint.

We’ll look at the drying times of different types of paint in more detail later.

Colour of the paint

Believe it or not, but the colour of the paint you use for your paint job, will impact the time it takes for it to dry.

You will find that darker colours take longer than lighter shades to dry. The reason it takes longer is because darker paint colours contain denser pigments than lighter paints which results in the water in paint taking longer to evaporate.

Ventilation

The more ventilation the room has, the quicker paint dries. So, if your painted room has lots of windows and doors you can open, you will find the paint will dry quicker than a room with very little fresh air.

Temperature

As you could probably imagine, paint dries quicker in warmer rooms than in cooler rooms. So, if your house is warm, you’ll be able to begin moving furniture back in no time!

Type of surface

The type of surface you are painting will impact how long it takes for paint to dry. Porous surfaces will take longer to dry when you paint them compared with non-porous surfaces.

The best way to think of this is to imagine two sponges. One with holes and one without. The one without holes will dry faster than the one with holes, because the water will be stuck all the little holes of the sponge.

The same thing works with paint.

Freshly painted room with no furniture inside

How Long Should Paint Dry Before Putting Furniture Back?

Let’s take a look at how long does each type of paint take to dry and cure. And let’s see how this impacts the time you’ll have to wait before you can put your furniture back in your room. 

Water-Based Paint

Water-based paints are one of the most fast-drying paints you can use. In fact, your walls will feel dry around 1 hour after you have painted them.

However, you won’t want to move your furniture back as soon as the paint dries because it wouldn’t have cured yet. Water-based paints take 1-2 weeks to fully cure.

Instead, you should wait 1-2 days before you begin putting furniture back into your room.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint takes slightly longer than water-based paints to dry. Typically, oil paint will dry in 6-8 hours and fully cure in 5-7 days.

When you use oil-paint, you should wait about 48 hours after painting before putting your furniture back into your room.

Moving furniture back too soon could result in damages to the freshly painted walls if you accidentally scrape or smudge your furniture against the interior walls.

Acrylic-Based Paint

If you decided to use acrylic paints for your DIY painting project, you should expect the walls to dry in 4-6 hours and fully cure in about 3-4 days.

When it comes to how long should you wait before putting your furniture back in a room painted with acrylic paints, I’d recommend waiting 1-2 days after the paint is applied.

Textured Paint

In recent years, textured paints have become a very popular option for painting a bedroom or living room.  

If you used textured paint in your room, it will take just 2-4 hours to dry and 3-4 days to fully cure.

Before moving furniture back into your room, wait at least 24 hours. By giving the paint at least a day to dry before putting your furniture back, you minimise the chance you’ll have to repaint due to damages.  

Woman hanging a picture frame of a newly painted wall

How Long Should Paint Dry Before Hanging Stuff On It?

I would generally recommend that you allow the paint to cure before you hang anything on the walls. By allowing paint to cure before hanging anything, you will prevent any damage to the surface.

However, there are a few exceptions.

If you allow the paint to fully dry (but not yet cure), you can hang lightweight items, such as small picture frames on your walls.

But, if it’s a heavy piece of furniture, such as a TV or large mirror, you are better off waiting until the paint has fully cured before hanging it on the wall.

If you don’t follow this advice, you might end up having a repainting job on your hands a lot sooner than you would’ve hoped for.

How To Cure Paint Faster

I know what you’re thinking. There must be a quicker way to cure paint.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be saved from the torture of having to wait for your paint to dry just so you can put move furniture back into your room:

Increase ventilation

Open all of the windows and doors and turn on your fans to maximise the amount of ventilation in the room. This will slash paint curing times and will mean you can move furniture back sooner.

Grab a dehumidifier

If your room has a lot of moisture (typically a bathroom or kitchen), you can reduce drying times by bringing a dehumidifier into your room.

A dehumidifier works by eliminating some of the moisture in the room. The result is a drier environment which is perfect for reducing the time painted walls take to dry and how long you have to wait before placing furniture back in your room.

Use a paint additive

My biggest secret for reducing the time it takes for paint dry are paint additives.

They’re like the magic little drops that turn paint drying time from ‘watching paint dry’ to ‘instant masterpiece’.

My favourite paint additive for reducing the time it takes for paint to cure is terebine driers which is good for oil-based and undercoat paints. Simply add 1-3 drops per pint of paint and you’ll be able to move your furniture back in no time.

Apply paint in thin coats

One of my favourite tricks for reducing the time it takes for my paint to dry is applying the paint in thin coats.

Thicker coats of paint tend to trap more of the solvents in the paint film which slows down the drying process. So when you apply the paint in thin coats, you minimise this effect and speed up paint drying times. As a result, when you paint in thin coats, the paint will feel dry in no time.

Turn up the temperature

Before applying the interior wall paint to your surface, turn up the temperature on the thermostat to make the room warmer.

Heat reduces drying times by increasing the rate at which the solvents are evaporated out of the paint.

So, by painting in a warmer room you can ensure the paint is dry before you know it.

Be Realistic

Now, you should know how long you’ll need to wait for your freshly painted walls to dry before placing furniture back into your room.

However, if you’re reading this before starting to paint, it’s important to remember that painting is a process.

The secret to a quality finish is patience – so while there are a few things you can do to speed up the time it takes for paint to dry, you should have a realistic idea of how long it takes to paint a room.

However, if time is not on your side, you might want to hire an interior painter and decorator to paint your property. A professional painter can apply the paint in thin coats and use the best type of paint to reduce drying times, meaning you can enjoy your freshly painted space as quickly as possible.