How To Ventilate A Room While Painting [4 Ways]

Smelling paint fumes for long hours is not good for your health as paint contains lots of chemicals that can adversely affect your body. Also, most people don’t like the smell of paint. So it is common, and important too, to ventilate the room while painting. But what are the best ways to do that?

Here are some of the best ways to ventilate a room when painting;

a painted room

1. Open your windows

To create the proper conditions for painting a room, you should first of all open the windows wide in your room as well as the door. This allows fresh air to enter the room and paint fumes to get out of it, maintaining a proper air circulation in your space. Due to the need of keeping windows open, many people choose to paint their rooms during the hot season. Try to choose a day when it is not raining as that could compromise your ventilation strategy and it could even damage your painting process due to increased level of humidity. 

2. Use box fans to eliminate toxic fumes 

You also need to use one or more fans, depending on the size of the room. The fans will increase the ventilation and will speed up air circulation in a direction that is good for your health. Your main priority is to use these fans to push the fumes outside the windows and not only keep them circulating in a closed space. The best way to do this is by using a box window fan and turning it on even before you start painting the room. If you don’t have a box window fan, use a regular fan but place it in such a way that it faces the window and acts as a vacuum for the fumes you want to eliminate.

3. Use your ceiling fan

If you have a ceiling fan, don’t forget to turn it on when painting. Ceiling fans are as effective as box fans when it comes to ventilation. Even though they don’t exactly pull air through the window like a box fan, due to their larger sizes the ceiling fan will be able to push the air outside the room. Just make sure to keep your windows open. I don’t recommend keeping your door open since that will spread the smell to the other areas of the house.

If you don’t have a ceiling fan, you can also use a pedestal fan. Depending on where it is placed the pedestal fan can push or pull the air out of the room. You can place it near the window with the fan facing outside, this will pull the air from the room out through the window. You can also place it away and at an angle to the window so the fan will push the air out!.

4. Use a door fan

Door fans are small fans that can be mounted on the doors. I suppose they can also be mounted on the window with a few modifications but I am not 100% sure about that. Now, this setup is recommended only if the door is facing outside and not into the house, you really don’t want to spread the smell of the paint to other rooms as well, do you.

Alternatively, you can also use floor blower fans.

What you shouldn’t do

Okay, I read some other blog posts on this subject and some of them suggest running the AC, and turning on the whole house fan as effective venting methods while painting. I strongly disagree, here’s why;

Air conditioners do not ventilate a room, they recondition the air, but it is the same air that is circulated back to the room. Also, if you have a central air conditioning system, it is very likely that the smell of paint will spread through other rooms when you are painting.

Whole house fans pull air from the rooms to the center of the house (which is the best place to mount them), so if you run the whole house fan what is going to happen is it will spread small throughout the house, including the attic! So, doing this is not recommended at all.

How long should you ventilate the room after painting

Once the painting is done, is it ideal to move in right away? Or should you keep it ventilated for a while longer?

It is recommended to keep the room ventilated for 24 hours after painting. This will give ample time for the paint to dry, and for the smelly air to be moved out of the house.

Whatever you do, it is impossible to completely get rid of the paint smell, so even if you ventilate the room for two days, there is going to be some smell in there. So, give it 24 hours with the windows open, and the fans running.

It is also not recommended to move your furniture to the room before this time. Furniture can obstruct the ventilation, and the beds and cushions can absorb the paint smell. The last thing you want is to sleep on a bed that smells of paint.

Store leftover paint properly

If you didn’t use all the paint, it is just as important to put the buckets with leftovers away correctly. Make sure to put an airtight lid on them so no new toxins can come out of the containers. Also, store your unused pain in a place that is not accessible to your pets or children. 

Extra tip: We also recommend using a pain that is low in VOC toxins or even one with no VOC toxins. VOCs are volatile organic compounds that are released into the air during the painting process. Paints that are low in these compounds are considered safer for indoor use because they don’t release such toxic chemicals into the air. 

Why should you ventilate a painted room? 

Exposure to VOC fumes emanated by the paint can cause serious health conditions that will vary from mild to severe. The gravity of such conditions will depend on the type of chemicals you inhale and the amount of time you are exposed to them, without proper ventilation. 


Exposure to VOCs can trigger respiratory conditions such as asthma attacks. This risk is higher in children as they are more prone to develop asthma due to their undeveloped respiratory system. If you already suffer from Asthma, it is essential to protect yourself and keep the air flowing in your room in order to avoid fumes accumulating. 

Chemical allergies 

People that suffer from chemical sensitivities could develop allergic reactions when they are exposed to fumes and even suffer from rashes, headaches, joint or muscle pain, and other symptoms. If you know you have such sensitivity, it is recommended to hire professionals that will paint the room so you don’t take the risk of developing severe conditions during this task. 

Effects of fumes for pregnant women and babies

Pregnant women should not be exposed to paint fumes as these chemicals could avoid the baby’s development. There are studies that signify an increased risk of miscarriage for pregnant women that are exposed to VOCs for a prolonged period of time. 

Similarly, babies are not developed enough to fight such toxins and they have vulnerable lungs. Exposing them to such chemicals increases the risk of respiratory conditions and even chronic conditions such as leukemia. 

Take into account all the aspects in this guide when you are painting a room in your house. It is essential to not expose yourself or other members of your family to any risks as the side effects could be devastating in both the short and long term. If you can’t ventilate the painted room correctly, it is recommended to hire a professional and allow them to complete the painting process without your presence. 

Charles John

Experienced HVAC technician with 8 years of experience in the industry. Capable of handling all sorts of heating and cooling equipment as well as proficient in operational management, construction-related techniques such as preventative maintenance, electrical troubleshooting and AutoCAD

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