Can You Sleep In A Room After Painting It?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

Painting your bedroom is often a more involved process than you initially anticipate. First there is the furniture moving to the prep work. Then you need to prime the walls before adding several layers of your new paint color. When all this is said and done, you are likely exhausted and in need of a good night’s rest in your new and improved bedroom. But how long do you need to wait after painting your room before it is safe to sleep in it?

You should not sleep in a freshly painted room until all the paint is completely dry and the fumes have had time to disperse from the room. Water-based paints dry typically within an hour or two, while oil paints take about 8 hours, or even longer. The humidity, temperature, circulation, and ventilation all affect how long it takes before a room is safe to sleep in.

Once you put all your belongings and your bed back in their respective places, you are most likely eager to get a good night’s rest. The amount of time you need to wait to sleep in a room that has just been painted carries based on all sorts of factors. Before you snuggle up in your bed, you should know all these factors. You should also know the risks involved if you decide to sleep in a freshly painted room too soon.

Can You Sleep In A Freshly Painted Room?

As a general rule, it is not safe to sleep in a freshly painted room. You should always wait until the painted room has had ample time to dry. Even after the paint is dry to the touch, there is still some drying occurring. This means fumes can still linger.

It is safe to sleep in a painted room once all the paint is dry and all the fumes have dispersed. If you would like to be cautious, then wait a full 24 hours before sleeping in a newly painted room. If you are on the more eager side, then you should understand the variables that go into how long it takes for paint to dry.

Once you understand how long it takes different paints to dry in different conditions, you will have a better grasp on how long you need to wait before your own room is safe for sleeping.

Wait Times For Oil-Based Paints vs. Water-Based Paints

The type of paint you use is the most important factor to weigh when determining how long you need to wait before it’s safe to sleep in the room. This is because depending on the paint, it can take anywhere from one hour to 24 hours for the paint to fully dry.

Water-Based Paints

Water or latex-based paints are very commonly used in bedrooms. They are widely accessible. They come in all sorts of colors, finishes, and brands. Most of all, they are generally more affordable than other paint types.

In addition to the availability and cost benefits, water-based paints are also known to dry faster. In ideal conditions, water-based paints can dry as quickly as one hour. This means that in ideal conditions, you can likely sleep in your room within 4 hours of the water-based paint drying in your room. That is, of course, as long as there is proper ventilation and all fumes have dispersed.

Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paint is known for its strength, durability, and sheen. It holds up over time and has great coverage. This makes it popular in some homes, though much less popular than water-based paint in bedrooms. This is often due to the fact that oil-based paints tend to be a bit pricer. One of the other downsides to oil-based paints is they take much longer to dry.

If you use oil-based paint in your bedroom it can easily take at least 8 hours for a coat of paint to dry. Depending on the paint and conditions, it can take upwards of a full 24 hours for oil-based paint to dry and for it to be perfectly safe to sleep in the room. Oil-based paints are also known to have more toxic fumes than water-based paints, which means you should be even more cautious before sleeping in a room that was just painted with this paint type.

Things To Consider Before Sleeping In Freshly Painted Room

There are many factors that will change how long you need to wait before sleeping in your freshly painted room. They range from climate to the can of paint you used. Below are the five main factors you should take into account as you determine how long you should wait before sleeping in a painted room.

1. Temperature

The temperature of the room will affect how soon you can sleep in it after painting. Paint is best applied at room temperature. Ideally, you will paint on a day somewhere close to 68 degrees. You should never paint when it is colder than 45 degrees. When you paint on cold days, paint will take significantly longer to dry.

Painting on hot days is also not ideal. Very hot days can cause paint to form an exterior layer of skin before the paint underneath has fully dried. So paint on a pleasant day. It will make the experience more enjoyable as well.

2. Humidity

Humidity is another huge factor to consider when you determine whether or not you can sleep in a freshly painted room. Water-based paints need to dry through evaporation. If it is humid, this process can take hours longer than if it is dry.

Do your best to paint on a day with a relative humidity before 80 percent. If you paint on a very humid day, you should wait a full day before sleeping in it, as it will take many hours to fully dry and set.

3. The Paint Itself

Every paint is a bit different. Sure, oil-based paints and water or latex-based paints are very different, as we mentioned above. But even some paints within the same family vary based on how they are made.

Some paints have more toxic fumes than others. Some tend to dry a bit slower than others due to their makeup. Read your paint label and ask the professional in the store for advice. These two resources will help you gauge how long you need to wait before sleeping in your painted room.

4. Air Circulation And Ventilation

The amount of air circulation and ventilation is also quite important. After all, with no circulation or ventilation, it will take ages before the toxic fumes leave your bedroom. Proper air circulation and ventilation goes a long way in speeding up the paint drying process. Using fans, or keeping your HVAC system running is helpful. If you have windows in the room, keeping them open on a nice day while you paint is a great way to disperse fumes, speed up the drying process and make your room ready for sleeping sooner.

5. The Room

The room itself can also impact how long you should wait before sleeping in it once it’s painted. If there are no windows (or windows that can’t be opened) in the room you should wait longer than if there are ample windows. Larger rooms may also take more time, since there is more paint that needs drying.

Dangers Of Sleeping In A Freshly Painted Room

VOCs And Why Fresh Paint Is Harmful For Humans

Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs are one of the main health concerns when it comes to paint and its fumes. VOCs are present in many paints. They are higher in oil and solvent-based paints, but are also found in smaller degrees in water-based paints. They can cause several issues if inhaled over time. Fresh paint also contains other off-putting fumes, that while not catastrophic to health, can cause discomfort.

Central Nervous System Damage

VOCs have the potential to cause central nervous system damage. This is why you should always paint with a mask (especially when using paints with high levels of VOCs).


Even without VOCs, the fumes from chemicals in paint can cause headaches. This is very common if you are prone to headaches or have a sensitive sense of smell.

Throat, Nose, And Eye Irritation

You can also experience an allergic type of reaction when around paint fumes. This can manifest itself in throat irritation, a runny nose, or irritated, itchy eyes.

Nausea And Upset Stomach

Just as paint fumes can cause headache, they can also cause nausea and upset stomach. This is why you should wait until all paint fumes have dispersed before moving back into your room for sleep.

Liver And Kidney Issues

VOCs can also cause liver and kidney damage. This is why you need to take extra precautions before sleeping in a room with VOCs present in the paint.

Final Words On Sleeping In A Room After Painting It

Make sure you wait until all the paint is dry and fumes have dispersed before you sleep in your room. This can take anywhere from a few hours all the way to a full day. The temperature, humidity, paint type and air circulation can all impact how long this will take. For fastest results, paint on a dry, pleasant day, using water-based paint in a room with the windows open. If this is not possible, then simply make sure you wait the proper amount of time to reduce potential health risks.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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