Can You Sleep in a Freshly Painted Room?

One of the most common questions customers ask me when I finish painting their room is how long do I have to wait before I can sleep in my freshly painted bedroom.

I totally understand your concern – you need to know when it is safe to sleep in your newly painted room.

So, I thought I’d put together this blog post to tell you exactly how long you have to wait before you can safely sleep in your freshly painted room.

I’m a painter and decorator with decades of experience. So, you’re getting an answer straight from the horse’s mouth. I will cut through the jargon and tell you whether it’s safe for you and your family to sleep in your newly painted room.

Not only that, but I will also share some of my top tips that you can use to shorten the time you have to wait before you can sleep in your newly painted room.

How long after painting can I sleep in the room?

The time you’ll have to wait before you can sleep in your room will vary based on the type of paint you use.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll need to wait until the paint has dried before you can sleep in your bedroom.

That’s because fresh paint can be toxic if you breathe it in for long periods of time – like when you’re snoring in bed.

Here’s the time you need to wait before you can sleep in your room for different types of paint:

Water-based paint

Water-based paints will typically dry in just 2-4 hours. So you’ll be able to sleep in your room the same day as painting it.

Oil-based paint

Oil-based paint takes 12-24 hours to dry. You’ll have to wait this long before you’re safe to sleep in your room. So you’ll need to get the airbed out of the cupboard for tonight!

Low-VOC paint

I hear you! You’re wondering what the heck VOC means? It stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. And it’s the harmful chemicals found in paints – I’ll cover these later.

If you use a low-VOC paint it will contain less VOCs than regular paint.

As a result, it will be safe to sleep in your room as soon as the paint has dried – between 2-4 hours.

No-VOC paint

Don’t be fooled by the name no-VOC paints still contain trace amounts of these evil chemicals.

They are safer than all other types of paint. But you should wait about 2-4 hours for the paint to dry before sleeping in your freshly painted room.

Bedroom freshly painted using Dulux paints

Sleeping in a newly painted room when painting with Dulux paints

Dulux says it’s safe for adults and children to sleep in a freshly painted room as soon as the paint has dried.

Most Dulux paints suitable for painting a bedroom will take 2-4 hours to dry. But you should always check the instructions on the paint tin for exact drying times. While you are waiting for your walls to dry, you can use the time to clean your dirty paint brushes.

The drying times will vary based on the type of paint you used for your walls, ceilings, and skirting boards.

Also, every paint brand will have slightly different paint drying times, so bear that in mind before deciding when it’s safe to sleep in your newly painted room.

Is it safe to sleep in a room that smells like paint?

It’s not safe to sleep in a room that smells like paint. That’s because breathing in paint fumes is dangerous to your health. 

What causes them to be dangerous? It’s those pesky VOCs we mentioned earlier.

So, what are VOCs? 

The best way to explain them is to imagine cooking food. When you cook, the kitchen is filled with a strong smell of food, which lingers for a while. 

Similarly, when you paint, the VOCs evaporate into the air and leave a nasty smell behind. I’m sure you can relate to smelling fresh paint, leaving you wide-eyed and searching for fresh air.

When painting a room, these evil VOCs get released into the air.

So it’s always wise to let the smell of paint leave your freshly painted room before sleeping in there.

Can a baby sleep in a freshly painted room?

There’s nothing more precious to parents than their babies’ safety. So, it’s only natural to wonder if it’s safe for your baby to sleep in a freshly painted room.

Some experts say it’s safe for your baby to sleep in a newly painted room within a few hours if you use low-VOC paint when painting. But I don’t think that’s good advice.

Your baby might suffer from an unknown respiratory condition (like asthma), making them more sensitive to health issues caused by breathing in paint fumes.

So, I always tell clients to wait 48 hours before they let their baby sleep in a newly painted bedroom.

How long after painting can you sleep in a room if you are pregnant?

Pregnant women should wait at least 48 hours before sleeping in the room. 

It’s unlikely that painting or sleeping in a newly painted room will cause harm to your baby. But it’s always better to air on the side of caution. 

That’s because breathing in paint fumes for long periods of time (such as when you are asleep) can be unsafe for your baby. 

Here are some tips to make sure you stay super safe around paint during your pregnancy:

  • Avoid painting and decorating while you are pregnant
  • If you have to paint (for example, a nursery), avoid doing so until week 13 of your pregnancy when the risk is lower
  • Use water-based paints with low or no-VOC

Is it safe for the elderly to sleep in a freshly painted room?

If you or your loved one is aged over 65, it’s a good idea to wait 48 hours before you sleep in a freshly painted room.

That’s because, like babies and pregnant women, eldergy people are more vulnerable to the side effects of breathing in paint fumes. Inhaling these paint fumes are especially harsh on elderly groups who already suffer from a health condition like asthma.

So, to to protect yourself against these health impacts, wait at least two-days before sleeping in your decorated room.

Is it safe for pets to sleep in a newly painted room?

If you are like me, your pet is part of the family. And you’re probably wondering if it’s safe for your furry friend to sleep in your newly painted room.

The answer is no. You must wait 48 hours before it is safe for your pet to sleep in your freshly painted bedroom.

That’s because if your pets breathe in paint fumes, it could cause lung inflammation. Something I know you want to avoid at all costs.

Is a freshly painted room dangerous to sleep in?

There are lots of silly MYTHS floating around on the internet about the harms of sleeping in a freshly painted room. It’s ridiculous! Some articles go as far as to say it can cause cancer.

Don’t listen to these lies – it’s the equivalent of googling your blocked nose and being told by WebMD (The Google doctor) that you have only two weeks to live.

For the average person, sleeping in a freshly painted room won’t cause any serious health issues. I’m not here to tell you it’s harmless. There are some risks that comes with sleeping in a freshly painted room.

Here are the risks you actually need to be aware of:

  • Eye irritation
  • Nose irritation
  • Throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
Ventilated bedroom with two windows that has just been painted

How long should you ventilate your room after painting?

Even though it’s generally safe to sleep in your room as soon as the paint dries, you should always keep the room ventilated for 2-3 days after painting. Ventilation will help the paint smell leave the room when you finish painting. 

Think of ventilation in your room after painting as adding water to the fire.

If you haven’t started painting, you should keep your room ventilated while painting and decorating. 

You can ventilate your room by: 

  • Opening the windows and doors of the room
  • Turning on fans
  • Opening any vents in the bedroom
How to get rid of the smell of paint fast

How do you get rid of the paint smell fast?

I know what you’re thinking. 2-3 days just so I can sleep in my bedroom! You’re getting flashbacks of arguments with the wife and having to sleep on the sofa.

Don’t worry! I’ve got some secret pro tips to help you to speed up the process. Follow my advice and save yourself from having to wait days on end just so you can sleep in your newly painted room. 

Use low-voc or zero-voc paints

Painting with low or zero-VOC paints is the solution. These paints eliminate most of the harmful effects of these wicked chemicals. As a result, it will be safer-sooner to sleep in your freshly painted room. For example, we used low-VOC paints when we painted a lovely house in Kennington, and the bedrooms were safe to sleep in the same day we finished painting them.

Did you know: Before VOC paints were invented, you’d find as much as 250 grams of VOC per litre inside paint. Low-VOC paint contains less than 50 grams of VOCs per litre. No-VOC paint – just a trace. That’s a huge difference!

Ensure the room is ventilated

Open the windows and doors, turn on the fans, and bring your air purifier into the room to reduce the time you have to wait before it is safe to sleep in your freshly painted bedroom.

That’s because, ventilating the room will add lots of fresh air and help to get rid of those evil VOCs we spoke about earlier.

Use dehumidifiers

If your room has a lot of moisture, it’s a good idea to set up a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the room and speed up the drying times of the paint.

Most of those pesky VOCs reduce as the paint dries. So will the time you have to wait before you can sleep in your room.

Painter and decorators holding a roller painting a room with white paint

Seek professional help

You can always contact a local painter and decorator to paint your room safely and to ensure minimal drying times.

A professional painter will make sure every coat of paint is applied in the right amounts to ensure optimal drying times. 

Also, they can make sure to be use low or no-VOC paint in the room, so paint fumes are kept to a minimum. This will ensure your room will be safe for sleeping in as soon as possible.

Feel free to contact our team of painters and decorators in Kennington for a free quote to paint your room.