How To Use A Paint Sprayer Indoors (Without The Overspray)

When painting large surfaces outdoors, such as a house, a paint sprayer is the best tool for the job. It provides fast, even coverage in much less time, even around areas with great detail.

But what about interior projects, like when you're spray painting an internal bedroom, dining room, or an indoor piece of furniture?  

Fortunately, paint sprayers deliver the same time-saving and coverage benefits indoors as they do outside the home. In this guide, learn how to safely and correctly use a paint sprayer on indoor projects without the overspray.  

Not only can airless paint sprayers be used indoors, but they also offer many benefits over traditional rollers or brushes.  

  • Works Fast 
    Airless paint sprayers can cover surfaces twice as fast as brushes or rollers. If you’re spray painting an entire room (or several rooms), this increase in speed can mean the difference between a weekend renovation…or a long, drawn-out chore.  
  • Portable 
    Airless sprayers are highly portable, even if you opt for a larger commercial-grade version on a cart. It's easy to move your airless sprayer from room to room or between houses.  
  • High-Quality Finish 
    Using a Graco paint sprayer gives you professional painters results on crisp line for a fraction of the price. You won’t be left with drip marks or brush strokes, and even hard-to-reach nooks or detail work will receive an even coat.  
  • User-Friendly 
    While there is a learning curve when operating airless paint sprayers or HVLP sprayers, it’s a pretty simple process to master. Soon you’ll be as comfortable using a sprayer as you are holding a paint brush. Unlike many other DIY approaches out there, painting indoors with a sprayer really is something almost anyone can do.  
Room Painted with Sprayer

Things Needed For Safe Indoor Paint Spraying

Before using a paint sprayer indoors, gather the correct equipment and prepare the area for the safest, most effective painting process session possible.  

Correct Paint Sprayer Type  

Not all paint sprayers and paint thinner are meant to be used indoors. Make sure you choose an indoor paint sprayer with the correct pressure (high or low pressure) and spray settings for interior walls and other surfaces, as well as for the paint you're paint spraying, such as latex and putty knife you are using 


How To Spray Paint Indoors Safely

Paints give off VOCs, otherwise known as volatile organic compounds, as they dry.

Since paint applied with a sprayer dries faster, you’ll get a lot more of these fumes quicker. 

What’s more, the way sprayers work—pumping out paint via high pressure and high volume, dispersing it as tiny particles—makes the risk even higher.  

Ensure your work area is adequately ventilated by opening all doors and windows.

You should also wear a dust mask or other respiratory protection while you work.  


Higher pressure is ideal when you’re using a paint sprayer outdoors, such as painting siding. Indoors, however, having the pressure too high can damage your walls, create more airborne particles and overspray, and waste paint.

Be sure to test your sprayer before you begin (a piece of scrap cardboard or wood works fine) and adjust the low pressure as necessary.  


Before you begin, make sure the hose of your sprayer can reach the heights you’ll need to climb toYou may also want a ladder hook where you can set down the sprayer before descending the ladder.  

Appliance Safety

Turn off the ventilation system in your home (cooling or heating) while using a paint sprayer. This ensures no particles get sucked into your system.  

Also, make sure no open flames are in the room where you’re working. This includes candles, gas stovetops, light switches, pilot lights, or light fixtures.  

Proper Protection

Because the particles a paint sprayer emits are so small, you might not notice you’re breathing them in until irritation occurs.

Safety goggles and a mask, along with comfortable but high-coverage clothing (like a jumpsuit), are always recommended when using a paint sprayer indoors.  

How To Correctly Use A Paint Sprayer Indoors

1. Prepare Your Work Area And Surfaces

Lay down drop cloths or damp cloth on the floor or furniture, tape off trim and other “no paint” areas, and turn off heating or cooling to prevent paint particles from getting into the system. Open doors and windows, and eliminate open flames. 

2. Wear Safety Gear

Goggles, masks, and clothing for optimal coverage will protect you from airborne particles. 

3. Prime Your Paint Sprayer

While the process of priming a spray gun varies by manufacturer, the essential idea is to run your sprayer for a few seconds with the intake tube in your paint bucket, and the output tube in a waste bucket.

This gets paint into the tubing, gun, and spray tip while eliminating air bubbles, dust, or excess pressure, so the paint goes on your surface smoothly. 

4. Apply Your First Coat

You can use primer with a paint sprayer or jump right to your topcoat if the surface has already been primed.

To paint a large surface such as an interior wall safely and correctly, you should first select the appropriate spray tip and pressure for the surface. 

Cover windows and doorways before moving on to broader surfaces. Start at the top of the wall and work your way down, beginning at the outermost edges.

At the corners, aim your spray gun tip directly into the corner, so it paints both sides evenly. 

5. Apply Additional Coats, As Required

Be sure to wait for 2 to 4 hours between coats. 

6. Switching Between Paint Colors Or Formulas

Flush the system with water first. If you are switching from an oil-based formula, mineral spirits or another solvent is needed rather than water. When the water or solvent runs clear, you can re-prime the sprayer with the new paint. 

7. Cleaning Your Dried Paint Sprayer When Finished

Use the same method as above to clean out the dried paint, depending on what formula you’re cleaning from the system. 

8. Long-Term Storage Of Your Paint Sprayer

it’s recommended to fill the system with storage fluid. Some brands sell specialized preservation fluids, although mineral spirits can be used.

You should also make sure the system has adequate oil/lubrication levels before storing.

Woman Using A Paint Sprayer Indoors

How To Avoid Overspray When Painting Indoors

Overspray simply means paint getting where you don’t want it.

Because paint sprayers atomize the paint and send it out as a concentrated paint mist, it’s guaranteed some of those particles will land anywhere but the surface they’re supposed to go on. 

It will often feel bumpy and look a bit like dust, but even a minimal amount of overspray can ruin your otherwise lovely paint job.  

While some of this is unavoidable, you can take precautions to ensure the rogue particles don’t land on your surfaces.  

  • Mask Nearby Areas  
    Cover trim work, floors, or any other surface you don't want to be painted with plastic bags or painter's tape. If overspray occurs, this protective thin layer can be peeled up and thrown away.  
  • Use The Right Spray Tip 
    A common reason for excessive overspray is using a too-broad tip for a narrow area. Try adjusting your spray tip until you get a more localized spray pattern for your surface.  
  • Lower The Air Pressure Setting 
    Too-powerful sprays will send out more paint particles at higher speeds, so lowering that pressure will reduce this. As a bonus, you’ll probably notice the painted areas looking better too.  
  • Don’t Stand Too Close 
    If you’re painting too closely to a surface, the spray pattern will be uneven or lumpy, with a lot of overspray in the air or off to the sides. Try holding the paint sprayer 6 to 12 inches farther away. Using a test surface, like cardboard, can help you judge the effect of different distances.  
  • Also: Don’t Stand Too Far Away 
    Overspray can also occur when you’re too far from a surface. Rather than splatter, you’re creating too many airborne particles. Either way, paint is getting where you don’t want it—and adjusting your distance can help.  
  • For Small Projects, Paint Inside A Partially Enclosed Area 
    Make your own paint spraying booth with a box or plastic sheeting if you’re paint spraying smaller surfaces, such as end tables or cabinet doors.  

Using A Paint Sprayer Indoors FAQs

How do you spray paint interior walls without hitting the ceiling? 

To avoid overspray reaching your ceiling or ceiling fans, the best precaution is to mask off that area. Apply painter’s tape from the top of the wall towards the middle of the ceiling, about 2 feet or so, before you paint the top of the wall.  

Is it better to roll or spray interior paint? 

Either method of painting, when done correctly, can yield even and professional results. A paint sprayer is faster, however, and better at detailed areas than a roller. 

How long does it take to paint a room with a sprayer? 

It can take under twenty minutes to paint an entire room using an airless paint sprayer, depending on its size. Preparation does take time, but not much more than you’d spend preparing a room for painting with a brush or roller anyway.  

In what order do you spray paint a room? 

The best order to paint a room with a sprayer is top to bottom. If the wall has doors or windows, cut in around those first.


Paint sprayers can shave hours off a painting process project, be it large or small.

With proper ventilation and other precautions, you can even use a sprayer indoors to paint interior space walls, cabinetry, furniture, and other projects you can’t or don’t want to move outdoors. 

Preventing overspray takes a combination of diligent masking, practice with the sprayer, and adjustments, but can absolutely be achieved.