Can You Really Use a Paint Sprayer for Interior Painting?

If you’re looking to paint the interior of your home, using a paint sprayer can save time compared to rolling paint onto walls and trim by hand. But is hauling out an industrial-style paint sprayer worth the effort for an indoor DIY project? We’ll cover the pros and cons so you can decide if a paint sprayer is right for your next interior painting job.

Types of Paint Sprayers for Interior Use

When it comes to tackling interior painting projects, you’ll want to steer clear of airless sprayers. These high-powered sprayers are ideal for covering exterior siding and fences efficiently. But all that power comes with a big trade-off–significant amounts of paint mist and overspray.

Cleaning up tiny specks of paint from floors, countertops and any other indoor surface you forgot to cover is no fun. For interior work, far less overspray is created by high volume, low pressure HVLP paint sprayers . HVLP stands for high volume, low pressure. This type of sprayer uses lower air pressure to atomize the paint, allowing for maximum control over the paint flow so you only get paint where you want it.

Benefits of HVLP Sprayers

Here are some reasons HVLP paint sprayers are the top choice for indoor painting projects:

  • Spray thin or thick paints and stains with precision
  • Moveable spray heads for every angle
  • Adjustable controls prevent drips and runs in the finish
  • Portability to spray paint indoors or out
  • Quick coverage compared to brushes and rollers

Quality HVLP paint sprayer brands like Wagner and Fuji offer sprayers under $200 that are suitable for DIYers. The Wagner Flexio 890 HVLP paint sprayer is very popular for indoor jobs like spraying kitchen cabinets, furniture, trim and molding, and more.

can you use a paint sprayer inside

Preparing to Use a Paint Sprayer Indoors

While an HVLP sprayer won’t produce as much overspray as its airless cousin, some mist of paint will still get loose when the trigger is pulled. Before starting your paint job, any indoor surface that you don’t want to end up speckled should be covered up.

Protecting Floors and Furniture

Use your HVLP sprayer indoors without worrying about ruining floors or staining furnishings by taking these precautions first:

  • Clear the room of any removable rugs, furniture or decor
  • Cover entire floor with a canvas drop cloth
  • Use painter’s tape to mask off baseboards and door/window trim
  • Cover any remaining furniture and fixtures with plastic drop cloths

Be diligent about keeping overspray at bay. Taping plastic sheets up on the walls around the ceiling will help protect that surface from specks too. It takes more time upfront to tape off a room, but you’ll be grateful later.

Ventilation is Vital

Paint fumes can quickly make an indoor space unpleasant to work in. Be sure to open any windows and set up fans in the room you’ll be painting. Take breaks outdoors for some fresh air. Wearing a respirator mask is also recommended to avoid inhaling paint particulates.

Best Practices for Spraying Paint Inside Your Home

Once your workspace is prepped, it’s go time! Follow these best practices when spraying paint indoors to get a smooth, evenly coated finish:

Horizontal and Vertical Strokes

Use long, slightly overlapping strokes as you apply the paint. Make one set of passes from left to right across the wall, then up and down for the next layer. Always keep the spray nozzle perpendicular to the surface, about 8 to 12 inches away. If you angle the sprayer, one edge will get more paint flow, resulting in an uneven coat.

Point and Pull the Trigger

As you near a corner, pause your spraying motion before you get there. There’s no need to wave the sprayer wildly around a corner. Instead, point the nozzle at the adjacent wall, pull the trigger and then fluidly move onto that surface once paint starts flowing.

Multi-directional Approach

When spraying larger expanses like walls in open concept rooms, work in a crisscross pattern. Spray side to side, then up and down to ensure the entire space gets covered evenly. Always feather out each stroke so you don’t get stopped lines in the finish.

Achieving Quality Results Spraying Indoors

With some practice using tips like those above, you can get professional-looking painted finishes using an HVLP sprayer. Here are a few more pointers for getting flawless interior paint results:

Prime Coats

On new drywall or if changing colors, apply a coat of high hide primer first. The Wagner Flexio 890 HVLP paint sprayer can handle lighter bodied primers with ease. The primer provides added adhesion for the paint layers and helps prevent bleed-through on patches or over dark colors.

Proper Paint Viscosity

Most latex wall paints are formulated to flow through paint sprayer equipment right from the can. Oil-based paints and lacquers may need thinning with the manufacturer’s compatible solvent to prevent clogging issues.

Overlap Your Passes

Be sure to overlap each spray pass by about 50%. Like mowing the lawn, this “half pass” technique ensures all areas get sprayed without unsupported edges or missed strips between passes. Take your time and don’t rush through the job.

Applying multiple thin coats will look better than one thick, dripping coat. Allow proper drying time between each layer as advised on the paint can. The results will be worth it!

Cleaning and Maintenance

Paint sprayers have parts that need regular cleaning to function properly. Take the time after finishing your project to prevent problems on your next paint job.

Clean Thoroughly

Follow all manufacturer guidelines for cleaning. Typically, this involves flushing solvent or water through the system several times to remove paint residue buildup until liquid runs clear.

Check and clean filters between paint container changes or whenever you notice spray flow slowing. Soak any clogged tips in solvent to dissolve dried paint then use a soft brush to remove gunk.

Store Properly

After cleaning your HVLP sprayer, drain all hoses completely. Pull a solvent like mineral spirits through the system to prevent future clogs. Wipe the entire unit with a clean rag before storing to prevent dust buildup.

Keep your paint sprayer in a dry, temperate area. Cold temperatures could damage components.

Projects Suited to Interior Paint Spraying

Now that you know the drill on properly setting up to spray paint indoors, what projects make good candidates for breaking out an HVLP paint sprayer?

Walls and Ceilings

Large, open wall expanses are the most obvious choice to save time spraying over brushing and rolling. But even smaller accent walls or ceilings can be coated evenly with an HVLP sprayer.

Doors and Trim

All those fiddly corners and details on door jambs and window or baseboard trim suck up time when brushing by hand. An HVLP paint sprayer makes quick work of these areas.


Tired oak or dated laminate kitchen cabinets get an instant facelift with a fresh coat of sprayed cabinet paint. Use painter’s tape to mask off hinges and hardware first.


Wood tables, chairs, hutches and more can be sanded, primed and painted with new life using an HVLP sprayer. Adjust the flow rate and pattern shape for the intricacies of decorative pieces.

HVLP paint sprayers give DIYers greater control over paint flow and minimize messy overspray issues associated with airless sprayers. While prep work is required, using an HVLP sprayer indoors cuts painting time significantly compared to brushes and rollers.

Just be diligent about properly covering floors, taping off surfaces not being painted and maintaining good ventilation. Follow the best practice spray painting tips outlined here for a smooth, professional-grade painted finish.

With Models like the Flexio 890, you really can get flawless results using a paint sprayer for interior painting projects without the intense overspray concerns of airless sprayers. Now you just need to decide which room to tackle first!

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