Indoor Grow Room Setup (5 Easy Steps)

marijuana plant view from below in grow room

Most cannabis users evolve through the years from rebel teen smokers to authentic marijuana users and advocators with a deeper understanding of the plant and the culture around it. 

After reaching that point, setting up an indoor grow room comes as a natural part of the evolutionary process.

 Now, even veteran smokers believe that building an indoor grow room and seeing the seeds through to the harvest is a Herculean task. 

I’m not going to lie. It’s not plain sailing. 

However, with the right information at hand and a good load of dedication, you’ll soon become an expert indoor grower.

Are you ready to start growing your own medicine?

Read on. Today I’ll show you the 5 steps to setting up an indoor grow room.

Step 1: Picking your Grow Room

The very first step before setting to the adventure of indoor growing is picking your grow spot and planning the whole thing.

We could divide this step into two key considerations: what type of cultivation and what type of grow room are you up to?

Hydroponics vs Soil Cultivation

You need to choose beforehand if you’re gonna go with the traditional farming method or if you’re gonna try hydroponics. Each one has its pros and cons, obviously. However, I feel the traditional soil growth comes easier for beginners. Let’s see the main differences.


As mentioned, hydroponic growers have to deal less with pests and diseases. With this cultivation method, you have the rootball of your plant hanging in the water, which also means the feeding is more efficient.

Hydroponic plants also tend to grow faster and yield a bit more. Another time-saving pro is that you can automate the whole process because the water flows in a closed-loop system.

The downside to hydroponics is that setting up the whole system can be time-consuming and expensive. On top of that, maybe you don’t have to worry about pests and diseases anymore, but guess what, enter root rot!

And finally, once you set up your hydroponic system, you may very well forget about moving it around.

Soil Cultivation

For starters, soil gardens are much easier to set up. On top of that, when growing in soil, it’s easier to troubleshoot your plants and fix nutrient burns by just adding more water and flushing out all the excess. It also makes it a lot easier to incorporate organic cultivation, a practice that’s gaining huge relevancy these days.

The downside to soil cultivation is that pests and diseases are commonly found in these growing mediums. Also, there’s little chance of automatizing the cultivation process.

Grow Tents vs Cupboards

Now, are you buying a grow tent? Or maybe you can use that old cupboard/cabinet? Maybe it’s my age speaking here, but I do prefer to set up my grow space in a cupboard. 

Grow tents are great, but they usually have light leaks. Then, what’s the point in spending on something that’s probably not gonna pay off in the long run?

Don’t get me wrong, there are great ones out there. I just prefer to stay on the safe side and save me some bucks while I’m at it.

Grow Tents

Probably the best thing about grow tents is that they usually come with the whole kit. The grow lights, the inline fan, and the promise of being fully lightproof. It feels reassuring when they send you everything you need to get started.

The downside here is: what if it has light leaks? What if the exhaust filter can’t cope with the heat generated by the lights inside?

indoor grow room kit
Image source: Amazon


The best thing about growing in cupboards, cabinets, or basements is that you get to control and set up everything exactly as you want it. Depending on the site you choose, you may have more space to grow than with a tent.

The downside is that you have to acquire the equipment separately and it may be overwhelming for rookie growers. 

Step 2: Planning for Ventilation and Airflow

Now that I have settled for traditional soil cultivation in a cupboard, I will ensure my grow space checks the following requirements.

  • Access to electricity and water
  • Enough space to fit the plants and the equipment
  • Possibility to place air ducts.

If your place of choice checks all those requirements, you’re good to go. The next step is not 100% necessary, but if you’re a forgetful head like me, I strongly encourage you to do this. 


I know, you’re no architect. Neither I am. However, drawing a simple sketch of your grow room and visualizing where you will put the lights, the intake or the exhaust fan, etc., is a great way to set up everything in your head and makes the process like 50% easier. Trust me.

Ventilation: In and Out

As we all know, and if you don’t, ventilation is key to achieving a successful crop after putting such hard work into your plants. Thus, the room must be well-ventilated to reduce heat and help to control humidity levels. 

There are many ways to ventilate your grow room:

  • Cutting a hole in the door of the closet
  • Drilling a hole in the attic or basement
  • Leaving the cupboard door ajar and covering the bulk of the opening with reflective Panda film
  • Installing a whole air duct system with carbon filters to control the smell

As long as you keep the place ventilated, you can choose whichever fits your needs, budget, and imagination. 

fan for grow room
Image source: Amazon

Airflow within the Indoor Grow Room

Fans are the preferred method of new and seasoned growers to handle ventilation and good airflow. Besides drawing cool air in and pumping hot air out, it’s crucial to keep the air moving inside the room.

Having good airflow helps with:

  • Distributing the fresh air that comes in
  • Avoiding pockets of stagnant air
  • Removing hot spots
  • Avoiding pests and diseases
  • Strengthening the plants’ stems 

Step 3: Planning for Lighting

Moving forward, the next stop is choosing your grow lights. Here comes into play your budget and also, your local climate. Lights give off a certain amount of heat.

Therefore, you don’t wanna choose the hottest lights if you live in a hot area. Choosing the right lights also depends on the size of your grow and the type of plants you’re growing.

These are the grow lights commonly used for indoor gardens:

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)

CFLs are those standard fluorescent bulbs you find everywhere. These are affordable and easy to acquire at convenience stores. 

You may find them in two versions: 6500K, which is closer to “daylight”, and 2700K, a “warmer white” light. The 6500K bulbs are great for the vegetative stage, while the 2700K are best used for the flowering stage.

compact fluorescent light bulb

CFLs don’t give off much heat. However, their light output is quite poor and you can’t grow more than 2-3 plants with these.

These may be a good choice for beginners, but don’t expect to grow big yields with them.

HID Lights (MH and HPS)

HID lights in huge grow room with 30+ marijuana plants
Image source: Deposit Photos

High-intensity discharge (HID) lights are by far the most popular grow lights among both new and veteran growers. Compared to other high-end grow lights (LED, for instance), HID lights are more affordable.

There are two types: MH (metal halide) lights and HPS (high-pressure sodium) lights. The MH lights are usually used for the vegetative stage, as these give off a cooler light; whereas the HPS lights are the perfect fit for the flowering stage.

Seasoned growers ensure that HID lights produce the biggest yields and are the most reliable grow lights in the market. However, watch out, ‘cause these will make your electricity bill skyrocket.

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

LED lights for grow room

LED lights are like that kid with glasses and acne that everyone bullied at school and now has turned into a hottie. A few years ago, nobody believed that LEDs could grow nothing indoors. 

However, now LEDs are claiming the title of the best grow lights on the market. LEDs work well for both the vegetative and the flowering stage. On top of that, some LED grow lights come with a switch so you can change and tweak the light spectrum for each growth stage.

These barely put off heat and are the most energy-efficient type of grow lights. They may be expensive, but going for the cheap LED models is counterproductive. If you invest wisely, LEDs can save you time and money in the long run.

Reflective Paper

This is a valuable tip to make the most of your grow lights. Put reflective paper sheets on your walls. Having a reflective surface will redirect the light back to the base of the plants, achieving a better light distribution.

Step 4: Climate Management in your Grow Room

The next step to building a successful grow room is getting the necessary devices to manage and control the climate inside the room. Overall, you need to control temperature and humidity.  

Temperature and humidity vary depending on the area you live in. These are changing metrics that you need to monitor and control accurately to ensure a successful harvest, that’s why you need to buy quality measuring gauges.

These are some of the devices you will need:

  • Thermometer
  • Hygrometer
  • Humifier
  • Dehumifier
  • Extra fans
  • AC
  • Heater

Aside from the thermometer and the hygrometer, you don’t necessarily need the rest. That depends on your local climate and your grow lights.

For example, maybe your lights put off too much heat for the size of your grow room. Then you’ll need to add extra fans, or invest in a AC unit. However, this may entail the risk of your grow room going too dry. Guess what, now we need a humifier.

You’ll also need to measure and manage the right temperatures and humidity levels for each growth stage. That way you can figure out what works best for you.

Step 5: Setting Up the Grow Room for Success

Great, now we take care of installing all the lights and ventilation systems in our grow room.

Everything is clean and prepped to receive those promising seeds.

I like to divide this last step into two:

Testing the Grow Room

Before bringing your pots and starting your growing journey, turn on the lights and monitor the grow room temperature. Also, run a check on every other gadget you’re using to make sure everything works fine.

Planning for Training

If you’re planning on using the SCROG training method, this is the time to build a screen that fits your room and affix it to the walls of your room. I guarantee you it’s much easier to do this now than later when the plants are already reaching a certain height.

And that’s it! Now you can bring your hydroponics trays or pots and dive into the gardening adventure.

Read Also: Cannabis Growing Equipment Checklist

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