The organization of eukaryotic DNA into chromatin poses a barrier to all processes that require access of enzymes and regulatory factors to their sites of action. While the majority of studies in this area have concentrated on the role of chromatin in the regulation of transcription, there has been a recent emphasis on the relationship of chromatin to DNA damage repair. In this review, we focus on the role of chromatin in nucleotide excision repair (NER) and double-strand break (DSB) repair. NER and DSB repair use very different enzymatic machineries, and these two modes of DNA damage repair are also differentially affected by chromatin. Only a small number of nucleosomes are likely to be involved in NER, while a more extensive region of chromatin is involved in DSB repair. However, a key feature of both NER and DSB repair pathways is the participation of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling factors at various points in the repair process. We discuss recent data that have identified roles for SWI/SNF-related chromatin remodeling factors in the two repair pathways.