Ventilation and air distribution methods are important for indoor thermal environments and air quality. Effective distribution of airflow for indoor built environments with the aim of simultaneously offsetting thermal and ventilation loads in an energy efficient manner has been the research focus in the past several decades. Based on airflow characteristics, ventilation methods can be categorized as fully mixed or non-uniform. Non-uniform methods can be further divided into piston, stratified and task zone ventilation. In this paper, the theory, performance, practical applications, limitations and solutions pertaining to ventilation and air distribution methods are critically reviewed. Since many ventilation methods are buoyancy driving that confines their use for heating mode, some methods suitable for heating are discussed. Furthermore, measuring and evaluating methods for ventilation and air distribution are also discussed to give a comprehensive framework of the review.