Activation of inflammatory gene expression is regulated, among other factors, by post-translational modifications of histone proteins. The most investigated type of histone modifications is lysine acetylations. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) remove acetylations from lysines, thereby influencing (inflammatory) gene expression. Intriguingly, apart from histones, HDACs also target non-histone proteins. The nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappa B) pathway is an important regulator in the expression of numerous inflammatory genes, and acetylation plays a crucial role in regulating its responses. Several studies have shed more light on the role of HDAC 1-3 in inflammation with a particular pro-inflammatory role for HDAC 3. Nevertheless, the HDAC-NF-kappa B interactions in inflammatory signalling have not been fully understood. An important challenge in targeting the regulatory role of HDACs in the NF-kappa B pathway is the development of highly potent small molecules that selectively target HDAC iso-enzymes. This review focuses on the role of HDAC 3 in (NF-kappa B-mediated) inflammation and NF-kappa B lysine acetylation. In addition, we address the application of frequently used small molecule HDAC inhibitors as an approach to attenuate inflammatory responses, and their potential as novel therapeutics. Finally, recent progress and future directions in medicinal chemistry efforts aimed at HDAC 3-selective inhibitors are discussed.