Mammals have partially lost the extensive regenerative capabilities of some vertebrates, possibly as a result of chromatin-remodeling mechanisms that enforce terminal differentiation. Here, we show that deleting the SWI/SNF component Arid1a substantially improves mammalian regeneration. Arid1a expression is suppressed in regenerating tissues, and genetic deletion of Arid1a increases tissue repair following an array of injuries. Arid1a deficiency in the liver increases proliferation, reduces tissue damage and fibrosis, and improves organ function following surgical resection and chemical injuries. Hepatocyte-specific deletion is also sufficient to increase proliferation and regeneration without excessive overgrowth, and global Arid1a disruption potentiates soft tissue healing in the ear. We show that Arid1a loss reprograms chromatin to restrict promoter access by transcription factors such as C/ebpα, which enforces differentiation, and E2F4, which suppresses cell-cycle re-entry. Thus, epigenetic reprogramming mediated by deletion of a single gene improves mammalian regeneration and suggests strategies to promote tissue repair after injury.