Just for a Day has been generally well received by critics. Trouser Press wrote that it was "up and down in material, but the songs that are solid are breathtaking, and those that aren't are at least hypnotic and slowly sensuous." Jon Ridge, reviewing the album for Lime Lizard magazine, thought the album was premature, describing it as "more a continuation, or aqueous celebration rather, than an advancement over their rather spiffing previous three EPs".Pitchfork's review of the album, while generally favourable, wrote: "There's a lot less weight to it, and if anything in Slowdive's catalogue will seem dated, it's the overgroomed production on these songs".
In 1999, critic Ned Raggett ranked the album at No. 17 on his list of "The Top 136 or So Albums of the Nineties".
The album was re-released by Sanctuary Records in 2005, supplemented by an extra disc with tracks from the band's early EPs, effectively including the Slowdive, Holding Our Breath and Morningrise EPs. All the tracks included on the previous compilation Blue Day were present.