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Ceiling painting tips and ideas, Ceiling Paint

Painting a ceiling, it looks so easy. Splash on some paint and your good to go, right? Not so fast. If you have tried this method you have probably found that it isn't quite as easy as it looks. You have probably also noticed that it is not as clean and presentable as it could be. You might even have ruined the carpet or some furniture in the process.

Here are some guidelines to follow the next time you are tempted to freshen up a room with a new ceiling color. These tips will help you cleanup faster and you might find you are having fun at the same time.


1. Prepare the room. Sounds simple but many people do not take the time to do this and end up with a spill or accident to clean up. The ideal approach is to remove all of the furniture in the room and put a canvas drop cloth or high-grade plastic drop cloth over the floor. Low-grade or thin plastic drop cloths can get ripped or torn in the process of walking and moving across them. This leaves your carpet or hard flooring open to an accident. Tack the drop cloth along the bottom of the base boards or floor so it stays in place while you move around on it.

Remove all ceiling fixtures and any wall art or mirrors that might get hit with paint. Sometimes you can lift a splatter off with a fingernail but if you are enamored with the piece and you can't remove the spill easily or at all then you will regret not having removed them.

2. Prepare the surface. You will need to analyze the surface. Ceilings are not painted as often as walls and probably not cleaned as often either. You want a clean surface to place the paint on otherwise you could end up with peeling. Take a broom and knock off any cobwebs or surface dirt. Wipe the surface down lightly with a soft cloth.

Now, what does the ceiling look like? Does it have water stains? Did a smoker use the room? Is there patching that needs to happen? If so, patching must take place before painting occurs. Leave time for the patching compound to dry. Make sure you are not creating a rougher surface when you patch. Sand down what you can to keep the ceiling uniform or apply the same texture the rest of the ceiling has. In the case of not being able to find the existing texture, you may want to retexture the whole ceiling so it is uniform.

If the ceiling has stains you will want to brush a primer/stain blocker on first. This helps the paint adhere well and obviously covers those stains. Applying a primer even though there are no stains to block is advisable. It will make rolling the paint on so much easier. It is especially important if you are using a glossy paint as it gives the surface a smooth finish for the gloss to roll over. Roughly finished surfaces become that much more noticeable when glossy paint is brushed over them.

3. Cut in first. This is the first step to any painting job. Cutting in refers to painting the areas that cannot be reached by a roller. Where walls meet ceiling can some times be uneven so while taping (use painters tape) will make some of us more comfortable, do not be alarmed when you pull off that tape and find an uneven painted edge. Choosing the same sight line all around the room and sticking to that plan will lessen the visual affect of a rough meeting of ceiling and wall.

Use a ladder when accomplishing this task. Pour paint into a much smaller, easily handled container. Paint stores usually include these as part of their inventory of supplies, some may give them away and others may charge a minimal price for them. Don't overfill the container, as they can be more difficult to handle and can slip easily out of your hands and on to the floor or wall. Use a three-inch brush to apply your cut in.

4. Roll on the paint. This is the fun part, seeing the color spread across the surface, and it usually happens very quickly. Now you will see why you cut in with a brush before rolling. Your roller should roll right to the edge of the cut in and overlap slightly. If you get the roller any closer to the corners of the room you could end up with paint on the wall where you don't want it.

That is it. That is all there is to it. Let your paint dry and don't bother to pick up your mess until after you know that the paint is dry and you will not have to paint another coat or touch up missed spots.


1. Ceilings are usually painted in a white or off white color because it creates an illusion of higher ceilings. Medium and darker colors bring the ceiling down to create a cozy space. Using darker colors on an eight-foot ceiling may make the room claustrophobic, however, in a twelve foot or taller room the darker color may help bring the room into proportion.

2. Buy good quality paint. Cheaper paint means cheap paint and you will probably have to paint several more coats to get an acceptable look. Buy quality and you won't have to make that second or third run to the store to buy more paint.

3. Preparation should be completed before painting begins.

4. Allow paint to dry between coats. If you do not follow this tip you will be dealing with flaking and peeling paint, which is a mess to eliminate.

5. Don't wear good shoes or clothing when painting. Wear clothes you can get dirty in and not be concerned about. Wool is difficult to clean paint out of so wear cottons or blends that can be thrown in the washing machine. Cover your head with a bandana or a hat so that you will not have to spend a week getting your hair free of paint.

6. Take your time and enjoy the process.