How to Paint a Ceiling

Don't forget about the "fifth" wall! Depending on the color you apply to your ceiling, you can convey a cozy, warm ambience or create an aura of expansiveness, and add visual interest to your home.

For Best Results:

Refer to our how-to for expert advice and techniques on painting your ceiling.

The ceiling should be the first surface you paint in your room.

  1. Step 1

    To paint a ceiling, work continuously around the perimeter of the room, and cut in a three- to four-inch wide area at the corners with a paint brush. Smooth out the cut-in area by lightly brushing the tip of the bristles over the newly painted area to create a feathered edge.

  2. Step 2

    Next, place a loaded roller in the corner of the room, and roll in one direction toward the opposite side of the room, in parallel lines, Do not roll directly over your head; instead roll in a direction toward yourself.

  3. Step 3

    Work quickly and continuously until the entire surface is coated. Do not roll in a "W" or a "V" pattern on the ceiling.  Allow the first coat to dry completely before determining whether a second coat is necessary.

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Suggested Tools & Supplies
  • Brush (2"-2½")
  • Bucket
  • Bucket Grid
  • Extension Pole
  • Vinyl Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Paint Can Opener
  • Paint Tray
  • Paint Tray Liner
  • Protective Apparel
  • Rags
  • Roller Cover and Frame
  • Sandpaper (150-220 Grit)
  • Stir Stick
  • Drop Cloths
  • Plastic Sheeting
More How-tos
Additional Resources
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