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How To Paint A Ceiling

Ceilings can often be overlooked, but with a fresh coat of paint they can go a long way towards transforming a room. The fifth wall offers opportunity for creativity and experimentation, with plenty of colours, designs and patterns to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Shop a wide range of interior colours and finishes at The Paint Shed, find options from Dulux, Farrow and Ball, Johnstones and more. Ceilings take up a sixth of your space, and it is time they had a little TLC. Here is our guide to painting your ceiling like a professional.

Painting a Ceiling

When decorating a room we advise painting the ceiling first. Starting with the ceiling will help you avoid paint dripping on to finished walls or furniture. Painting a ceiling has the potential to be the most challenging aspect of the room, so it is best to start your transformation there, while you have the willpower and arm strength.

Before your start, you need to consider how to reach the ceiling safely and comfortably. Balancing with one foot on a chair and the other on a table is definitely not advisable. If you don’t have suitable steps for the job, then hire these from a local supplier – some even have a working platform which is perfect for painting ceilings.


All good paint projects start with good preparation. So start by clearing your area, it’s best to empty the room entirely, or if this is not possible, move any remaining furniture to the centre of the room and cover furniture and carpets/flooring with dust sheets.

Then begin by cleaning your ceiling. Try to remove any dust or cobwebs before you washing the area with  Bartoline sugar soap. Once dry this will create a clean, even foundation for your paint.

If you’re just painting the ceiling (and not the walls), use painter’s masking tape along the line where the walls meet the ceiling. This can also be applied around any switches or moldings that decorate the edges around the ceiling.

Consider applying a coat of general primer. This may seem like an optional step, but a primer coat will provide a good stain barrier and may reduce the number or coats of paint required to finish. However, the number of coats required really depends on your final colour.

If the plaster on the ceiling requires any repair work, then now is the time to do it. Just remember to leave plenty of time to dry before applying a primer coat to seal the new plaster.


Firstly, paint a two/three-inch cutline along the edge of the ceiling. Starting in a corner with a 2-inch trim brush, paint about three feet along one wall, then do the same on the adjoining wall. While the cut-line is still wet, you can start painting the ceiling with a roller – doing this while the cut-line paint is still wet will help reduce any visible lines. This also applies when painting from area to area with the roller, so it’s best if you can work fairly quickly, ideally when the room is not too warm.

Tips on using a roller: fill the deeper portion of the roller tray with paint and roll over the paint until the nap is covered. The trick is not to submerge the roller, but rather to smoothly roll it over the paint, gently working it back and forth in the shallow part of the tray until the nap is covered with paint. Be careful not to overfill.

When painting, use the roller to create a zigzag pattern about 3-inch’ square. Then go over the same area using straight strokes to even out the paint. Try to avoid leaving straight paint lines from the edge of the roller. And since it’s best to work into areas where the paint is still wet, do smaller sections and try to feather the edges a little to reduce visible lines between areas.

Depending on the paint quality and colour, you may require multiple coats. And remember, to achieve a professional finish, several thin coats provide better results. Simply wait 2 hours for the first coat to dry and then begin cutting in for your next coat. 

And you’re done! Now it’s time to clean up using the proper paint disposal methods and lay back and admire your handy work. 

If you want more tips and tricks for transforming your ceiling, read our decorating ideas blog here. For more general product guides and tutorials follow our tips and advice page.

Ceiling Paint at The Paint Shed

Shop our wide selection of interior paints to get started on your fifth wall today. With the biggest and best trade paint brands on offer you are guaranteed a flawless finish. Find all the equipment you will need in our tools and accessories section. 

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