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How to paint a ceiling

7th Jul '23 • By

Painting a ceiling can seem like a big task, but with the right techniques and a little bit of effort, you can transform a dull room into one that’s much more inviting.

Not only does a well-painted ceiling enhance the overall aesthetics of your space, but it also adds value to your home. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to paint a ceiling, along with some valuable tips and tricks to achieve professional results.

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  1. Before beginning your project
  2. Preparing the ceiling
  3. Painting techniques
  4. Painting the ceiling
  5. Finishing touches and clean-up
  6. Tips and tricks


1. Before Beginning Your Project

Before diving into your ceiling painting project, it's important to plan ahead. Start by assessing the condition of your ceiling. Look for any cracks, holes, or imperfections that need to be repaired before painting — this ensures a smooth and flawless finish. 

Gather the necessary materials and tools, including ceiling paint, brushes, rollers, drop cloths, painter's tape, a ladder, and a paint tray. It's also important to clear the room of furniture and protect the flooring by covering it with the drop cloths.

2. Preparing the Ceiling

To help ensure the best results, proper preparation of the ceiling is essential. Follow these steps:

  • Begin by cleaning the ceiling surface thoroughly to remove any dirt, dust, or cobwebs using a simple solution of mild detergent and waterr. 
  • Inspect the ceiling for any cracks or holes. Fill them with spackle or putty and allow them to dry. 
  • Once dry, use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the repaired areas and any rough patches on the ceiling. 
  • If the ceiling has never been painted or has stains, applying a primer can help create an even base for the paint.

3. Painting Techniques

Paint Type

Choosing the right type of ceiling paint will promote a long-lasting and beautiful finish. Look for paints specifically formulated for ceilings, as they’re designed to minimise splatter and provide excellent coverage. 

Paint Finish

When selecting a paint finish, consider the room's purpose and lighting conditions. A flat or matte finish is commonly used for ceilings, as it helps to conceal imperfections and provides a smooth, glare-free appearance.


Deciding on the colour scheme for your ceiling is another important consideration. While white is a popular choice, don't be afraid to experiment with different hues. Lighter shades can make a room feel more spacious, for example in a modern coastal kitchen, while darker colours can create a cosy atmosphere. Just make sure the chosen colour complements the overall aesthetics of your space.


When it comes to applying the paint, using the right tools is essential. A roller is the most efficient and effective tool for painting a ceiling. Opt for a ceiling paint roller with a long handle extension to reach high areas without straining your back. We also recommend using one with a thick nap, as it holds more paint and provides better coverage. To prevent drips, load the roller evenly with paint by using a paint tray.


4. Painting the Ceiling

To begin painting the ceiling, start with the edges and corners using a brush. This technique, known as "cutting in," creates a clean and defined border between the ceiling and walls. Apply the paint in small sections, working in a consistent pattern across the ceiling. Use smooth, even strokes, overlapping each stroke slightly to ensure even coverage, and maintain a consistent pace to avoid creating visible lines or streaks.

When using a roller, start in the corner of the room and work your way across the ceiling in manageable sections. Apply light pressure and use long, overlapping strokes to achieve an even finish. 

It's important to work quickly to prevent the paint from drying unevenly, and if necessary, apply a second coat once the first coat is completely dry — this will help achieve a more professional and flawless result.

5. Finishing Touches and Clean-up

Once you’ve applied the paint and achieved the desired coverage, allow it to dry thoroughly. This typically takes a few hours, but it's best to consult the paint manufacturer's instructions for specific drying times. Take the time to inspect the ceiling for any touch-ups or areas that may need extra paint, then use a small brush to fix any imperfections or areas that were missed during the initial coats.

Once you’re satisfied with the results, remove the protective coverings from your furniture and flooring. Dispose of any used paint cans and materials responsibly, following local regulations. Finally, clean your painting tools and brushes thoroughly so they’re in good condition for your next project!

6. Tips and Tricks

Here are a few more general tips to help make sure your painting project is a success:

  • Work in a well-ventilated area to minimise the fumes and speed up the drying process.
  • Wear proper safety equipment, such as goggles and a dust mask, to protect yourself from paint splatters and dust.
  • Apply multiple coats of paint for a more professional finish, ensuring each coat is completely dry before applying the next.
  • If you encounter any issues during the painting process, such as streaks or roller marks, lightly sand the area and apply another coat of paint to correct it.

Painting a ceiling may require some effort and attention to detail, but the end results are well worth it. By following these step-by-step instructions and implementing the ceiling paint tips and tricks provided, you can successfully transform your ceiling and enhance the overall ambiance of your space. Remember to take your time, work patiently, and enjoy the process.

Alternatively, if you need help painting your ceiling, get in touch with local painters to achieve a flawless result.

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Get quotes from our qualified and licensed tradies Australia-wide.

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