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How to paint a ceiling

Woman painting a ceiling over masking tape

WordsMaha Elley

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Thanks to leaky roofs, smoke and spills, it’s also easy for neglected ceilings to get covered in unsightly stains. And when it comes to painting and decorating your home, it’s easy for ceilings to get overlooked. But, you’d be amazed at how much painted ceilings can transform the look and feel of a room. So, grab some paint and give your ceilings a little spruce up with a fresh paint job. Not sure how? You’re in the right place. Learn how to paint a ceiling with our professional guide.

Is painting a ceiling difficult?

Most people - professionals and amateurs alike - tend to put off this slightly awkward and messy job. But with a little bit of guidance, the right tools, and patience, you’ll have the ceiling of your dreams in no time! Ready to give it a go? Read on…

Gather your tools and paint supplies

Here are what tools you’ll need to get started: 

Prep Supplies

Paint Supplies

Pro Tip: Use safety glasses so you don’t get paint speckles in your eyes

How do I prep my room for painting my ceiling?

Gathered your gear? Time to prepare your room for painting:  

  • Protect your furniture. Start by moving your furniture to another room. If you can’t find any other space for it (or it’s on the heavier side) move it to a corner of the room.
  • Drape lots of protective dust sheets over your furniture to save yourselves the hassle of dealing with nightmarish upholstery stains after.
  • Lay a decorators canvas on your floor to protect it from any splatters.

Woman pouring paint into a paint kettle in preparation for painting a room and ceiling

How do I prep my ceiling for painting?

  • Prep is just as important to ceilings as it is for walls (you can read how to prep walls for painting here).

  • Inspect your ceiling for bumps and gaps. Sand down any bumps with sanding paper and fill in any holes or large cracks with flexi filler. This is also a good time to deal with any ceiling-related issues that you’ve been neglecting. Discover Lick’s Wall Repair Kit, a trusty 3-piece kit to help you achieve a professional finish.

  • Get rid of any grease and dust by cleaning the surface with warm water. In most instances, a dust rag should suffice and soap plus water is for heavier grime.

Apply masking tape to protect key areas

  • If you are not planning on painting the walls too, then first you need to apply masking tape around the edges in order to protect your trim and/or walls. 

  • Starting at the corner of a room, apply your tape by pressing down on the edges firmly to ensure a tight seal so the paint doesn’t bleed through.

  • To paint around a ceiling fixture, make sure you cover up light fixtures and secure painter's tape around the edge of the fixture's base.

Read our full guide on how to use masking tape when painting.

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