How to Paint a Ceiling

When decorating, don’t forget to look up.

Photo by aetb/Getty Images

It’s easier than you think to give your ceiling a swath of color. Plus, this simple design trick will add plenty of visual interest to any “blah” room. Just follow these steps.

  1. Starting in one corner, use an angled sash brush to cut in along the ceiling’s edge, creating a strip about three inches wide by three feet long. Don’t skip this step—it’s crucial because a roller can’t create a sharp line where the ceiling meets the wall.
  2. While the strip is still wet, switch to the roller, which will allow you to cover the surface much more easily and evenly. Use a zigzag pattern (imagine you’re tracing the letter M, N, or W) to paint three-foot-by-three-foot sections, overlapping each new section over the wet edge of the last one. Tip: Don’t lean on the roller. The weight of the roller itself applies the perfect amount of pressure to the surface. If you roll too hard, you’ll get thin coverage and an orange-peel texture; roll too lightly, and you’ll get thick patches that could crack when dry.
  3. Repeat this painting process along the entire surface.