How do I Paint a Ceiling? Painting a ceiling can be a real pain, but if you follow our instructions, you’ll find that with a little know how, it doesn’t have to be. This is how to paint a ceiling, the easy way.


Before you begin, you’ll need to make sure you have all the tools required to get the job done right. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A good quality paintbrush, about one and a half inches wide. Like this paintbrush
  • A roller, preferably an extendable one long enough to reach the ceiling without causing you arm strain. Like this roller set
  • A paint tray.
  • Either a stepladder or, if you are worried about balance, a movable decorators’ platform. You can rent these from most tool hire shops.
  • Masking tape.
  • Clean cloths or rags.
  • Biodegradable Dust sheets to cover carpets and furniture.
  • Some Natural Paint! We recommend this range of natural paints, by far the best paint right now!

Read more below for how to paint a ceiling.

Step one: Preparation

Before you crack open the tin of paint, you’ll need to prepare your room and the ceiling surface. Start by removing furniture, or moving it to the centre of the room if there’s nowhere for it to go. You’ll need clear access to the edges of the ceiling, so make sure you leave enough room for your stepladder or platform. Once this is done, cover floors and furniture in dust sheets to prevent them getting spattered.

Next, you’ll need to clean the ceiling. Ceilings can become coated with a layer of oily grime over the years, and this can stop the new paint from bonding properly. Lightly scrub the ceiling with natural plant soap, and rub dry with a rag. A decorators’ platform makes this stage a lot easier, but it can be done with a stepladder. Just make sure you don’t overbalance. Remember, it’s always better to climb down the ladder and move it than to fall off, even if it seems tiresome.

Once your ceiling’s clean, it’s time to mask the edges. By applying masking tape to the top of the wall or architrave, you ensure a clean, straight edge. Be extra careful here, as any kinks in the tape can mean an uneven look later. If your room has ceiling features like a rose or skylight, mask the edges of these too.

Step two: Cutting in

Once the edges are masked, it’s time to open your can of paint. Use a flat head screwdriver to gently pry up the lid, being careful not to let it fall. Lay the lid down somewhere out of the way – the last thing you want to do is step on it and leave footprints all over the place.

Give the paint a stir, and dip in your paintbrush, ensuring you only wet the top half-inch of the bristles. Paint a three-inch border around the entire ceiling, making sure you paint right up to the masking tape, being careful not to splatter the wall.

If you have ceiling features like plaster roses or other decorative details, cut in around these too. Once you’ve completed a section, peel off the masking tape slowly before the paint dries to get that crisp, defined edge.

Step three: Rolling

Rolling a ceiling can be tiresome work, and very hard on your arms. If you’re working in a pair, you can swap back and forth between rolling and cutting in duties, but if you’re on your own you may want to think about getting an extendable roller. Because extendable rollers make the job easier on your arms and back, they make it a lot easier to paint a ceiling by yourself, and also cut down on the hassle of constantly moving the ladder.

Pour a little paint into your roller tray, just enough to fill the reservoir at the deeper end. Now, roll your roller over the paint, making sure you don’t submerge it. Remember, if you get wet paint on the roller arm, or anywhere except the soft absorbent rolling surface, it will drip and make a mess.

The best way to paint a ceiling with a roller is to work in three-foot-square patches, starting in a corner and working your way across the width of the room. Remember, moving a ladder is a lot less hassle than a trip to A&E, so if you’re using a stepladder don’t overstretch yourself. Pay attention to the joins between your patches, making sure you smooth each together before continuing.

Step four: Cleaning up

Once you’ve painted your ceiling it’s time to get things cleared away. Start by cleaning your brushes, roller and paint tray with a natural soap or detergent. When replacing the paint lid, make sure you press it firmly closed to avoid spillage.

Once the paint can’s closed and all wet brushes and rollers have been removed from the room, it’s time to remove the dust sheets and take a good look at your handywork.