How to paint a ceiling

How to paint a ceiling

When painting any room, we always recommend painting from the top, down and starting with your ceiling.

Ceilings are often an afterthought or not considered at all. But refreshing your ceilings and the colour chosen can really change the look and feel of your room.

Estimated Time


Under an hour

  • It will take approximately 30 minutes to paint the average room ceiling

  • You should wait a minimum of 2 hours between applying paint coats


What you're going to need


  • Paint

  • Drop cloths

  • Painting masking tape

  • Angled paint brush

  • Step ladder

  • Roller frames (width of 230 or 270 mm)

  • 12mm roller cover

  • Roller pole

  • Paint tray (matching frame width)


Step-by-step guide


  1. Select your ceiling paint colour, taking colour from surrounding walls into consideration.

  2. Our Paint Calculator will help you determine the quantity of paint required for the area you will be painting.

  3. Before you begin, remove all light fittings and hang drop cloths over large lights or ceiling fans that can’t be removed.

  4. Place drop cloths on floors and on any furnishings that must remain in the room.

  5. Apply painter’s masking tape to fittings which can’t be removed and edges around cornices.

  6. New or bare plaster board will need to be sealed before applying a topcoat of ceiling paint.

  7. Once you’ve stirred the paint thoroughly, you’re ready to begin.

  8. Thoroughly stir the paint and begin painting cornices using an angled paint brush and cutting-in technique.

  9. Stir remaining paint in the can thoroughly before pouring into a paint tray.

  10. Dip half the roller into the paint tray, then roll back and forth in the tray to get an even coat of paint around the roller. Tap each side of the roller on the sides of the paint tray to remove any excess paint.

  11. Take the roller to the ceiling using a pole, making sure the roller is parallel to the surface.

  12. Paint the ceiling using either a W or M technique to spread the paint. Start at the wet edge from where the paint has been cut in at the cornice. Roll from the middle of the room in the direction of the light. Each time this step is completed you should have enough paint to cover about a 1 metre width of an average size bedroom ceiling. Periodically back roll the previously painted area using only the weight of the roller to deliver a smooth finish. Face towards the window or any natural light in the room when rolling, to easily see painted sections.

  13. After completing half the ceiling, reapply the roller over any already painted areas, to remove excess paint and track marks for an even finish.

  14. Repeat these steps for each 1 metre width section until the entire ceiling is completed.

  15. Make sure you wait a minimum of 2 hours before painting a second coat, and remember to allow the second coat to dry completely.