DIY Network

Using Color on a Ceiling

This DIY Basic will provide tips on using color on a ceiling.

More in Painting

Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:

interior latex paint
2-inch trim brush
9-inch - 3/8-inch nap roller cover and frame with extension pole
paint tray
painter's tape
drop cloth
plastic sheeting
dust mask
safety glasses
head covering
putty knife
patching compound
mild soap
brush attachment

Step 3: Choose a Ceiling Color

Think 'color' when painting a ceiling.

Use new Web tools to coordinate colors in a room. Upload photo of room and virtually paint ceiling. Drag colors onto ceiling and walls.

To help with color selection, download cell phone apps that match ceiling color to other colors in room. Download cell phone apps that let you snap photo of color of sky or flowers or trees, then match that color to paint color to coordinate with room colors.

Tip: Light colors make ceiling look higher; dark colors lower look.

For unified look, use darker or lighter tones of ceiling color for molding and/or woodwork.

For drama and contrast, choose woodwork color on opposite side of color wheel from ceiling color.

Create garden effect with light walls and blue or green ceiling.

Consider surprising ceiling color, such as brick red or sunset orange.

Step 4: Prep the Area

Cover all floors and furniture with drop cloths.

Tape off tops of walls.

Cover upper three feet of wall with plastic sheeting.

Tape off ceiling light fixture and cover with plastic.

Clean ceiling with mild soap and water, rinse, and let dry.

If ceiling is smooth, patch cracks or holes with patching compound and sand smooth.

Vacuum dust off ceiling with brush attachment.

Step 5: Cut In and Paint the Ceiling

Start by cutting in paint around ceiling edges and light fixture with 2-inch trim brush.

Working in three-foot sections, roll paint on ceiling in 'N' or 'W' pattern. Fill in 'N' or 'W' pattern.

Don’t load too much paint on roller. To protect from spatters, wear dust mask, hat, safety glasses, and coveralls.

Take breaks in painting if your neck or arms get tired.

Step 6: Update the Woodwork

Keep wet edge between sections and overlap slightly.

To prevent peeling, remove plastic sheeting and tape before paint is entirely dry.

Update woodwork with darker or lighter tones of ceiling color