October 5


Expert decorators share tips to help you avoid these common mistakes when painting your ceiling

Decorating professionals reveal the common ceiling painting mistakes to avoid

Painting ceilings can be a tedious task, but with a little bit of patience and the right techniques, it can be done properly. However, many people make common mistakes when painting their ceilings, which can result in uneven finishes, splatters on the walls, or even damage to furniture and carpets. To help our readers avoid such mistakes, we turned to decorating professionals Lisa Fleming and Nutter Chalmers for their expert tips and advice.

“One of the most common mistakes we see homeowners make when painting their ceilings is skimping on the preparation,” warns Fleming. “Ceilings, just like walls, need to be properly prepped before applying paint. This includes removing any dirt or dust, patching up any cracks or holes, and using drop cloths to protect furniture and carpets.”

Chalmers adds, “Another mistake we often see is not using the right tools. Many people think they can paint a ceiling without the proper equipment, but this can lead to uneven lines and splatters. It’s essential to use the right brushes and roller covers to ensure smooth and even finishes.”

When it comes to choosing the right paint for ceilings, both professionals agree that using ceiling-specific paints is the way to go. “Ceiling paints have a higher viscosity, which helps prevent drips and splatters,” explains Fleming. “They also have special additives that make them easier to apply and provide better coverage.”

To make the painting process easier, Chalmers suggests using an organizer or tray that attaches to the ladder. “This way, you can have all your tools and supplies within reach, without having to go up and down the ladder constantly,” he says. “It saves a lot of time and effort.”

When it comes to actually painting the ceiling, Fleming recommends starting with the edges and trim, and then moving onto the main area. “By painting the edges and trim first, you can ensure clean lines and a more professional finish,” she explains. “Then, when you move onto the main area, you can use a roller to cover larger sections more quickly.”

Finally, both professionals stress the importance of taking your time and not rushing the process. “Painting a ceiling can be a time-consuming task, but it’s worth it in the end,” says Chalmers. “By being patient and applying multiple coats if needed, you can achieve a beautiful and long-lasting finish.”

So there you have it, some valuable tips and advice from decorating professionals on how to avoid common ceiling painting mistakes. Whether you’re a DIY painter or hiring a professional, these tips will help ensure a smooth and successful painting project. Remember, it’s always better to take your time and do it right the first time!

Ceiling painting mistakes to avoid

Ceiling painting mistakes to avoid

When it comes to painting ceilings, there are some common mistakes that many people make. These mistakes can leave your ceiling looking less than perfect and may require you to start the painting process again. To ensure a flawless finish, it’s important to avoid these common ceiling painting mistakes:

  • Not preparing the surface: One of the most common mistakes people make is not properly preparing the ceiling before painting. This can lead to paint not adhering properly and may result in cracks and peeling over time. Before painting, make sure to clean the ceiling and fill any holes or cracks.
  • Using the wrong type of paint: Another mistake to avoid is using the wrong type of paint. Ceilings generally require a flat or matte finish to hide imperfections, while glossy finishes are more suitable for walls. Using the wrong type of paint can result in an uneven and unattractive finish.
  • Not using a drop cloth: Painting a ceiling can be a messy task, and failing to use a drop cloth to protect your furniture and floors can lead to splatters and stains. Always place a drop cloth on the floor and cover furniture before starting to paint.
  • Not using a roller: Painting a ceiling with a brush can be time-consuming and may result in visible brush strokes. To achieve a smooth finish, it’s best to use a roller. Make sure to use a long-handled roller for ease of use and reach.
  • Skimping on coats: Ceilings often require two coats of paint to achieve an even finish. Applying only one coat may result in an uneven appearance and make imperfections more visible. Be sure to apply enough coats to achieve the desired look.
  • Not taking breaks: Ceiling painting can be a physically demanding task, especially if you’re working on a large area. It’s important to take regular breaks to rest and avoid fatigue. This will help you maintain a steady hand and ensure a professional-looking finish.
  • Not considering privacy: If you have carpet or furniture on the ground level beneath the ceiling you are painting, it’s essential to ensure your privacy. Hanging plastic sheets or using privacy film on windows can help prevent paint splatters from damaging your belongings.

By avoiding these common ceiling painting mistakes, you can achieve a flawless finish and transform the look of your room. Remember to take your time, use the right tools and materials, and follow professional tips for the best results.

1 Leaving it ’til last

One of the common mistakes people make when painting ceilings is leaving them as the last task in the decorating process. Often, people focus on painting the walls and furniture first, thinking that the ceiling can be done later.

However, this approach can lead to various issues. When you paint the walls and furniture first, there is a higher chance that paint droplets or splatters will fall onto the ceiling. It can be difficult to remove these marks, especially if the paint has dried. Additionally, if you leave the ceiling for last, you may find yourself rushing to finish the job or running out of patience, resulting in a sloppy paint job.

To avoid these problems, professionals advise painting the ceiling before the walls and furniture. This way, you can ensure that the ceiling receives the attention it deserves without any accidental paint marks from the walls or furniture. By applying the paint to the ceiling first, you can also work more freely without worrying about damaging other surfaces.

Lisa Fleming, a professional painter, warns against skimping on time and effort when it comes to painting ceilings. She recommends giving yourself enough time to properly paint the ceiling and taking breaks whenever necessary to avoid neck or back strains. Remember, every detail counts when it comes to achieving the perfect finish.

Leaving the ceiling painting until last may seem tempting, but as many professionals suggest, it is best to tackle this task first. By doing so, you can ensure that your ceiling is properly painted and avoid any unwanted mess or mistakes.

2 Neglecting to prep the space

2 Neglecting to prep the space

When it comes to painting a ceiling, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is skimping on the preparation. Many people think that painting the ceiling is a simple task that doesn’t require much effort, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

One of the first things you need to do when prepping the space is clear out any furniture or other items that could get in the way. Painting a ceiling can be an awkward and messy process, and you don’t want to accidentally bump into a piece of furniture and knock it over.

If you can’t remove the furniture from the room, try covering it with plastic sheets or drop cloths to protect it from any splatters or drips. This will also prevent any paint from getting on your furniture and causing damage.

In addition to protecting your furniture, you should also take steps to protect the floors and walls. Lay down drop cloths or plastic sheets to catch any paint splatters or spills. You can also use painter’s tape to create clean lines along the edges of the ceiling and walls, ensuring that no paint gets on the walls or trim.

Another important step in prepping the space is to ensure good ventilation. Paint fumes can be strong and harmful if inhaled for long periods of time, so it’s important to open windows and use fans to circulate fresh air during the painting process.

Finally, don’t forget to wear the appropriate safety gear, such as goggles and gloves, to protect yourself from any potential hazards. This is especially important when working with glossy finishes or paints that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be toxic when inhaled.

By taking the time to properly prep the space before painting the ceiling, you can ensure a smooth and successful painting project. So, don’t neglect this important step and always remember to put in the effort to create a clean and well-prepared workspace.

3 Skimping on paint

One of the most common mistakes people make when painting their ceilings is skimping on paint. Many homeowners think they only need one coat of paint to get the job done, but this can leave your ceiling looking patchy and uneven. To ensure a smooth and professional finish, it’s essential to apply at least two coats of paint.

“Using too much paint can cause drips and splatters, so it’s important to find the right balance,” says Lisa Nutter of Nutter Paints. “Rolling the paint through the roller tray a few times can help remove any excess paint and ensure even coverage.”

Don’t forget to properly prepare the ceiling before painting. Remove any furniture or cover it with drop cloths to protect it from paint splatters. Use painter’s tape to create clean lines where the ceiling meets the walls or trim. Organizers like Fleming Wall/Trim Planter can help you stay organized while working and protect your privacy.

When picking the right paint for your ceiling, consider the room’s purpose. For kitchens and bathrooms, where moisture is more likely to be present, it’s recommended to use moisture-resistant paints. For other rooms, you can opt for flat or satin finishes.

“Don’t be afraid to go bold with your ceiling color,” says Chalmers Flemming, a professional painter. “Ceilings don’t have to be white – they can add depth and personality to a room.” If you are looking for some ideas, you can browse through the latest home decorating magazines or check out websites like Pinterest for inspiration.

Remember, painting a ceiling can be a tedious task that requires patience and attention to detail. If you’re not up for the challenge or don’t have the time, hiring a professional painter may be the best option.

“A professional painter will have the experience and tools needed to paint your ceiling properly,” says Lisa Nutter. “They will ensure that the coats are applied evenly and there are no streaks or breaks in the paint.”

So, when it comes to painting ceilings, don’t skimp on paint. Invest in good quality paints and take the time to properly prepare and apply multiple coats for a beautiful and long-lasting finish.

4 Picking the wrong finish

One of the most common ceiling painting mistakes is picking the wrong finish. Many homeowners think that they can use the same paint finish on the ceiling as they do on the walls, but this is not always the best choice.

According to decorating professionals, using a glossy finish on the ceiling can make imperfections more noticeable. This is especially true for older homes with textured ceilings. The glossy finish will reflect light and highlight any lines or cracks that may be present.

On the other hand, using a matte or flat finish can help to hide imperfections and create a smoother appearance. This finish is more forgiving and will not draw attention to any flaws. It also has a more modern and clean look, which is popular in many homes today.

Fleming Nutter, a professional painter, advises homeowners to always use a flat or matte finish on their ceilings. He says, “It’s important to think about the overall look you want to achieve. A matte finish will give your ceilings a more seamless and polished appearance.”

Another common mistake is skimping on coats when painting the ceiling. Many people assume that one coat will be enough, but this is not always the case. Applying multiple thin coats will ensure proper coverage and a more even finish.

Nutter also warns against using the wrong tools when painting ceilings. He recommends using a roller with an extension pole to reach high ceilings and to avoid splatters. He suggests using drop cloths and painter’s tape to protect the walls and floor. Nutter also suggests wearing marigolds to protect your hands and using a good quality paint that will not leave streaks or lines.

In addition, organizing the painting process can also make things go more smoothly. Nutter suggests working from the top down and starting with the ceilings before moving on to the walls and trim. This will help to prevent any drips or splatters from ruining the freshly painted walls.

So when picking the finish for your ceiling, always consider the overall look you want to achieve and the condition of your ceilings. Don’t be afraid to ask professionals for advice or do some research online to find the best finish for your needs.

5 Skipping out on drop sheets

One common mistake that many people make when painting the ceiling is skipping out on drop sheets. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but working without drop sheets can lead to a lot of problems and extra work in the long run.

According to Lisa Chalmers, a professional painter with years of experience, “using drop sheets is essential when painting ceilings. It’s easy to accidentally drip paint or have splatters while painting, and without drop sheets, these can end up on your furniture, carpets, or walls.”

Drop sheets provide a protective barrier between the paint and your belongings, ensuring that any accidental spills or splatters can be easily cleaned up. They also help to prevent paint from dripping onto the floor, making the task of cleaning up much easier and less time-consuming.

There are many types of drop sheets available, ranging from inexpensive plastic sheets to more durable canvas options. When choosing a drop sheet, consider the size of your room and the type of paint you will be using. Lisa suggests investing in a quality drop sheet that will adequately cover the area you’re working in.

“Drop sheets are especially important when painting ceilings,” Lisa warns. “Ceilings can be tricky to work on, as they require looking up for extended periods. Without drop sheets, even the most experienced painters can end up with a sore neck from constantly looking up.”

Not only can skipping out on drop sheets result in messy splatters and sore necks, but it can also lead to awkward and time-consuming painting situations. Lisa shares a story of a painter she knows who once left a large splatter of paint on a dorm room wall, which required the entire wall to be repainted.

  1. Always use drop sheets to protect your furniture, carpets, and walls.
  2. Invest in a quality drop sheet that will cover the entire working area.
  3. Remember that ceilings can be challenging to paint, so using drop sheets is crucial.
  4. Don’t forget to protect your neck by looking out for extended periods without a drop sheet.
  5. Avoid awkward and time-consuming situations by preventing splatters like the story Lisa shared.

By using drop sheets, you can ensure that your painting project goes smoothly and without any unnecessary mess or damage. So, next time you’re picking up your painting supplies, don’t forget to grab a drop sheet from your local home improvement store or order one online from retailers like Amazon.

6 Forgetting to remove light fittings

One essential step when painting a ceiling is to remove any light fittings or fixtures. Forgetting to do so can lead to a lot of headaches and potential damage.

Light fittings and fixtures can get in the way of your paintbrush or roller, making it more difficult to paint evenly. In addition, paint can easily splatter onto your light fittings, leaving behind unsightly marks and making them harder to clean.

Leaving light fittings in place while painting can also compromise your safety. If you’re working with a ladder or standing on a chair, you could accidentally knock into the fittings, causing them to break or become damaged.

To avoid these issues, make sure to take the time to remove all light fittings before starting any painting job. This will give you more space to work and ensure a neater finish.

If you find it difficult to remove certain light fittings or fixtures, such as those in hard-to-reach areas or awkward positions, consider using drop cloths or plastic covers to protect them from paint splatters. This will help save you time and prevent any accidental damage.

Remember, proper preparation is key to achieving a professional-looking paint job. Take the time to remove light fittings before painting a ceiling to ensure a smooth and seamless finish.

7 Painting in the wrong direction

7 Painting in the wrong direction

When it comes to painting, there are certain mistakes that homeowners often make. One of these mistakes is painting in the wrong direction. Whether you are painting the ceiling or walls, it is important to follow the correct technique to ensure a professional-looking finish. Here are some tips from decorating professionals to help you avoid this common mistake:

  1. Not starting from the top. Many homeowners make the mistake of starting their painting task from the bottom, such as the skirting board or trim. However, professionals recommend starting from the top and working your way down. This way, you can avoid any splatters or drips onto freshly painted areas.
  2. Skipping primer. Don’t skimp on using primer before painting. Primer helps to create a smooth surface and allows the paint to adhere better. It will also help to cover any imperfections on the surface. Make sure to choose the appropriate primer for your specific project.
  3. Not protecting the floor. It’s important to protect your floor from any paint spills or drips. Lay down drop cloths or old sheets to cover the ground and prevent any damage to carpets or tiles. You can easily find affordable drop cloths on websites like Amazon.
  4. Rolling in the wrong direction. When using a roller, the proper technique is to roll in a “W” or “M” shape. This ensures even coverage and helps to avoid visible lines. Roll in one direction and then go back over the area in the opposite direction to blend the paint properly.
  5. Not considering the ceiling. Many homeowners forget about the ceiling when painting their walls. However, if you want a cohesive look, it’s important to paint the ceiling as well. Choose a color that complements the walls and apply the paint using a roller with an extension handle to save your neck.
  6. Ignoring the edges. Don’t forget to paint the edges of the walls and ceilings. Use a brush to carefully paint along the edges, ensuring a clean and professional finish.
  7. Working in a confined space. When painting in small spaces, such as bathrooms or kitchens, it’s important to ensure proper ventilation. Open windows or use fans to avoid fumes and ensure the paint dries properly.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can achieve a flawless paint job in your home. Always take your time and follow the advice of professionals to ensure that your painting project goes smoothly.

8 Not taking breaks

Painting a ceiling is a time-consuming task that requires a lot of patience and physical endurance. It’s important to remember to take breaks during the process to rest your muscles and avoid burnout.

According to decorating professionals, taking breaks can also help you maintain focus and make better decisions. Lisa Nutter, a professional decorator, warns that if you don’t take breaks, you may rush through the task and end up with unsatisfactory results.

During your breaks, you can take the time to stretch your muscles, hydrate, or even check your email inbox. It’s important to give yourself time to recharge before tackling the next section of the ceiling.

If you’re using a roller to paint the ceiling, it’s important to also take breaks to properly clean and moisten the roller. This will ensure that the paint goes on smoothly and evenly.

When taking breaks, it’s a good idea to protect your furniture and floor from any potential splatters. You can use plastic drop cloths or old bedsheets to cover your furniture and carpet.

Don’t be tempted to skimp on breaks just to get the job done faster. Taking regular breaks will actually help you work more efficiently and avoid mistakes.

So, the next time you’re painting a ceiling, make sure to schedule regular breaks into your painting process. Your neck, muscles, and overall painting experience will thank you for it!


Q: How can I protect my furniture and floors from paint splatters?

A: To protect your furniture and floors from paint splatters, you can use drop cloths or plastic covers. Make sure to cover the entire area where you will be painting to avoid any accidental spills or splatters.

Q: Should I paint the ceiling or walls first?

A: It is generally recommended to paint the ceiling first and then move on to the walls. This helps to prevent any paint drips or splatters from the ceiling onto the freshly painted walls.

Q: How many coats of paint do I need for my ceilings?

A: The number of coats of paint needed for ceilings can vary depending on the color and type of paint you are using. In general, two coats of paint are usually sufficient to achieve an evenly covered and smooth finish.

Q: Do I need to use a primer before painting my ceilings?

A: Using a primer before painting your ceilings can help to ensure that the paint adheres properly and provides an even coverage. It is generally recommended to use a primer, especially if you are painting over a darker color or have stains on your ceilings.

Q: Should I use a roller or a paintbrush to paint my ceilings?

A: It is usually more efficient and easier to use a roller to paint ceilings. A roller helps to cover a larger surface area and provides a smoother finish. However, for tight or hard-to-reach spaces, a paintbrush may be necessary.

Q: How can I avoid neck and back strain while painting ceilings?

A: To avoid neck and back strain while painting ceilings, consider using a telescoping paint roller handle or an extension pole. This will allow you to reach the ceilings without having to strain your neck and back.

Q: Can I use the same paint for both walls and ceilings?

A: Yes, you can use the same paint for both walls and ceilings. However, it is important to choose a paint that is appropriate for the surface you are painting and provides the desired finish.

Q: How long should I wait before painting the ceilings in bathrooms and kitchens?

A: Ceilings in bathrooms and kitchens are often exposed to moisture and grease, so it is crucial to properly clean and dry them before painting. Allow the ceilings to fully dry before applying paint, and make sure to choose a paint that is suitable for high-moisture areas.

Q: What should I do if I accidentally get paint on my carpet or furniture?

A: If you accidentally get paint on your carpet or furniture, act quickly and try to remove the paint while it is still wet. You can use a cloth or sponge to gently blot the area, being careful not to spread the paint further. If the paint is already dry, you may need to seek professional help to remove it.

Why does my ceiling look bad after painting

Why does my ceiling look bad after painting

After spending time and effort painting your ceiling, it can be disheartening to step back and find that it doesn’t look as good as you hoped. There are several reasons why your ceiling may look bad after painting, and understanding these factors can help you achieve better results in the future.

1. Lack of proper preparation: One of the most common mistakes when painting a ceiling is not properly preparing the surface. It is essential to protect the walls, furniture, and floors from paint splatters by using drop cloths or covering them with plastic sheets.

2. Skimping on paint: Using too little paint can result in an uneven and patchy finish. Always make sure to use enough paint to cover the entire ceiling without having to go back and apply more coats.

3. Not using the right tools: Using the wrong brushes or rollers can lead to visible lines and streaks on the ceiling. It is important to use high-quality brushes and rollers that are suitable for the type of paint you are using.

4. Poor technique: Applying paint to the ceiling without following the proper technique can result in an uneven and unprofessional finish. It is recommended to start painting from one corner and work your way across the ceiling in small sections, ensuring that each section is evenly covered.

5. Choosing the wrong paint: Not all paints are suitable for ceilings. Using a flat or matte paint finish is typically recommended as it helps to hide imperfections and prevents glare. Glossy finishes can highlight any flaws on the ceiling surface.

6. Working with low-quality paint: Using cheap, low-quality paint can result in a poor finish. Investing in good quality paint will give you better coverage, durability, and a more professional-looking result.

7. Not allowing enough drying time: It is essential to let each coat of paint dry completely before applying the next one. Rushing the process can cause the paint to peel or bubble, resulting in an uneven and unattractive finish.

8. Not paying attention to lighting: The type and intensity of lighting in the room can affect how the painted ceiling looks. Natural and bright lighting can highlight imperfections, while soft or dim lighting can make the ceiling appear smoother.

9. Not seeking professional help when needed: If you are unsure about your painting skills or have a complex ceiling design, it is worth considering hiring a professional painter. They have the expertise and experience to achieve a flawless finish.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following the tips and ideas from professionals, you can ensure that your next ceiling painting project will result in a beautifully finished room.

Why do I have lines on my ceiling after painting

After spending countless hours painting your ceiling, you may be disappointed to find lines or streaks when you step back to admire your work. It’s frustrating and can ruin the overall look of the room. But why do these lines appear?

According to decorating professionals, there are a few common mistakes that can result in lines on your ceiling after painting. Here are some reasons why you might be experiencing this issue and how to avoid it in the future:

  • Using improper technique: One of the main reasons for lines on the ceiling is improper painting technique. If you’re not using the right tools or applying the paint incorrectly, it can lead to streaks and lines. Make sure you’re using a high-quality roller and applying the paint in smooth, even strokes.
  • Not preparing the surface: Another mistake is not properly preparing the ceiling before painting. If there are any imperfections, such as cracks or rough patches, they can show through the paint and create lines. Take the time to clean and repair the ceiling before you start painting.
  • Applying too few coats: One coat of paint may not be enough to provide full coverage and hide any imperfections. Applying multiple coats will help to even out the paint and reduce the chance of lines. Don’t rush the painting process; take your time and apply as many coats as necessary.
  • Using the wrong type of paint: Different finishes can have different effects on the appearance of your ceiling. Matte or flat finishes tend to hide imperfections better than glossy finishes, which can highlight any lines or streaks. Consider using a matte or flat finish for a more seamless look.
  • Not using drop cloths: Many DIYers forget to protect their floors and furniture with drop cloths, which can lead to paint splatters and lines on the ceiling. Take the time to cover and protect any items in the room to avoid these accidents.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following these tips, you can achieve a smooth and flawless ceiling paint job without any lines. Remember to always properly prepare the surface, use the right tools and techniques, and apply enough coats for full coverage. With a little extra care and attention to detail, you can have a perfectly painted ceiling that enhances the beauty of your space.


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