photograph of a home office with neutral walls and a big window on the left with natural light coming in, an olive green ceiling, bright yellow radiator on the right, dark wooden floor, gallery wall and a plain white desk placed on the right side

Painting a ceiling: the ultimate guide

By Emily Harnasz on

To say we love a painted ceiling here at YesColours would be an understatement, quite frankly we’re obsessed! It's such a great way to inject colour into a space without it being too overwhelming, plus its hidden skills of being able to play tricks on the proportions of a space makes it a vibe for pretty much any type of room. 

So follow these handy DIY tips and you’ll be sure to have yourself a glorious colourful ceiling in no time.


Try a paint sample.

Yep, it really does start here. If you’re going to take all that time and energy painting a colourful ceiling, you really want to know you love the colour up there first (we aren't going to lie, painting a ceiling is a sweaty workout!). So buy a paint sample, pin it up and keep it there for a good few days so you can see it at all different lights. Trust us, you do not want to miss this step. 

Need some help? Check out our blog post on how to test your paint samples correctly.


a group of plain coloured DIY and craft supplies - tubes, rings, paper circles and geometrically shaped items, balanced on top of each other alongside two small paint jars, photographed on a neutral background

Possibly our top advice when it comes to painting (and not just ceiling painting) is: always try a paint sample first. All colours vary on different screens and different devices, and on top of that the colour will always 'behave' differently in your own home, depending or where your room is facing. Our paint samples come in small glass jars with metal lids, they are fully recyclable... and fully reusable too. Here's our gorgeous neutral paint colour palette photographed by Veega Studio.


Invest in quality tools. 

Shoddy tools = shoddy application, so invest in the best quality you can afford to get the maximum out of your paint and for a more professional finish. 

Here’s your shopping list:

  • Paint (in your favourite YesColours colour of course!)
  • Roller heads
  • Roller handle
  • Extension pole (for lower ceilings)
  • Stable ladder or platform (for higher ceilings)
  • Paint tray
  • Dust sheets - to protect flooring and furniture
  • 1 inch angled paint brush for cutting in
  • Masking tape - if you're not going to go free hand.


Clear the space, cover the floor and any personal items with your dust sheets and get your best painting gear on. If it’s bare plaster, you’ll need to use a primer or mist coat first, if it's previously painted, check for any uneven surfaces, fill, sand back and wash with a sugar soap if needed.


Paint the coving and/or edges first.

Or as those in the biz say, ‘cutting in’. This just means using a brush to paint edges of walls, ceiling, window frames, door frames, etc. to ensure those fiddly bits are dealt with in a loving manner. For a ceiling, we only need to worry about where the wall meets the ceiling (or coving if you have them) so get painting this first. Be as neat as you can but don’t worry about perfection just yet, this comes later.


Load up your roller.

Seriously, load up your paint roller with an uncomfortable amount of paint, you need to get it really really slathered. It’s also handy to work quickly as this will ensure you’re keeping a wet edge throughout. And why do I need a wet edge, you ask? This is what stops the paint drying at an uneven rate which in turn creates drier patches that layer up differently to the rest of the surface, causing streaks and marks. So dip back into the roller tray often for a fuss free finish.

Roll towards the light source.

This helps to disguise any roller marks and makes sure that ceiling looks effortlessly smooth in all lights. Bonus tip: Wrap brushes and rollers in cling film between coats to save on washing... you’re welcome.


photograph of a home office with neutral walls and a big window on the left with natural light coming in, an olive green ceiling, bright yellow radiator on the right, dark wooden floor, gallery wall and a plain white desk placed on the right side

Home office goals... with a painted ceiling, of course. Here's the working space of our Lead Colour Consultant - Emily @swishcolour, where you can see our Passionate Olive Green paint colour on the ceiling and our Serene Neutral paint colours on the walls. Simply gorgeous.


Neaten the edges.

Once you’re happy with the coverage and everything is fully dry, use a 1 inch angled paint brush and the wall colour, dab just below where you want it and slowly drag with a steady hand. Do this around the full room as many times as needed to cover the darker paint. Or if you're not as confident with a brush, just use masking tape - you do you! 

And that’s it, you should now have one show-stoppingly fabulous colourful ceiling you’re sure to adore for years to come. For more tips and tricks (including lots of painted ceiling content) - check out our TikTok.

If you’re looking for a little help with choosing the right paint colours for your home decor palette, book a colour consultation with us. It's easy, it's fun... and there's a free option available too.

Share your YesColours home transformation by tagging us on Instagram.