How to Paint a Ceiling - tips to do it the fastest, easiest way!

This post is brought to you by HomeRight.
The easiest way to paint a ceiling - with a self feeding paint roller tube

Do you have a ceiling that needs paint and you are absolutely dreading the job? 

Do you need tips and tricks for how to paint your ceiling without killing your arms and getting paint everywhere? I am here to help! 

Welcome to ceiling painting 101!
I'm going to teach you how to paint a ceiling, the quickest and easiest way possible.

I have some tips and tricks for the best ways to paint a ceiling that will save you time and backache.

How I became an expert in ceiling painting

We currently live in a home we affectionately call the Farmhouse.

I have to confess that we put offers on several other houses before we put in an offer on this one - mostly because just about every surface in this house was going to need paint - even the ceilings! 


The front room and kitchen, for example, had semi-gloss mauve paint on both the walls AND the ceilings. 
How to choose a paint color for your ceiling - not mauve!

How to paint a ceiling - don't paint it mauve like this before pic

PRO TIP: Never paint your walls and ceilings mauve. Ever. 

If you do, plan to at least paint them back to a more neutral shade - like white - when you go to sell your house. 

PRO TIP: semi-gloss is not a good finish to use on ceilings. Instead, choose a matte or "flat" finish.

All that to say....the semi-gloss mauve had to go!

At this point I have painted thousands of square feet of walls and ceiling and am going to teach you all my best tips for ceiling painting so you can get the dreaded job over with!

What you need to know about painting a ceiling fast

As with most things in life, there are faster, better ways to paint ceilings and there are long, tedious ways.

This is what you need to know about how to paint a ceiling fast:

How to Paint a Ceiling Tip #1: Choose the right tools!

Having the right tools for painting a ceiling is absolutely essential to making this job fast and easy! 

This is what will make a difference between aches and pains that follow you for weeks or none at all. 

Not to mention time! The right tools will save you so much time - not just on painting but on clean up, too!

Here are the tools you need to paint your ceiling the easy way:
best ceiling painting tools for the easiest way to paint a ceiling - QuickPainter edge painter and PaintStick EZ twist

How to Paint a Ceiling Tip #2: Choose quality ceiling paint!

Poor quality paint will require more coats (read: more time painting) versus just two coats of high quality paint. 

UPDATE (2020): Since writing this article in 2015, the small independent paint company whose paint I used in the original article has gone out of business. 

In my opinion, the highest quality zero VOC ceiling paint currently on the market is from ECOS

It has excellent coverage and will perform just as well or better than any other traditional ceiling paint on the market.

I used flat finish paint from Colorhouse in my favorite shade of white, which is Bisque.02

I love Colorhouse paint because not only does it have great coverage, but it is non-toxic and zero VOC. 

VOCs are those nasty chemicals that are both bad for your body and make paint smell bad. They off-gas while you paint - and then for up to 5 years afterward - long after the new paint smell is gone! 

VOCs are why pregnant women and children shouldn't be present while painting (with traditional paint) and you should always paint in a ventilated room - unless you use a non-toxic, zero VOC paint

This has the added benefit of allowing you to paint during the fall and winter - there is no need to open the windows to air out a room when using zero VOC paint. Winning!

In short, there is no good reason to buy toxic (traditional) paint when such high quality non-toxic and zero VOC options exist!
How to choose ceiling paint

All that to say: don't skimp on ceiling paint. Save your time and health and get the good stuff, ok?

How to paint a ceiling step-by-step

Before you get started painting, you'll need to prepare the area:

Ceiling Painting Prep Step 1: Clear it out!

Prepare your room for painting by removing as many things from the room as possible. This will make it easier to move around in the room while painting.  

Ceiling Painting Prep Step 2: Remove fixtures and fix holes

If you have fixtures you want to remove do that now. We got rid of the chandelier and that weird cabinet in the corner.
Ceiling painting tips- how to prep your ceiling to be painted

Patch any holes with spackle. I like to use one that goes on pink and turns white when dry so I know when it's ready to be painted over.
how to paint a ceiling

Ceiling Painting Prep Step 3: Cover up

Next, lay your drop cloth on the floor. 

If you have furniture or other things that were unable to be removed, cover them with a drop cloth as well. 

Be sure that the drop cloth goes all the way to the wall. 

If your drop cloth is not big enough to cover the floor of the whole room, you can move it around as you work - just be sure to always work over a drop cloth. Trust me.

Now it's time to paint!

How to Paint a Ceiling Step 1: Cut in

Climb up on your ladder or step stool so you can reach the corner where the walls meet the ceiling. 

Use the QuickPainter as your paint cutting in tool to paint the edges of the ceiling where it meets the wall. 

The QuickPainter is great because you load it with paint and then you just zip along painting cut lines (the fancy word for your paint lines on the edges). 

No need to tape off anything or "dip, wipe and paint" with a brush. 

You can also paint pretty much as far as your arm can reach before you have to move your ladder (unlike the paintbrush method, which has you climbing off and on your ladder every 24 inches or so).
How to start painting a ceiling with a paint cutting in tool

The QuickPainter comes with really easy to follow instructions, but if you are a visual person like me, here is how it works:

You start by twisting off the head with the paint pad.
Ceiling painting tools - edge painter for cutting in with paint on a wall or ceiling

Next, you immerse the tip of the QuickPainter into your paint or primer. 

Hold down the trigger with your thumb and draw the yellow plunger on the end away from the handle. Release the trigger first. Then release the plunger.
Ceiling painting tools - how to paint your ceiling

Remove the handle from the paint, wipe off the tip and twist the painting pad back into place.
Edge Painter from Home Right - best tools to paint ceilings

Press the trigger a few times to get the paint flowing through the pad. 

Practice drawing some lines in the middle of the ceiling (read: somewhere you're going to paint anyway) so you can get a feel for how it works and what hand position is most comfortable for you.

Pro Tip 1: You should not hold the trigger down the whole time you are painting. Once the paint is flowing, just pump it as needed to get more paint flowing into the head.

Pro Tip 2: Once you are done cutting in, wrap up the tip of the QuickPainter with plastic cling wrap or foil to keep it from drying out while you do the rest of the paint.

How to Paint a Ceiling Step 2: Load the roller

Assemble the PaintStick EZ Twist by following the instructions that came with it. 

Next, use the straw  (that also came with it) to suck the ceiling paint up into the shaft of the paint roller. 
best paint roller for painting a ceiling
Pro Tip 1: Practice drawing the plunger back before you actually insert the straw to load the paint. 

You need to flip the switch on the handle (just follow the instructions) and it might stick a bit the first time you use it. 

You should only use the straw for 60 seconds at a time - so don't waste your seconds fiddling with the plunger.

Tip 2: On the first draw, you will end up with a lot of air in the handle and that is okay - you didn't necessarily do anything wrong! 

Just lock the switch and twist to push the paint and air up the tube. Once you've used up that starter tube of paint, your next draw will be almost all paint and minimal air.

How to Paint a Ceiling Step 3: Roll on!

To get the paint started, twist the handle. 

If you ended up with a lot of air in the tube on the first draw, you might need to twist for a bit until all the air is out and the paint starts. 

Roll the roller on the ceiling (or a nearby wall if you're going to paint it anyway, ahem) until the paint rolls on smoothly.
How to paint a ceiling - the best ceiling painting tools for the easiest way to paint a ceiling

Once the paint is flowing, just keep rolling and twisting as needed to dispense the paint directly into the roller.  

With the EZ Twist, there is no need to bend/dip/load/lift/drip everywhere or climb up on a ladder like you would with a normal roller! 

Roll the painter right up to the cut lines you made earlier until the whole ceiling is painted.
How to paint a ceiling fast - best tips for painting a ceiling quickly and easily

How to Paint a Ceiling Step 4: Wrap it up

Any time you paint a textured surface like a ceiling or textured wall, you are going to need to do a second coat. 

If you bought poor quality paint, you might even need to do a third or fourth coat! Save yourself time and invest in high-quality ceiling paint like matte finish paint from ECOS!

Once you are done with the first coat, wrap up your QuickPainter and the roller on the PaintStick EZ Twist with plastic cling wrap or foil while the first coat of ceiling paint dries. 

This will keep the bristles on the QuickPainter and the roller from drying out. 

As long as you come back to paint the second coat within 18 hours or so of the first coat, I find this method works great (and saves you from doing all the clean up twice!)

If for some reason you need to wait more than 18ish hours between coats, go ahead and clean all the tools following the instructions they came with and then reassemble to start over when you're ready to do the second coat.

How to Paint a Ceiling Step 5: The second coat

The second coat of ceiling paint will go a little faster since your tools are already assembled! 

Use the QuickPainter to do a second coat of cut lines (tip: consider painting from a different direction than you did the first time to maximize coverage). 

Next, unwrap the PaintStick EZ Twist and do a second coat. 

Just like with the cut lines, you'll maximize coverage by switching directions. 

So if for the first coat you faced north and painted forward and backward, this time face east or west and do the same thing!
Best ceiling painting tips and tricks - learn the best way to paint a ceiling!

Once your second coat is done, check to be sure you don't need a third coat. 

If you aren't sure or if you can already tell you will need a third coat, wrap up your ceiling painting tools like you did in the previous step.

With the paint I used, I got incredible coverage - even over the dark pink paint that was hiding behind the cabinet - and I only needed two coats. 

How to Paint a Ceiling Step 6: Clean up!

The clean up for these tools isn't hard but it does take some time. 

I recommend using a bathtub or laundry sink along with a five gallon bucket. 

I really like this Handy Painter's Tool to get all the extra paint out of the roller - that way you can scrape it back into the paint bucket to use later instead of washing it down the drain!

Pro Tip: If you dripped paint on your hard floors and didn't see it until after it dried (who me?), I found my HomeRight SteamMachine to be really helpful to clean it up. 

Just use the long wand and the black brush tool. No scraping needed! Easy peasy.
ceiling painting tools - use a steam machine to clean up paint drips off the floor

Now go forth and paint!
(if you still have questions, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to help!)

Need help painting your walls? I have a post for that, too!
The fastest way to paint your walls - make over your room faster with these time saving tips and tricks

About the Author

Carissa Bonham is a lifelong crafter and mom of two creative boys. The owner and lead writer at Creative Green Living, she won the Craftys Award for the "Best Craft Blogger" category in 2016 and the ShiftCon award for "Best DIY Blogger" in 2018.

Her creative pursuits don't stop at crafts - she is also the author of the hardcover cookbook, Beautiful Smoothie Bowls (Skyhorse, 2017) and several ebooks. Her projects have been featured in magazines like Kids Crafts 1-2-3, Capper's Farmer and Urban Farm Magazine. Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living community group.
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Product review disclosure: This post was sponsored by HomeRight. I was provided with free paint tools and compensated for my time spent creating this tutorial to show you how to use them. Colorhouse generously provided me with the paint I used. All thoughts and opinions shared in this post are my own. I only ever endorse products from companies that I genuinely love and think you, my readers, would enjoy. Please see my full review policy for more information.


  1. I always dread cutting in and usually try to avoid painting the ceiling whenever possible because it's such a pain. These HomeRight products look like the answer. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  2. Homeright looks like the perfect solution. I'll be giving it a shot, thanks!

  3. Homeright looks like the perfect solution. I'll be giving it a shot, thanks!

  4. SUCH a great post and awesome tips! I always dread painting ceilings...will definitely reference this post next time!

  5. Thank you for the detailed information on how to properly paint inside a house like this!

  6. Thanks that amazing post!! This blog prove how to manufacturing product!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.


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