Spotlight on: Painted ceilings - Dulux

Largely known as ‘the fifth wall’, the ceiling is an often underused and overlooked surface, although it can provide a blank canvas for your creativity.

With a bit of paint and a little imagination, a colourful ceiling can work wonders, whether creating a cocooning effect, zoning a space or picking out architectural features – not to mention adding a talking point. Better still, it can make your ceiling look higher and your room feel bigger, while adding an element of playfulness to proceedings. All of which is sure to spark conversation among friends and family.

There are a variety of techniques to consider, from complementing with the same colour on the walls to defining with a divider line and contrasting with the shade below, although there really is no right or wrong way once you’ve mastered the art of application.   

Here, we provide inspiration for painting your ceiling, together with a step-by-step guide on how to quickly and easily achieve the look in your own home.  

Above all, experiment and have fun.

Date night

Enjoy the hottest table in town from the comfort of home by zoning your dining table with an elegant shade. Here, we’ve painted a statement stripe in romantic Pressed Petal from the wall to the ceiling – extending about a third of the way in – to designate a space for dinners for two. Using Dulux Simply Refresh One Coat ensured an effortless transformation in a single coat with even coverage and brilliant colour. Cosy Nutmeg White embraces the pink on either side on the wall and provides soft contrast around the stripe. Draw more attention to the painted ceiling with a statement chandelier and sunburst mirrors while setting the scene by layering the table with crockery and textiles. Now all you need to do is decide what’s on the menu.

Warm welcome

Alternatively, extend your stripe across the entire length of the ceiling, as we’ve done in this bright and breezy hallway. Not only does it make the space feel like it stretches for days – when in fact, it’s quite small and narrow – but painting the stripe in vibrant California Days using Dulux Easycare Washable & Tough makes for a happy entrance as you step through the front door. Creamy Natural Calico on the rest of the ceiling and walls makes the yellow jump for joy while Rich Black on the coat stand adds welcome contrast. With its 2-in-1 formula, using Dulux Simply Refresh Multi-surface meant the paint could be applied directly to the wood for a quick and easy transformation. Bring the outside in with a pot plant or two and add further character with beautiful artwork. 

Spa style

In this bathroom, we’ve painted the ceiling in fresh Guild Green to create a spa-like feeling that’s conducive to relaxation, while providing something calm to look at when soaking in the tub below. To make even more of a splash, we’ve brought the colour part-way down the walls, using tropical Frosted Papaya as a divider line between the serene green and cool Rock Salt beneath. The result is a tranquil space that’s ready for ‘you time’ any time. Better still, because we used Dulux Easycare Bathroom – complete with steam- and moisture-resistant technology – the space will stay looking great for longer. Why not style it up with lush plants and patterned textiles, as we’ve done here, together with natural materials like wicker and stoneware?

How to paint a ceiling guide

With the correct tools and expert knowledge, painting the ceiling can transform the look and feel of any room, while adding depth and interest.  

  • You’ll need a small step-ladder, clean broom and damp cloth, paint roller and tray, extension pole, sandpaper, low-tack masking tape, emulsion brushes and cutting-in brush.
  • Clear your room, protect the floor with dust sheets and clean the ceiling.
  • Fill any cracks on the ceiling and sand it down.
  • Mask any fixtures before painting around them and focus on the edges first.  
  • If you want to recreate one of the designs shown above, use masking tape to create straight lines between your ceiling colour and your base colour. Always remember to seal the masking tape with the same colour as the base coat for perfectly smooth edges!
  • Move on to the larger areas using your roller and extension pole.
  •  Finally, wait until the paint dries before applying a second coat, if required.

See how shortlisted hues will look in your home with our  free Visualizer app.