How to Paint a Ceiling Without Getting Paint on Everything, Including Your Floors and Yourself

Here’s to a freshly painted ceiling without the mess.

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Your ceiling is basically a large canvas. If you paint it dark, your room will feel cozier and more intimate while a light-colored ceiling will help your room feel larger and more expansive. A fresh coat of paint can also make your room more stylish and cover stains and imperfections. Despite this, the ceiling is often ignored when homeowners embark on DIY painting projects because they're intimidated. Who can blame them? Painting the ceiling not only involves awkward arm positions and painting over your head, but if you make a mistake, you also run the very real risk of getting paint all over your floors, furniture, and even yourself. To alleviate those concerns, we went to Houston-based real estate investor Marina Vaamonde of HouseCashin to find out how to paint your ceiling without making a giant mess.

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Move the Furniture

Before you begin painting your ceiling, Vaamonde suggests moving as much furniture as possible from the room. Large pieces, however, can be pushed to the center of the room and covered completely with drop cloths. Pro tip: Inexpensive furniture sliders will make it easier to move heavy pieces without damaging your floor.

Cover the Floor

Since you don't want to get paint on your floors, your next step is to cover them with drop cloths. After you're through, tape the edges of the cloths to your baseboard with painter's tape.

Remove Your Light Fixtures

Next, Vaamonde says to direct your attention to the ceiling. If there are any light fixtures there, remove them if possible. If you aren't able to remove them, cover them in cloth or paper to protect them from dripping paint.

Protect Your Clothes

This is not a project you want to undertake wearing your Sunday finest. Be sure to wear something you won't mind getting dripped on with paint or buy a disposable suit to protect your clothing.

Protect Your Walls

Next, protect your walls. Vaamonde says the easiest way to do this is to stand on a step ladder and run painter's tape all along the top of your wall next to your ceiling. Then, paint a three to four inch border around the ceiling to create a buffer between your workspace and the walls.

Use the Right Equipment

After you've protected your walls, Vaamonde says you can climb down from the ladder to complete the rest of the project from the floor with an extended roller. She also says a roller shield will help protect you and the room from excess spattering or drips.

Take Your Time

According to Vaamonde, most DIY mistakes and messes occur when you're working in haste. She says, "Rolling paint too quickly causes spray to fly everywhere. Be deliberate with your roller strokes and don't use too much paint." This will make sure you get a nice, even coat on your ceiling without splattering everywhere.

Allow the Paint to Dry

Paint will easily transfer to anything it rubs against during the drying phase, so be sure to give it plenty of time to dry before you put your room back together. Since different paint types have different drying times, be sure to read the label to determine when it will be safe to remove the tape, replace the light fixtures, and enjoy your new room.

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