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Painted Smooth Ceilings – Falling in Love with Your Home

Welcome back. Many of you may participate or read a weekly WIWW (What I Wear Wednesday). Those women in blogland, they really know how to put an outfit together. I am seriously jealous because sometimes I feel wardrobe challenged. Maybe you can help me. Here is what I wore Wednesday:

Ladies, if you want to copy my looks, here is the breakdown:
1. Hooded Knit T-shirt Top bought 15 yrs. ago at Gap
2. Gap Jeans bought about 5 yrs. ago. Those are authentic knee rips!
3. Dansko Clogs with the heels worn down to a hollow core.
4. Latex gloves (the better to paint with.)

This Pretty Handy Girl can’t wear her good duds on a painting day (although I’ve been known to do that occasionally.)

Painting is a nice segue into the first secret for “Falling in Love with Your Home”. Our home started out dark and dreary on the inside. Most of the rooms had dark wall colors, but the biggest problem was the dingy white popcorn ceilings. Those suckers are light sponges! They absorb the natural light and keep it all to themselves.

Here is a good example of the light difference between a smooth ceiling and a textured ceiling:

Both pictures were taken minutes apart in adjoining rooms that have the same south facing windows. The rooms are identical in size. The room on the left (master bedroom) has popcorn ceilings and light blue walls. If you look closely, you can see how each pock has a shadow. The texture effectively stops the light from being reflected. Meanwhile the ceiling on the right is smooth but the walls are a dark blue (son’s room). Despite the darker walls, the ceiling appears lighter because the light is reflected due to the lack of texture.

As you can see, we are able to lighten our rooms about 10 – 15% by scraping and painting just the ceilings! (Imagine what painting the walls a lighter color will do!)

Two more benefits of a smooth ceiling:

  • A smooth ceiling will visually raise the ceiling, while the textured ceiling draws your focus to the texture and makes the ceiling feel lower. You’ll have to trust me on this one.
  • And, a smooth ceiling will not collect as much dust. I don’t have to tell you how important that is for allergy sufferers (ahhh- choo! I’m allergic to dust mites.)

In summary, why do you want a bright and smooth ceiling? Because, it will reflect more light and natural light is a mood booster.  And during the seemingly never-ending winter months, we all need more sunlight to avoid mild depression or gloom. Translated: Better mood = Loving Your Room!

This is how we do it:

We have the popcorn (textured) ceilings scraped. Notice how I said, “Have” them scraped. I am handy – as you know – but there are certain tasks that I won’t do. I successfully scraped the ceiling in our pantry, but my neck was in pain for a week afterwards. I vowed never again. It is also a good idea to pay a professional if you live in an older home. Textured ceilings may contain asbestos. (Thank goodness ours didn’t.)

Now, even if you don’t have textured ceilings, you likely can still benefit from adding a fresh coat of paint. Ceilings are usually neglected for years. They are often painted with a builder’s grade white paint. The builder’s white is a dingy off white color compared to an Ultra Bright Flat White. It also doesn’t age as well and will tend to yellow or dull over the years. Here is an approximation of how a builder’s white might look next to an ultra bright white color:

AND, let’s say you really don’t want to mess with those texture ceilings, if you buy a thick nap roller and repaint the ceiling with an Ultra Bright White, you will still notice a big difference. (One word of caution when painting textured ceilings. Paint over one spot and move on. If you go back over that spot while it is still wet it can pull the texture down.)

Tutorial for painting ceilings like a pro


  • Valspar Flat Ultra Bright White Latex Paint
    (this is the brightest white we have found. Valspar is sold only at Lowe’s)
  • Latex Primer
  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Roller extension rod
  • Edger
  • ScotchBlue Painters tape
  • Tarp
  • Fine grit sanding block
  • Car Wash sized sponge and bucket
  • medium size flat artist’s brush

Begin by covering every bare inch of floor with plastic or thick canvas tarps. And cover any furniture left in the room (although you should try to remove everything from a room when you paint, it is just easier that way, trust me.)

Remove blades on a ceiling fan, simply unscrew the arms from the motor:

Then cover your light fixture with a plastic bag and painter’s tape.

Next, apply painter’s tape around the top of the walls of your room. If you are going to re-paint your walls after the ceilings, you can skip this step.

Start with the primer (a must for newly scraped ceilings, but not necessary for previously painted smooth ceilings).

1. Use your edger around the perimeter of your room. I like this handy-dandy edger that has a hole for the extension pole (especially helpful if you have high ceilings or neck issues.)

2. After the perimeter of the ceiling is done, edge around any light fixtures or vents.

3. Reach for your roller. I like to work in 5′ sections. Start by rolling out a letter “W”. Then roll back and forth, up and down and in random directions until you have that section of ceiling covered.

This will insure that you don’t have racing stripes on your ceiling.

4. Continue working next to the section you just finished. Try to work into the previous section while the paint is still wet. Otherwise, let that section dry before trying to roll into tacky half-dry paint.

5. Allow the primer to dry, then lightly sand your ceiling to remove any specks that got into the paint. Wipe the ceiling with a damp sponge.

Now repeat steps 1-5 using the ultra bright white paint.

Let your ceiling dry and then add a second coat of the ultra bright white (yes, definitely use two coats to leave your ceiling looking like it was painted by a pro! Don’t skimp.)

When you are done, remove the painter’s tape and pull out a small flat artists brush.

Pour some wall color paint into a small cup (I like to keep spare paint for each room in small jelly containers or jars. That way if one of my boys (adult and child alike) should happen to mar a wall, I can fix it in a jiffy.) Use the flat brush to create a smooth line at the top of your wall. Then finish by touching up any ceiling spots that were missed.

Take a look at the difference in our office! The top picture shows the room right after the ceiling was scraped. During the day!

And this next picture was taken of the same windows (different angle) at night!

Wow, brighten my world! View more pictures of this room HERE.

Okay, so I really like the ultra bright smooth white ceilings, but I did come across this gorgeous ceiling over at Not Just a Housewife, that would also make you swoon over your room if you were to try it. Check out Stacy’s tutorial HERE.

P.s. If you are renting, please don’t despair. I will have some tips that don’t involve painting your home.

I leave you with a glimpse of hope for those of you snowed in this week:

Daffodils Popping Through the Ground
Daphne Buds Getting Ready to Sprout

I just took those pictures yesterday, February 2nd! I live in Raleigh, NC, so thankfully spring is on its way. (Don’t hate me.)

5-Piece Nonstick Coated Paint Tray Set

00500 - Premium Paint Edger 00500 – Premium Paint Edger[635870] UPC: 022384005006 10L x 7.63W x 9.5H 0.2 LB 0.42 Cubes

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  1. l
    l says:

    your ideas are so helpful. We have an old house and we are little by little making it look 2011. Our old kitchen ceiling 4 ft floresent lights just went bye-bye-. So we had the job to paint the ceiling. We began with putty an sanded the cracks then we purchased a quart of Zinsser primer sealer stain killer and went over the area where the lights were. There were 2 4 footers on the ceiling. Then we patched other areas sanded and put zinsser on. You can not tell lights were once there 28 yrs. because the electric box and hole was too big for the smaller track lights. We went on Lowe’s web site and found track lights with a flush mount bronze base with 3 tiffany lamp shades in a track light unit. We put 2 of those up. then we turned the lighting to where we needed them in the kitchen. What a difference! Then we put in a new lighting in the dinning room in a goldish brown color and it just flows. You walk from the kitchen over to the dinning rm . So paint or new lighting makes a difference. We are on a tight budget so we plan out our small project one month or longer out and do one project. We are getting there! Thanks for all the tips! Great web site

  2. maroion
    maroion says:

    Hi, I am still scraping my ceilings, I lightly spray them with water and it comes right off with a plastic putty knife. my question to you is what color is the wall paint, love the color.

  3. Lois@frugaldecormom
    Lois@frugaldecormom says:

    Hey Brittany–I finally got the post up about scraping the ceilings in our home. Drop by when you can and check it out!

  4. Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal
    Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal says:

    We have popcorn in certain parts of our house. I may try doing just the hallway ourselves. The familyroom has it but it's a cathedral ceiling. I considered covering it up. But it doesn't bug me as much as the lower hallways. Did you have them resurfaced after they scraped them?

  5. Ali
    Ali says:

    Wooo look at you! SEXAY!! I am digging your look, pretty much similar to me lol. I always wondered what the point was to the textured ceilings, they are ugly! Thankfully we have smooth ceilings in our house now. Great post! Oh and my sister lives down in NC too so I get to hear all about the nice weather….too bad I am stuck in Ohio! Enjoy it! =)

  6. Colleen @ MuralMaker&More
    Colleen @ MuralMaker&More says:

    Wonderful, fabulous post! Having painted a ton of ceilings, I can attest that these are great tips. Oh, btw, your wardrobe? Same as me, Girlfriend! I used to try and wear 'un'painted clothes (which are few and far between now) but a faux finish friend says she gets more biz wearing her work clothes out than by passing out biz cards!

  7. Becky@Organizing Made Fun
    Becky@Organizing Made Fun says:

    Goodness, I just did a post on this VERY topic last month! I had half our house ceilings scraped with the rest to get done in another month. Check it out:


    And her was my "how to not paint them":


    I'm now almost a pro, too! I can't believe how much higher are living room ceiling seems! It's quite remarkable!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

    P.S. I'm in So. Cal and my daffodils are in full bloom as of the first week of January…weird, huh?

  8. That One Girl
    That One Girl says:

    Ooooh PHG!! I can't WAIT to take the popcorn off of the ceilings!!!! It started to fall in the kitchen so I took the majority of it down, and has started to fall in other places around the house as well. We're really trying to hold out on major renovations on our house until we get our debt paid off. (Which is about another year and a half away!!! *sigh*) Can I live with brick red and chocolate brown living room walls that long?! Lord help me!
    We haven't seen the sprouts yet down here in Jacksonville, but it shouldn't be too much longer now!! 😀

  9. Momma Rhyne
    Momma Rhyne says:

    Haha. You are awesome. I love your outfit. I've wanted to do the same, my outfits are VERY similar to yours. For gifts people are always buying me "clothes that don't have paint on them". That doesnt' last long. Love your WIWW!!!

  10. Lois@frugaldecormom
    Lois@frugaldecormom says:

    Hubby and I scraped all of the ceilings in the house while I was 7 months pregnant! HUGE MASSIVE MESSY NECK AND BACK BREAKING WORK! But, we saved a ton of money doing it ourselves. The difference is amazing! I'll have to share some pictures of the mess it made and how it all turned out. Thanks for sharing your painting info. I need to get me one of those edging tools.

  11. The Pennington Point
    The Pennington Point says:

    Just the encouragement I needed! I've been going round and round about scraping the popcorn ceilings in the old part of our house. I hate them, but have been dreading the mess and the neck pain. You've convinced me. I need to hire someone else to do it. Did you have the scraped ceilings re-textured with an orange peel texture? Or just leave them smooth?

    It was so nice to meet you at Blissdom. You are as lovely in person as you seem on your blog. What a treat! Lisa~

  12. Kathy@ Gone North
    Kathy@ Gone North says:

    Don't hate you, BUT do envy you… : )
    SOOoooo much snow here, it will be a long time before we see anything popping up from the ground….
    Ceilings are BEAUTIFUL!!! I just said to husband that I would like to take down the texture & just paint & his reply was. "Do you KNOW HOW MUCH WORK that will entail"!!!!!
    I am putting it on the list though… : )
    ( And nice outfit…. very fitting & appropriate for your day & comfy looking : )


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  1. […] Valspar Flat Ultra White for maximum light reflection. (Read more about bright white ceilings HERE.) So, unless you are painting ceilings, don’t use flat, it is too chalky and hard to […]

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