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Painting the Bathroom Ceiling

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This past summer, we did a renovation of our master bathroom.  You can see the full details HERE.  The renovation was floor to ceiling. Here’s what it looked like before.  

As you can see, it’s a small, regular bathroom.  It’s not one of these huge train-station-ish master bathrooms.  Since it’s not big, I wanted to make the most of the space and I wanted to pay attention to the details.  The ceiling was painted a creamy off-white, which would’ve looked grungy against all of the bright white in the new space.

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I went to my local True Value hardware and bought a can of bright white EasyCare ceiling paint.

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And I painted the ceiling before we installed the new tile, vanity, toilet, etc., so I wouldn’t have to worry about splatters, which just happens when you paint a ceiling.

Warning – The process pictures in this post have terrible lighting!  This was before we installed the skylight tube, so I just had some incandescent lighting to work with!

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If you’ve ever painted a ceiling before, you know it’s tough on the shoulders, arms and neck!  An extension pole definitely helps with that.

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The fact that our bathroom was small was a good thing when it came time to paint the ceiling!  I did need two coats, even with white on cream, but they went on quickly and I allowed about 2 hours of dry time between the two coats.  

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So, why did it take two coats to paint white over cream?  I have found in all of my years of painting that white is the trickiest color to work with when it comes to coverage.  Just expect two coats when you’re painting with white and be pleasantly surprised if you don’t need that second coat, but most of the time you will.

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If possible, it’s best to paint the ceiling before the walls, so you can be messy and drips aren’t a big deal.  I cut in around the perimeter of the room, lighting and the fan with a 2″ sash brush.

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 Ceilings aren’t the most fun to paint.  They aren’t glamorous to photograph, but it’s the kind of thing that can detract from a beautiful space.  As you can see, a bright white, matte ceiling blends into the room, letting the marble, fabric, trim, etc. shine.

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For more paint tips and inspiration, stop by your local True Value for advice or visit them on Facebook and Pinterest.

I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

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Comments

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi MMS!! Love the bathroom, especially the detail work like the cornice in front of the tub and the way you guys covered your heating elements. I’m wondering if your husband would be willing to share details on the conversion of the old dresser to vanity. I love the look and Craigs list is always full of these gorgeous old buffets….but I’m bewildered as to how to keep the drawers functional. Thanks for a great blog, I look at it every day!

  2. Becky Neal says:

    Love the bathroom! So I got the fabric and made my family room curtains like the ones in your dining room and now I am in love with the fabric in your bathroom…..what is the name of it please?

    I love everything you do!

  3. Lola Fields says:

    Just wondering what you did to the tiny closet at the end of the tub? My daughters bathroom is the very same and she is going to redo it but the closet is a issue.

  4. Gosh–seeing the finished bathroom again just makes me realize what a beauty it is! You are right–it doesn’t have to be huge to be splendid. Focus on the details. And as always your accessories make the space. Well, that and the gorgeous tile, fabulous fabric, wonderful trim….. :)

  5. Talitha says:

    Love before, during and after pictures!!! My favorite kind of posts. See, this is why we need you, I didn’t even know such a thing as ceiling paint exists! Ha, I’m probably the exception, or let’s hope so :-)
    I do have a question about painting ceilings. We’re not from the US, and when we arrived here, we thought the ceilings looked very strange, with a hideous flower-like pattern. It must have been applied with a broom or something. I was hoping that you or anyone else has experience with these kind of ceilings and could tell me how to paint those (and preferably get rid of the pattern…)?

    • Marianne in Mo. says:

      Tabitha, they do this to avoid having to do a fine finish to the surface most of the time. I’ve heard the only way to do away with it is sanding it off or covering it with new drywall. To paint these surfaces, use a long nap roller, and be prepared to get splattered! Or seal up the room and spray it with a paint sprayer. Hope this helps!

      • Marianne in Mo. says:

        Sorry, auto – correct changed your name Talitha! Apologies!

      • Hope I’m not butting in here…..
        but I have read that those decorated ceilings can have asbestos or some such nasty stuff in the popcorn/decorative plaster. Be sure to wear respirator or mask if you sand the ceiling.

        I’ve watched an evening of a TV program with a real estate person named Egypt. I’m amazed that people with comparatively little money to spend on a house will shun a ‘human-sized’ bathroom. They want those train station bathrooms!!!! Bet they don’t think about how much cleaning they will do with so much more tile and so forth. Not to mention cleaning an acre of mirrors. The mind boggles. White would not do for me, I admit it. But yours looks beautiful, Marian. If I could live with white, I’d be copying you this weekend!!! Well done!!!

        • Carla says:

          I think big bathrooms are cold and I mean literally. No one wants to be cold when taking a bath.

      • Kelly T says:

        Actually back in the day they used it as decoration for the ceiling. My Dad was a painter and it was all the rage to do these half circles in a scalloped pattern all over the ceiling. Today they just spray the stuff on to cover up the imperfections like you said, saves them time and money…headache for the homeowner especially when you try to get a good cut line. Your bathroom is gorgeous!!

    • I have found the easiest, albeit messy, way to get rid of popcorn or textured ceilings is to use a spray bottle of plain water and a plastic scraper. I put plastic down and work in small sections, wetting the textured ceiling and waiting a few moments, then carefully scraping it off with a wide plastic trowel or scraper. You can clean the residual texture off with a damp sponge. I did all of the ceilings in our 1896 Victorian with very good results.

  6. The only worse than having to paint a ceiling is having to paint a ceiling with that oh so ugly popcorn finish on it. What a mess.
    I think your new bathroom looks very elegant and somewhat retro yet so new and fresh. It must make you happy every time you walk by it. Well done.

  7. aimee says:

    love it! Believe it or not my master bath is smaller than the one you are posting about lol! Any way how is the detail you put on the tub working out? Is it all done in wood? I think its a great idea and would love to do that to the kids/ guest bathroom. It gets a lot of use so i’m wondering if the wood detail will work.

    blessings,
    aimee

  8. I really like it when folks come together and share opinions.
    Great website, stick with it!

  9. Marian, you just reminded me of the job I have to do in my own house that I have been postponing and postponing – painting the kitchen ceiling. Thanks so much! :-)
    Unfortunately, I do have to deal with kitchen cabinets and lighting already in place, so it’s going to be a tough job.

  10. Hi, Marian! I adore this bathroom and your blog! I’m surprised you used a matte (flat?) finish on the ceiling paint, however. I use flat throughout the house, but never in bathrooms. Aren’t you worried about moisture?

  11. Looks lovely, Marian!

  12. Wow! Your ceiling looks fabulous. I have scraped the popcorn from a number of ceilings in my house. I have a few questions. Since your ceiling was already painted, did you have to use a primer? When I painted my living room ceiling I had some roller lines. I started with a coat of primer because it was just the drywall and then I painted 2coats of paint. . Do you think I need another coat of paint? This is the only room with the lines. You can’t see them if you look up but they show in the distance in certain sun light. I would appreciate any thoughts.

    Thanks!

  13. Arleen says:

    Hi. Love the bathroom. Did you do the front of the tub yourself! I love it and would like to do the same. Is the Beadboard one piece with strips of wood to frame it? How did you get it to stick to the tub?

  14. I am commenting on your blog to win the milk paint, I liked you on Facebook, Followed you on Pinterest and Instagram. Tried to follow you on Google but couldn’t figure out how, :/. Anyway, Hope I win! Teri

  15. Irene says:

    Lol! Love your description of MY train-station-ish master bath. I actually have a train depot bench in my guest bath, as it’s pretty large as well. Love your bathroom! It looks so bright, white and beautiful!

  16. It is so beautiful! You always have that special touch!

  17. I’m also working on a small bathroom. Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Laurie says:

    Your remodel is a great example tightening up the focal point of the bathroom–the bath/shower area. You covered up what was unsightly, the hardware inside the shower and the open space over the shower curtain rail with your print curtains and valance and drew the eye to the marble walls at the same time. Now I’m gonna read about the paint!

  19. Lorna Erickson says:

    I love the way it turned out! And would love to see how you made the valance over the tub to conceal the shower curtain. It’s so pretty!

  20. Talitha says:

    Thank you ladies for your replies and suggestions! I appreciate it.

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