What are the Types of Paint Used for Ceilings?


One of the challenges that come with painting a ceiling is choosing what type of paint to use. Paints available in the market are formulated differently. Some of them are best used on walls, while others are made specifically for ceilings. When it comes to painting a ceiling, choosing the right type of paint is vital in order to achieve a smooth, even finish that will last a long time. With so many options available, it is sometimes overwhelming to pick the best type of paint for your ceiling.

Since the parts of your home vary in temperature and micro-climates, you may need to use different types of paint, regardless of the surface you want to paint. For example, you may need to consider the humidity levels in a bathroom compared to a kitchen in order for you to come up with the ideal type of ceiling paint. If you need help, we are here to guide you. In this post, we are giving you more information about the types of paint used for ceilings.

What Makes a Great Ceiling Paint?

man painting the ceiling

Ceiling paint is among the most underrated but important parts of a home’s interior design. The color and type of paint are something that can make or break the overall appeal of the space. Therefore, before we talk about the different types of paint for ceilings, let us first understand the characteristics that make ceiling paint great.

Stain-Resistant:  Most of the time, ceilings are exposed to moisture and airborne particles, which may cause stains over time. Therefore, great ceiling paint should be able to resist stains and be easy to clean without leaving any discoloration or marks.

Hiding Power:  Sometimes, ceilings may have imperfections, such as cracks or uneven textures, that should be covered up. Therefore, good ceiling paint should be able to have good hiding power and cover these imperfections with just one to two coats.

Low Odor:  The odor from the paint is unpleasant, and it can linger in the room long after painting. Therefore, good ceiling paint should have a low odor or no odor at all so that it will be easier to breathe during and after paint application.

Easy Application and Quick Drying Time:  A great ceiling paint should be easy to apply and have a good flow and consistency for smooth and even coverage. It is also best for ceiling paint to dry quickly in order to avoid dripping or running, especially when applied to difficult ceiling angles and locations.

Durable: Ceilings are difficult to reach for repaints or touch-ups, particularly homes with high ceilings. Therefore, great ceiling paint needs to be long-lasting and can resist fading, cracking, and peeling.

Different Types of Paint for Ceilings

man pouring paint into the tray

Only a few painting products announce their intentions and specific uses head-on. When you visit a hardware store, you will notice that most paints are not location-specific. Therefore, if you plan to paint your ceiling, it is important to factor in where you are going to paint in order to get the best one for your needs. To provide you some ideas of the available options, below are the basic types of paint that you can use for ceilings:

Flat Paint

Among the many different types of paint in the market, flat paint is known to have the most pigment. That is why it is often called “concealer paint” and “matte paint.” It is the most recommended type of paint for ceilings because it is non-reflective. It means that the paint will soak up any light that attempts to reflect or direct at it. In addition to that, flat, matte paint is relatively easier to apply compared to other types of paint finish. Plus, it is the cheapest option in the market.

Flat paint is ideal for ceilings and walls that have scratches, holes, bumps, and water stains, as it can conceal imperfections with just a few rolls. It is also best to be used for low-traffic rooms and has a high source of light, such as in a personal home workspace and dining room.

Gloss Paint

This type of paint comes in different sheens that vary from highly shiny and light-reflecting to semi-gloss. Gloss paint can create a beautiful lacquered ceiling, and it is usually used as a specialty finish. It can provide your ceiling with a glamorous glass effect. However, it is also the most challenging to apply out of all finishes. Using gloss paint is great for accents, and it is better applied on accentuating décor pieces than on the ceiling.

Eggshell Paint

Eggshell paint features a slight sheen, and it can be ideal to be used as ceiling paint for several reasons. One is that it is easier to clean compared to flat paint, making it great for kitchen and bathroom ceilings. Aside from that, it also provides a low sheen, which makes it a bit flat in finish, but with a little gloss, which is not too distracting.

Satin Paint

Satin paint finish features a low sheen, but it is more reflective compared to the eggshell paint finish. This type of paint is best used in spaces with high humidity, like in the bathroom, basement, and laundry room.

Water-Based Paints

Water-based paints are also commonly used for painting ceilings. They are very easy to apply, quick to dry, and have a low odor. They are also easy to clean up with just soap and water. Most water-based paints are also resistant to fading and yellowing. They are also environmentally friendly. However, you need to note that using water-based paints for your ceiling may require multiple coats for complete coverage. Also, they may not be as durable as oil-based paints.

Oil-Based Paints

Compared to water-based paints, oil-based ones are more durable and can provide a smooth and glossy finish to your ceiling. Aside from that, they are also stain and moisture-resistant. But oil-based paints have a longer drying time and need paint thinner for clean-up. It is a great choice if you want a smooth and glossy finish that will last for a long time. However, keep in mind that oil-based paints have a strong odor, and it contains harmful fumes.

Specialty Paints

Specialty paints are those textured paints and mold-resistant paints. Textured paints are often used to create a unique look on the ceiling, providing it with stunning ceiling texture. Mold-resistant paints, on the other hand, are used in spaces with high moisture or humidity. The advantages and disadvantages of using specialty paints for ceilings depend on the specific type of paint that you wish to use. Also, if you decide to use specialty paint for your ceiling, it is better to have a professional painter in order to apply the paint correctly and evenly.

Best Ceiling Paint Colors

woman choosing paint color from the swatch catalog

After learning about the different types of paint for ceilings, you might also be wondering about the best paint colors that you can choose from. Most of the time, ceilings are painted white. However, there are also a lot of other colors that might work well for your ceiling. Below are examples of the best ceiling paint colors to give you more ideas:


White is the most popular ceiling paint color. A lot of designers and homeowners like it because it reflects light, provides an illusion of depth, and is easy to use and touch up. Therefore, if your goal is to make a room appear brighter and more spacious, painting the ceiling white is a great idea.


Yellow is a color that is hard to ignore. Contrasting white, which is intended to fade from view, yellow pops out and makes itself noticeable. This paint color is perfect for ceilings that are stylish. It is a great choice if you want to draw attention to your beautiful ceiling. However, when you choose to use yellow paint on your ceiling, it is better to match it up with walls that are more subdued, such as gray or another neutral color. This way, they will highlight the yellow ceiling more.


If you have a very big and spacious room, painting the ceiling brown can be ideal. It’s because a brown ceiling can make a room feel smaller and more inward-oriented. It helps make a room feel cozier. It is a great choice for the ceilings in bedrooms and home theaters as they can benefit from the insular ambiance that the color brown can give a room.


Painting your ceiling blue can evoke the feeling of a blue sky. Dark blue may feel oppressive, but light blue can help visually open up a room. You can also use white crown molding, baseboards, or chair railing to match a blue ceiling in order to create a room with a stately, traditional ambiance. For bedrooms, you can push the blue into darker tones to induce the feeling of a nighttime sky.


While white is the safest ceiling paint color, red is on the opposite end of the scale. This is best for homeowners who are open to pursuing a striking, dramatic, and confident feeling. Painting a ceiling red can bring life to a dull room, particularly if there is a lot of natural light entering that room. Red ceilings are great with off-white or gray walls. Also, not all red ceilings need to be fire-engine-red. You can also opt for other red tones, such as burgundy, for a more understated effect.


A room with a wood ceiling feels more relaxing. It is a great choice for living rooms or for master bedrooms. It is also a great way to cover up a ceiling that has minor imperfections. You can also stain the wood to give it the richer appearance of hardwood.


A gray ceiling may also work well in a room or two in your home. Gray color can differentiate a room from neighboring rooms. It provides a calmer and more sophisticated feeling. Plus, it is a spectrum of tones that range from barely there to almost black. Gray also has undertones of colors like greens and blues.

What to Consider When Choosing Ceiling Paint

woman choosing paint at the hardware

Picking the right type of paint for your home’s ceilings is indeed a challenging task, particularly if you are not familiar with the different types of paint available. But aside from that, there are also other important factors that you need to consider in order to choose the best ceiling paint. Below are some of them:

Type of Ceiling

The type of ceiling you have at home can impact the type of paint that you should choose. For instance, if you have a popcorn ceiling in your room, it is better to use textured paint for it. Smooth ceilings, on the other hand, can work well with any type of paint.

Level of Moisture

If the ceiling you are going to paint is located in an area with high moisture, such as the kitchen or bathroom, it is important to pick a ceiling paint that is mold and mildew resistant. This way, it can help prevent growth and discoloration.


As we’ve mentioned earlier, the color of your ceiling can impact the overall look of a room. Light-colored ceilings can make a room appear brighter and bigger, while dark-colored ceilings can add depth and drama to any room.


The finish of your paint may also affect the overall look of the ceiling. A flat finish can hide a ceiling’s imperfections, while a gloss or semi-gloss finish can give a more reflective and durable surface.

Ease of Application

There are some types of paint that need special tools or techniques for application, while others can be applied by using a simple brush or roller. Therefore, you also need to consider your level of experience and comfort with painting when choosing a type of paint for your ceiling. Make sure that what you are choosing is easy for you to apply.

Environmental Impact

It is also important to consider the environmental impact of ceiling paint. Try to search for ceiling paints with low-volatile organic compounds. It’s because paint with harmful chemicals can negatively affect the air quality in your home or room.


It is also important to consider your budget when choosing paint for your ceiling. Note that paint can vary greatly in price. Some high-end paints may offer added benefits. But there are also more budget-friendly options that can provide excellent results.


Choosing the right type of paint for your ceiling can make a significant difference in the appearance and durability of your paint job. There are various paint types that you can use for ceilings, and the right one depends on what type of ceiling you have and where they are located. Just make sure that you choose high-quality paints that are easy to apply, quick to dry, and can last for a long time. We hope this post helped you learn more about the different types of paint for ceilings, and may it guide you in achieving a beautiful and long-lasting finish for your ceiling to enhance the overall look of your space.

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