Can I Use Wall Paint On The Ceiling?

Most of us have been there…  We set out to paint a small ceiling (maybe in a bedroom or bathroom) and realize we do not have an official can of ‘ceiling paint’ – or at least enough to finish the job.  Scouring the work bench, we come across that old can of flat white wall paint, and wonder… is there really a difference?

Well, the answer is YES, but the differences may surprise you!

To begin, it is acceptibly common – especially in smaller rooms – for people to carry their wall paint onto the ceiling, which can actually produce a nice homogenous look.  Even darker wall colors can successfully be carried up, provided you make compensation for the increased absorption of ambient light.  Men particularly seem to be amenable to the darkness, with rooms such as home offices or ‘man caves.’

Where this option begins to break down is when you are desiring that pillowy white ceiling, but believing you can achieve the same effect with common wall flat.

To begin with, flat is NOT flat… at least not completely.  A little-known distinction between wall & ceiling paints is that even flat wall paint carries a reflective sheen!  This is to help its surface withstand touching, wiping, and light cleaning (more prevalent on walls than ceilings).  If you were to paint a small patch of flat wall paint onto a ceiling previously painted with ‘ceiling white,’ you indeed would notice an ‘eggshell’ reflectivity to the wall flat.

Also, ceiling paints will often contain small amounts of dark tint, which allow it to compensate for the extremes of daytime natural light and nighttime artificial lighting – lessening the effects of both reflectivity and shadowing.

Jason and FamilyWith painting, it’s not always a matter of “right & wrong” as much as achieving the initial effect you envisioned.  But understanding the differences before the first brush stroke can save you precious time and money, and leave you smiling at the final result.


Jason Dalla Verde is the founder/operator of Dalla Verde Construction.

To request more info -OR- a FREE estimate, click HERE or call DVC at 570.392.9779.

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