How to Paint a Graphic, Modern Kids' Room Ceiling Design

Give a kids' room a fun makeover with a few cans of paint. This graphic ceiling design looks cool and is so easy to do. Here's how.
Painted Ceiling Treatment

Bold Painted Ceiling Treatment

Painting the walls? Why stop there? This graphic ceiling design adds interest to a kids' room.

Painting the walls? Why stop there? This graphic ceiling design adds interest to a kids' room.

Children's rooms are great places to experiment with both pattern and color. While traditional grown-up spaces may not be the best choice for covering walls with bold hues or incorporating strong graphic elements, kids' spaces offer a blank canvas to do pretty much anything. And of all places within a kid's room, the ceiling often offers the largest, most unexpected surface on which to paint.

Not just any ceiling will work. Flat, smooth ceilings made of drywall or plaster are the best candidates. In fact, it is best for the ceiling to lack in any ornamentation or architectural interest, since a painted ceiling graphic can provide the architectural detail that the space otherwise lacks.

In order to create a graphic painted wall treatment, the design must be easily executed with painter's tape and latex paint. For this reason, stick with geometric patterns that have straight lines and that are scaled proportionately to keep the design from becoming too busy. One of the easiest designs to paint is a radiating rectangle, something often associated with 1970s supergraphics. Follow these step-by-step instructions to add fun, energetic shape and color to your own kids' room.

Materials Needed:

  • three to five different paint colors
  • paintbrush
  • detail brush
  • roller
  • roller sleeve
  • tape measure
  • chalk line
  • painter's tape
  • pencil
  • paint pan
  • pan liner
  • notepad
  • ladder
  • drop cloth

Measure Ceiling

Use a tape measure to determine the length and width of ceiling, then mark dimensions down in notepad with pencil.

Measuring the Ceiling

Measure Ceiling

The ceiling is measured in preparation for a new design.

Sketch Design

With the ceiling dimensions in mind, create a free-hand sketch of the desired design onto paper. This will serve as a reference for painting the ceiling.

Ceiling Design Plans

Sketching Your Ceiling Plan

Designer Brian Patrick Flynn plans the look of the new ceiling.

Assign Paint Colors To Sketch

Assign a color to each portion of the design by marking the paper sketch with a small dot of paint (Image 1). Cover floor surface with drop cloths.

Ceiling Design on Paper

Plans for New Ceiling Design

A blueprint for the design of a new ceiling shows the paint colors that designer Brian Patrick Flynn plans to use.

Measure and Mark Each Rectangular Band on Ceiling

Starting from the outside and working your way inward, measure the proper width for each rectangle with tape measure, marking only the four corners of each rectangle.

Mark areas for painting.

Measure and Mark Rectangular Bands

In step 5, starting from the outside and working your way inward, measure the proper width for each rectangle with tape measure, marking only the four corners of each rectangle.

Snap Chalk Line

Once all four corners of each rectangle are marked with a pencil, have a friend assist you with snapping a chalk line.

Making a Snap Chalk Line

Create a Chalk Line

A snap chalk line will get your design lines in place.

Examine Marked Ceiling

Once all chalk lines are complete, stand back to ensure the proper design has been outlined.

Prepping the Ceiling for Paint

Ceiling Ready for Paint

A ceiling is prepared for paint by blocking areas off with snap chalk lines.

Mark Each Rectangular Band

Add a small dot of each paint color to its corresponding place in the design to serve as a guide once painting begins.

Protect Walls

Add painter's tape along the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling. This will ensure paint does not drip onto walls while the ceiling is being painted.

Tape Off, Then Paint Every Other Rectangular Band

Add painter's tape to the inside edge of every other rectangular band, then paint inside the taped portion of every other band. For smaller, more narrow bands, apply paint with paintbrush. Use a roller for wider bands. NOTE: This will make the painting process more efficient and ensure straight lines.

Ceiling Paint Project

Tape off Areas Before Painting

In this step, areas are taped off before painting to avoid overlapping color.

Peel Back Tape And Examine Lines

Once paint is dry, slowly pull back tape to ensure perfectly straight lines have been created. TIP: If paint bleeding occurs, simply touch up any bleed marks with a detail brush.

Reposition Tape and Paint

Once every other band is completely dry, reposition tape to the outside of every unpainted band (Image 1), then paint within taped areas (Image 2).

Remove Tape

Once paint is dry, remove painter's tape. Enjoy, and call the kids in the room to marvel at your handiwork.

Painted Ceiling Treatment

Bold Painted Ceiling Treatment

A ceiling painted with bold rectangular shapes of black, white and gray accent a child's room. A bunk bed is below.

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