Can You Use Ceiling Paint On Walls?

If you’re about to paint your home’s interior, you may be wondering whether or not you can re-use some of the paint you already have. Can you use ceiling paint on walls? What about vice versa? Are the paints interchangeable?

You can use ceiling paint on interior walls of your home if you want a seamless, flat finish. There are many advantages to using ceiling paint. Alternatively, you can also use ceiling paint as a primer for walls, doors, and trim if you follow it with a higher gloss topcoat.

In this article, we’ll explain how and when to use ceiling paint on interior walls. Understanding the differences between the paints and their properties helps you know when to use each.

Can You Use Ceiling Paint On Walls

Can You Use Ceiling Paint On Walls?

You can use ceiling paint on interior walls. That said, the result is better when you use ceiling paint as a primer. Either technique will save you time and money on your painting project. Ceiling paint for your walls has a few other advantages, including:

  • Durability
  • High viscosity
  • Limited colors
  • Ability to hide wall marks

Ceiling Paint vs. Wall Paint: Key Points

Understanding the primary differences between ceiling and wall paint helps you know which circumstances call for which paint type. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of these features.

Ceiling and Wall Paint: What’s the Difference? Ceiling Paint Wall Paint
Viscosity High Low
Coverage High, a single layer is often plenty Low, 2-3 coats needed
Finish Flat sheen Eggshell, pearl, or satin
Colors Limited, often white Lots of options
Durability Highly durable Semi and high gloss wall paints are less durable
Price Cheap Average

What’s the Difference Between Ceiling and Wall Paint?

Ceiling paint vs wall paint

Here, we’ll dive into the differences between ceiling and wall paint more. Use this information to help you determine the most suitable option for your project.


The most significant difference in the paints is their viscosity or thickness. Because ceiling paint offers high viscosity, it’s thicker. This feature makes it adhere better when it’s applied. The paint has more solids, meaning it won’t splatter or drip as much when you use a roller. Ceiling paint goes on much smoother for this reason.

The viscosity also makes ceiling paint ideal as a primer for walls, trim, and doors. Any high-traffic area of the home or place that’s developed mildew stains from poor ventilation is easy to cover.


The coverage is much better from a single layer of paint than the two or three coats that wall paint requires. A higher coverage allows you to hide scruffs and other wall marks. You can also use less paint to get the job done.


Most ceiling paints have a flat, sheen finish. This means the paint has little to no reflective properties. A reflective or high gloss finish would call too much attention to the ceiling. Comparatively, flat white paint looks excellent with all ceiling types, from popcorn to boxed ceilings. Modern interior design often uses flat paints on the ceiling and wall in an office setting.

Wall paints are typically an eggshell finish. Eggshell is similar to flat, but it has a touch of reflection. The paint doesn’t tend to have any sheen, and it will not bond to a semi-gloss paint. However, they often come in satin or pearl finishes as well. These finishes provide the sheen of a cleanable surface, allowing you to scrub off marks or handprints easier than flat finishes.

Flat ceiling paint pairs well with flat, eggshell, pearl, or satin wall paints. If you want the same sheen and color on your walls as the ceiling, you could extend the ceiling paint onto the walls. Whatever you do, never use a semi-gloss sheen on the ceiling for aesthetic purposes.

Color Options

Ceilings tend to be uniform and undecorated, so ceiling paint does not come in a wide range of color options. You’ll notice ceiling paint colors are more limited than wall paints. However, you can have the paint mixed at your local paint shop (or do so yourself) to achieve the color you want.


Flat is a typical ceiling paint finish because they offer much higher durability than semi or high-gloss paints. If your walls are prone to scratches or scuffs, flat paint along the wall’s surface can boost the appearance for a longer time.


Using ceiling paint on your walls could save you money. The paint is around 15 to 20% cheaper than most interior paints, on average. Using ceiling paint as a primer could also save you from needing to buy an additional product if you’re re-painting the entire interior.

The coverage and ability to hide wall marks in a single coat also means you’re spending less money than you would on wall paint. However, some ceiling paints can cost more than latex wall paints.

When to Use Ceiling Paint on Walls

You can utilize ceiling paint on the walls if you want the same color and sheen for both. It’s an excellent option if your rooms have noticeable:

  • Stains
  • Scratches
  • Scuff marks
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Handprints
  • Cooking splatter

Although ceiling paint is not ideal for covering all stain types, the coverage and viscosity give the paint superior blocking advantages.

Ceiling paint is also ideal in certain rooms, such as:

  • Living rooms
  • Dining rooms
  • Home offices

The flat, matte finish helps hide wall imperfections like dents, holes, or patchwork. You also don’t tend to notice any contrast between the newly touched-up paint and the old wall surface. Avoid the bathroom or kitchen, as these rooms are messy and better for latex paint.

Can You Use Ceiling Paint as a Primer?

Yes, you can use flat ceiling paint as a primer for walls, doors, and trim. The paint is typically easy to sand so that you can apply a top coat of paint in a higher gloss. Doors and trim mainly require a semi or high gloss paint, which is better at allowing you to clean the surface regularly.

Is Flat White Paint the Same as Ceiling Paint?

Both flat white paint and ceiling paint has a matte finish or sheen, which provides a smooth, uniform texture and appearance. You can use flat, white interior latex paint as ceiling paint, even if it’s not labeled as such. However, ceiling paint is a smoother process due to it’s ability to produce fewer splatter and drips. Ceiling paint also covers imperfections better.

Can You Use Wall Paint on Ceilings?

You can paint your ceilings with wall paint. However, regular wall paint is thinner. The lower viscosity could mean more messes and drips. Make sure the paint sheen is the same for both the ceiling and walls for the best results.

Can I Mix Ceiling Paint With Wall Paint?

If the ceiling and wall paint are the same type, you can mix them. Mixing the paints allows you to alter the color, which is handy because ceiling paints are often white. Make sure the type and finish are the same. Flat latex paints are the most common. Perform a test before painting your entire project to check for any problems.

How to Use Ceiling Paint on Walls

How to Use Ceiling Paint on Walls

To use ceiling paint on the walls, follow the steps below. You may also use flat ceiling paint as a primer for interior wall or door paint. In this case, you substitute the ceiling paint for the primer and complete the rest of the painting process as usual.

Step 1: Prep the Room

Before you paint, prepare the room by removing the furniture, fixtures, or anything you don’t want damaged. Turn the power off if you remove ceiling fans or light fixtures. Clean the ceiling and walls to remove any dust and grime next, as paint doesn’t adhere well to dirty surfaces.

Finally, check the ceiling and walls for imperfections like cracks or holes. You can use caulk or spackle to repair these issues quickly.

Lay down a tarp or drop cloth for paint spatter and collect your materials. Make sure to grab your safety goggles and open the windows for ventilation. Most paints have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that dissipate as the paint dries. However, it’s best to play it safe.

Painter’s tape may also help you keep unwanted paint from your windows, doors, and trim. No need to tape off the ceiling from the wall if you’re using the same paint.

Step 2: Use Primer

Cover the ceiling and walls with primer to extend the lifespan of your paint job. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, paying close attention to drying time.

Step 3: Start Painting the Ceiling

If you’re painting the ceiling and walls with the same paint, start at the top and work your way down. Paint the ceiling first, then move to the walls and trim. This way, any splatter or drips are covered by the new wall paint. Work in grid-like sections to produce an even coat. Avoid rolling the paint directly over your head.

Step 4: Cut the Corners

Grab a paintbrush to cut the corners or paint the edges where the ceiling meets the wall. Check over any spots you may have missed with the roller as you painted the ceiling during this step.

Step 5: Move to the Walls

Use your roller to paint the walls next. Continue painting in small sections. Finish one wall before moving to another. Add another layer of paint if needed.

Can You Use Ceiling Paint on Doors?

Although you can use ceiling paint to prime doors, you should not use it to paint on doors. The main reason is that doors take on tons of wear and tear. Painting a door would not last long. Another reason is that flat ceiling paint isn’t cleanable, and doors are prone to messes.

Best Paint for Walls and Ceilings

Best Paint for Walls and Ceilings

With many paint options on the market today, how do you know which to buy? Here are our top picks for the best wall and ceiling paint.

Rust-Oleum 285139 Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint

Rust-Oleum 1 qt Brands 285139 Serenity Blue Chalked Ultra Matte Paint, 30 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)Rust-Oleum’s Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint is the best option for walls. The company is a leader in the industry, and its Chalked line of paint comes in many colors. The interior matte paint paints on in a single coat.

The application process is quick and easy. You can expect the paint to dry to the touch in as little as 30 minutes.

Plus, you can use the paint for various interior surfaces, including metal, wood, ceramic, and canvas, to create a seamless flow in your room. There’s minimal prep involved in using this paint, allowing you to use it for many projects.

KILZ Color-Change Stainblocking Interior Ceiling Paint

KILZ Stainblocking Ceiling Paint, Interior, White, 1 GallonKILZ is a well-known brand for its ability to handle stains. This KILZ ceiling paint is the best because it tackles minor to moderate staining or uneven color. The paint is even stain-resistant to keep your ceiling looking its best for a longer time.

Using this ceiling paint is an excellent experience. It rolls on smooth, with low spatter. At first, the paint appears pink and turns white gradually. Expect the paint to dry in around an hour. However, you may need a few coats for maximum stain blocking.


You can use ceiling paint on interior walls or as a primer for walls, doors, and trim. That said, it’s best to do so if you want the walls to have the same color and flat finish. Modern interior design sometimes uses this technique to create texture in living and dining rooms or home office spaces. It’s also excellent for hiding scuffs or scratches.

Did you use ceiling paint to cover your walls? If our tips helped in your painting project, please let us know in the comments. Share our article with your friends online as well.