DIY Pro Tips: Getting Perfect Corners

An example of well painted ceiling corners



You spend hours, maybe even days, selecting the ideal paint shade for your room. You agonize over 24 shades of what seem to be exactly the same color before you land on “the one.”

You paint. You love the color. But you hate that the edges look so ragged where the walls meet the ceiling. A perfectly straight edge where your wall meets the ceiling is the hallmark of a professional paint job; a ragged edge is a dead giveaway of an amateur.

But there is hope. You can mimic the look of a professional paint job by adding a few simple steps that will help you create straight edges. Following these three steps will add more time to the job, but you will be rewarded with a professional-looking paint job that will last for years.


The Technique

Despite appearance to the contrary, the corner where your wall meets the ceiling is not a corner at all. It is usually a tiny bit rounded and can have texture. This makes it very difficult to paint up to the top of the wall and achieve a perfectly straight line.

One technique the pros use is to simply extend the wall color onto the ceiling by a very small amount – usually about 1/8 of an inch. This creates the illusion of a perfectly straight edge.

*Tip – This technique is reversible, meaning you can also extend the ceiling color onto the wall and achieve a similar effect. The method below details how to extend the wall color onto the ceiling.


Step 1) Prepare the ceiling

Before you get started with the walls, you should clean and paint the ceiling. Make sure you wait until the ceiling is completely dry before you proceed.

Once the ceiling is dry, measure from the wall 1/8 of an inch into the ceiling and mark it with a pencil. Repeat this step every two or three feet until you cover the entire perimeter of the room.

Using a high-quality painter’s tape, connect the marks. Be careful to create as straight a line as possible. This will create the straight edge that your eye will be drawn to; do not rush this step.


2) Painting the walls

After your tape is secure, you can prime and paint the walls. The idea is to extend the wall color onto the ceiling all the way up to the tape. If you are using a primer, make sure you prime that sliver of ceiling as well. Proceed painting the walls as you usually would and be certain that you paint all the way up to and onto the tape.

*Tip – If you accidentally get wall color past your painter’s tape on the ceiling, attempt to remove as much paint as possible while it is still wet. This will make it easier to touch up later.


3) Carefully remove the tape

It is integral that you wait until the walls are completely dry to remove the tape. Otherwise, the color will bleed, ruining all your hard work. When you remove the tape, remove it so that it forms a “v” and pull slowly and evenly.

Try a small, hidden spot first. If the tape is not creating the perfect line that you want, try scoring with a razor the area where the tape meets the wall. Be careful to score very lightly. Scoring the entire line before you pull off the tape will help to ensure a beautiful, razor-sharp line. You will also reduce the risk of peeling off additional paint.



After you have completely removed the tape, you are finished! You will be left with perfectly straight edges that even a pro would admire.

Do you have a DIY trick to produce a perfect paint job? Tell us about it below in the comments or better yet, like us on Facebook or follow us on Google+/Twitter and talk to us there! Need a little inspiration first? Check out our portfolio for some great ideas for your Nashville home.

Leave a Reply