Painting a ceiling can help hide small blemishes.

Adding a texture to a ceiling is an attractive way to conceal imperfections and light cracks while adding interest and dimension to an otherwise flat surface. It's not a solution for a ceiling marred with deep cracks, but it can be a decorative finish with swirls and stippling effects that hide small blemishes.

Before painting a ceiling prepare the room by lowering and loosening the ceiling fixture from its collar plate. Then thoroughly clean the ceiling with a dry mop to remove any dust on the surface, especially in the corners. You'll need a sturdy ladder and drop cloths to protect the furnishings and floor. It's a good idea to remove as much furniture as you can so it's not difficult to reposition the ladder as you move around the room.

For a 400-square-foot ceiling in an 18-by-20-foot room, a painting contractor will charge $561 to make minor repairs and apply a primer and latex texture paint, which includes labor and material. You can buy the patching compound, primer, paint and tools for $75 and do it yourself, saving 87%. You'll find the materials sold at paint stores and in the paint sections of hardware stores and home centers.

To finish the surface several different tools can be used -- such as a whisk broom, putty knife, sponge, trowel, wallpaper brush or heavy nap roller -- to create different effects. For the best results, practice and experiment on a scrap piece of wallboard to help decide the finish you think suits your ceiling best.

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Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$561 -- $75 -- 8.6 -- 9.0 -- $486 -- 87%