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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

How to paint hard-to-reach areas

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Top tips to get you painting hard-to-reach areas like a pro...

how to paint hard to reach areas

Thankfully, painting hard-to-reach areas isn’t the headache it used to be. There are lots of tools and products available, including options for DIYers with modest budgets and minimal experience. The key hard-to-reach areas around the home are ceilings, the upper parts of walls, above the stairs, and behind radiators. Here are my top tips for each…

How to paint ceilings:

For average-height ceilings, you can achieve a great paint job using a combination of a sturdy step ladder, a paintbrush or two and a roller with an extension pole. Use the step ladder to get close to the areas you need to cover with painter’s tape, light fittings for example, and to complete the ‘cutting in’ with a paintbrush by hand. The paint roller and extension pole combo can then be used to paint the remaining areas.

For extra tall ceilings, or if you don’t have a step ladder, a good option is an adjustable paint brush holder which can be set to the correct angle and fitted to an extension pole to help you deftly navigate the cutting in. You can even buy multi-angle paint brushes, which can be adjusted to suit the job at hand. Paint pads are also useful for tackling ceilings and their lack of bristles can be an advantage over a paintbrush, they aren’t quite as good for precision, though in my experience.

how to paint hard to reach areas

Personally, I would rather climb a ladder to get close to the area I’m painting as I find it quicker and easier with less opportunity for mess. Craning your neck to look upwards for a prolonged time can get very uncomfortable, so be sure to consider this when picking your painting strategy and it goes without saying that you’ll need to clear the room and cover the floors when painting ceilings as it can get messy. Eye protection is also a good idea.

How to paint the area above the stairs:

The wall and ceiling above a staircase are probably the hardest-to-reach area in most homes and should be approached with care. Extension poles and paint brush holders can usually be operated from safe spots on the landing area or even standing carefully on the stairs themselves but if you want to get close to the hard-to-reach areas then you’ll need a purposely designed stair ladder.

Adjustable stair ladders are super handy and often have platforms that can be erected to provide a stable working area whilst painting the hardest-to-reach areas. That said, I’d be reluctant to recommend using one unless you are both comfortable with heights and an experienced DIYer. When working on the stairs, the risk of serious accidents is high meaning this could be a job best left to the professionals.

How to paint behind radiators:

paint roller to paint hard to reach areas

If taking a radiator or towel rail off the wall is not an option, then I recommend covering it completely with dust sheets (or even cling film if that’s all you have) then use a mini roller or paint pad to access the wall behind. You can pick up small, long reach paint pads in most DIY stores, or failing that you could fashion your own by gluing a thin sponge to the back of a kitchen spatula.

Note: I was asked for some advice on painting hard-to-reach areas for Living etc (you can read the article I'm quoted in, here...) so thought I'd share my other top tips in case my lovely readers find them useful too.

See below for links to my other painting-related blog posts in case they are helpful...

wall mural in bedroom pink mountains with dried hydrangeas in front
Tester pot bedroom mural

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