The Best White Emulsion to Use on a Ceiling

Updated May 5, 2024 | Posted Aug 27, 2019 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 4 comments

I’ve been a professional decorator for the past 19 years, and I love to play around with different products from various brands. After all, it’s the only way I know for certain I’m using the best paint available for any particular job. In this blog, I’m going to take you through the products I think you should consider when trying to find the best white emulsion to use on a ceiling. I hope you find it useful.


Tikkurila Anti-Reflex 2

Tikkurila Anti-Reflex has got to be the best white matt emulsion for ceilings and here is why; The main problem you have when coating a ceiling is what we call flashing (roller marks and picture framing). It comes with the light shining from one side of a room and shadowing, mostly due to the slightly different textures caused by the roller. People seem to go for “brilliant white”, which just makes things worse. Tikkurila Anti-Reflex is a dull flat matt which eradicates flashing. It looks luxurious when applied and hides imperfections well. It’s good value for money and it’s also fairly durable, meaning you can use it in a kitchen or bathroom. Click here to see online prices.


Macpherson Eclipse

Macpherson Eclipse is another good paint for ceilings, although it is only a contract matt. It’s from Crown’s value range, meaning it is relatively cheap for a trade quality product. It’s porous too, so you can use it on bare plaster. The opacity is bang on, meaning if your ceiling is already white you should get a great finish in one coat. Bare plaster looks fantastic after two coats


You can also achieve a flat matt finish with this product which can be touched up if needed. The only issue is its durability, fine for most ceilings but stick to something else in a bathroom, kitchen, or a wallpapered room. This is definitely one of the best cheap matt emulsions to use on a ceiling! Click here to see online prices.

Armstead Vinyl Matt – White

Armstead is the value trade brand for Dulux, meaning it is also good value for money. Notice specified “white” and not “brilliant white”. That’s for a very good reason, as mentioned above, it helps eliminate flashing. You’ll find Armstead vinyl matt in white a true flat matt, easy to apply and a nice rich finish. The opacity is good too. I prefer using Armstead vinyl matt on a ceiling to any of its Dulux counterparts. You can buy this product from  any Dulux Decorating Centre, but unless you qualify for a trade discount, it will be cheaper to buy this paint online. Click here to see online prices.


Johnstone’s Perfect Matt

This is what I would call a premium produt. Johnstone’s perfect matt is a true flat matt emulsion which is durable enough to be used in a kitchen, or even most bathrooms. Most paint products are designed in reverse order to fit a certain place in the market. So, a manufacturer will decide what price the product needs to retail at and then make the best product to fit that budget. Johnstone’s perfect matt was not. The product was made to perform as well as it possibly can and no expense was spared. What they produced is magic in a tin, but very expensive. If you have a light sensitive ceiling that you just can’t get right, fork out and go premium. You will not get a flatter matt finish with anything else. Click herre to see online prices.


WRX Ceiling Paint

WRX are the new kids on the block when it comes to ceiling paint, and this is by far the most premium product on the market. Unlike any of the other products on this list, WRX is pure brilliant white and the finish is crisp. Opacity is absolutely amazing. It is pricey, but well worth it in my opinion. I use this on all my higher end decorating jobs, as well as in my own home. Nothing else comes close!! WRX ceiling paint is available online.


Best Tools to Use to Paint a Ceiling


OKOK. Now you know the best white emulsion for a ceiling, but your choice of paint isn’t the only factor you should consider when trying to achieve the best possible finish. Your choice of tools will also make a huge difference when painting a ceiling.

In particular, the roller. I recommend using a Purdy Colossus roller with a pole. You will need to de-lint this roller before using it, but it holds huge amounts of paint and distributes it evenly. What’s more, it applies the paint in thick coats, which means better opacity for your paint, and a longer working time for you. This is perfect for avoiding roller marks and picture framing. Click here to see online prices.

Slightly less important is your choice of brush. Providing you use a good-quality trade emulsion brush that holds plenty of paint, you can’t go wrong. My favourite is the ProDec Ice Fusion, which is perfect for cutting sharp lines. Click here to see online prices.

Final Thoughts


So, there you have it, my favourite paint products which I genuinely believe are the best to use on a ceiling. No fancy Farrow and ball, just good quality trade products which represent great value for money. As a follow up, I asked professional decorators from the Decorators Forum UK what they use day-to-day. Below is a list of comments I got back.


What Do Other Decorators Use to Paint Ceilings?

Tikkurila Anti-Reflex is best ceiling paint for critical lighting and it’s a reasonable price.

Ryan Micheal Foulger

Professional Painter and Decorator

Benjamin Moore ceiling paint. If you haven’t tried it then you need to. Nothing on the market comes close.

Paul Cameron

Professional Painter and Decorator

Tikkurila Anti Reflex 2

Formulated for spraying but performs just as well on a ceiling when you apply it via paint roller. Plus, it’s more durable than contract matt and there is no need to sieve or filter it.

Well priced too.

Mic Fowle

Professional Painter and Decorator

I’ve been using dulux supermatt recently, doesn’t flash, no roller marks, dries fast and looks proper matt. Perfect finish on a ceiling.

Sam Weaver

Professional Painter and Decorator

B&Q good home durable is the best white emulsion to use on a ceiling. Great coverage, dead flat, no flashing, no splatting, great price!

Lana Lindsay

Professional Painter and Decorator

Tikkurila Anti-Reflex is the best in white. I’d say Dulux ultramatt is good too. It’s especially for ceilings and slightly whiter, and the finish is slightly better. The huge negative I found was that almost every single bucket skinned up, and it skins in your scuttle as you roll. It’s expensive gear too so I’d expect better. It’s also not the best for touching in filler prior to finishing. So, Anti-Reflex is the best all rounder

Stooie Walker

Professional Painter and Decorator

My regular ‘go to’ paint for ceilings is always Johnstone’s Covaplus, It rollers and sprays well with great coverage and I’ve never had issues with any flashing. About to give Tikkurila Anti-Reflex a try, but Johnstone’s Covaplus will be a hard one to beat.

Max Curtis Bradley

Professional Painter and Decorator

Teknos Teknoceiling is the best emulsion to use on a ceiling if it’s white. You’ll find the opacity good, and the finish brilliantly flat matt. No imperfections will show, no roller marks, it’s just gorgeous. The only minor negative is it crazes on caulk, but that isn’t usually an issue when painting ceilings.

Max Cummins

Professional Painter and Decorator

This blog was written by Mike Cupit, a Professional Decorator of over 20 years and owner of Decorators Forum UK.

Updated May 5, 2024 | Posted Aug 27, 2019 | 4 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.
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  1. Paul Springett

    Hi all paint pals
    I am a bit of a messy worker and recently my mum has been struggling to get the stains out of my overalls. Can anyone suggest what the best washing powder to use to get out gray paint.

    • Mike Cupit

      You’ll struggle if you’re relying on removing the paint. I’d say use a rag to keep the brush handles clean and don’t use your best whites on a messy job. Not much else you can do

    • Jason Savage

      Mike, I agree with Anti-reflex and Eclipse. Used them both but love the Anti-reflex. Sprays beautifully for ceilings. It’s s little bit in the more expensive side but definitely worth it for the right job.

  2. Chris Murray

    Love the anti reflex, that’s what I use all the time..


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