Best Paint for Kitchen Ceilings

Finding the best paint for kitchen ceilings can prove difficult if you have limited knowledge of what you actually need. After all, there are plenty of ceiling paints out there such as Tikkurila AR2 and Johnstone’s StainAway, each proving useful in their own way.

But which one is right for your job?

I’ve listed out 5 of my favourite kitchen ceiling paints and categorised them according to the situation in which they perform best.

Here’s a quick look:

  • Best Overall – Zinsser Permawhite
  • Best eggshell for kitchen ceilings – Leyland Trade Acrylic Eggshell
  • Best for covering grease-stained ceilings – Johnstone’s StainAway
  • If you have a low-maintenance kitchen – Macpherson Eclipse
  • For kitchens that receive lots of light – Tikkurila Anti-Reflex 2

Considerations When Buying Kitchen Ceiling Paint

When buying paint for your kitchen ceilings, a one-size-fits-all approach may not be the best idea. There are plenty of variables to consider such as:

The current condition of the ceiling

If your kitchen ceiling is in good condition, you’ll have a variety of options available when it comes to what paint you choose. However, if it’s been subjected to consistent moisture and grease stains, you would be best off choosing a specific stain-blocking matt such as Johnstone’s StainAway.

If you chose a regular emulsion, chances are, the stains would bleed through the new paint, rendering all your effort and money spent pointless.

How much light the kitchen receives

Some paints are certainly much better at absorbing light than others so if your kitchen ceiling is consistently exposed to critical lighting, you’ll want to choose the paint that is best at absorbing this light. For this purpose, I would choose Tikkurila Anti-Reflex 2 over any other.

How hardwearing you need the paint to be

If your kitchen isn’t used frequently or if you have powerful extractor systems, again, you’ll have plenty of freedom to choose the most aesthetically pleasing paint. But if you find that you need to clean your ceiling often to remove any potential stains, your best bet is to go with an acrylic eggshell instead of the less durable matt options.

Best Paint for Kitchen Ceilings

1. Zinsser Permawhite: Best Paint for kitchen ceilings overall

Choosing the right paint for kitchen ceilings can be a challenging task, given the unique conditions like humidity, steam, and temperature changes in these areas. That’s where Zinsser Permawhite comes into the picture – my top choice for kitchen ceilings.

This product is specifically designed to prevent fungal and mildew growth, which are common issues in steamy areas like kitchens and bathrooms. What’s more, it’s available in a matt finish, perfect for these environments. Once applied, it’s always delivered an excellent finish without any callbacks for mould issues. In fact, its performance has been so reliable for me that I’ve no intention of switching to another product.

Zinsser Permawhite boasts a colour that seems halfway between pure white and PBW, creating a unique hue. I’ve used it on a kitchen ceiling with light coming from multiple angles, and it didn’t flash. Even when I touched up a crack that appeared later, there was still no flashing.

A tip to boost its performance: give it a thorough stir, as the contents tend to settle at the bottom (like most Zinsser products).

You might also want to apply a white matt first to solidify the ceiling, and then go in with the top coats of Permawhite. Ensure each coat dries for the recommended duration for the best results.


  • Excellent for steamy areas like kitchens and bathrooms
  • Prevents fungal and mildew growth
  • Doesn’t flash, even when touched up
  • Available in a matt finish


  • Coverage in white requires 3 coats
  • Opacity in white isn’t brilliant
  • Needs lots of stirring before use

Paint specs: coverage: 11m2/litre, touch dry: 1 hour, re-coatable: 2 hours, application: roller, brush or spray

My Rating

Overall, Zinsser Permawhite is my go-to when it comes to kitchen ceiling paint. It’s mould resistant, can be cleaned, looks great and is easy to work with.

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2. Leyland Trade Hardwearing Acrylic Eggshell: Best eggshell for kitchen ceilings

Leyland Trade Hardwearing Acrylic Eggshell is a real gem when it comes to kitchen ceiling paint. Its durability, combined with its surprising affordability, make it a must-consider, particularly for jobs with a tight budget.

I’ve had first-hand experience with its resilience. I applied it in a local chippy where it’s continually subject to the rigours of regular cleaning and food splatter, and a year on, it still looks superb. This paint’s performance was so impressive that I’m re-evaluating how frequently I use it.

It’s worth noting that Leyland gets bad press sometimes, but my experiences with their water-based gloss/eggshell and super latex emulsion have been nothing short of satisfactory. Particularly for new ceilings, it’s hard to fault its value and performance.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.


  • Highly durable and resistant to regular cleaning
  • Provides great coverage and a very white finish when dry
  • Excellent value for money
  • Unofficially mould resistant


  • Emits a strong smell, requiring good ventilation during and after application

Paint specs: coverage: 12m2/litre, touch dry: 4 – 6 hours, re-coatable: 16 – 24 hours, application: roller, brush or spray

My Rating

Despite the strong smell, which necessitates good ventilation, Leyland Trade Hardwearing Acrylic Eggshell is a solid choice when used correctly. It’s been reliable in every job I’ve used, and it seems to cope better with moisture. With the right preparation, you won’t encounter any problems, making it a prime choice for kitchen ceilings.

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3. Johnstone’s StainAway Matt: Best for covering grease-stained ceilings

Johnstone’s StainAway Matt is the ultimate problem solver for heavily stained kitchen ceilings. Whether you’re dealing with persistent grease or nicotine stains, this paint offers a powerful solution that delivers.

I can personally vouch for StainAway’s efficacy. On one occasion, I tackled a heavily nicotine-stained house without even pre-washing, and the paint covered it virtually in one coat. Of course, I added a second for good measure.

While applying, bear in mind that it’s essential to leave the recommended time between coats – at least four hours. This wait time allows the paint to seal off the stain effectively, ensuring optimal coverage.

Despite the longer drying times and cost, StainAway’s superior coverage and durability are worth it. Notably, I used it on a challenging commercial kitchen job with heavy staining, and the outcome was flawless. Plus, it’s eco-friendly and healthier compared to oil-based paints.

Let’s review the pros and cons of Johnstone’s StainAway Matt:


  • Excellent stain coverage, perfect for heavily stained ceilings
  • Rated Class 1 for scrub resistance after curing, proving its high durability
  • Provides a lovely flat white finish
  • Sprays evenly and beautifully
  • Better for the environment and your health than oil-based options


  • Drying times are long, which could be inconvenient for quick turnaround jobs
  • Slightly on the expensive side
  • Might not work well in light-sensitive areas
  • Requires at least three coats for optimal results

Paint specs: coverage: 9m2/litre, touch dry: 1 – 4 hours, re-coatable: 4 – 8 hours, application: roller, brush or spray

My Rating

On a recent job with an artex ceiling in a smoker’s kitchen, StainAway worked like magic with just two coats, rejuvenating the stained ceiling to look like new. So, if you’re tackling tough stains, this is the paint for you.

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4. Macpherson Eclipse: For low-maintenance kitchens

MacPherson Eclipse has made a solid name for itself among professional decorators, primarily when used for painting ceilings. I can personally vouch for this, as it’s my first choice for ceiling jobs.

This flat emulsion is excellent at masking imperfections, giving your ceiling a smooth, even finish. Don’t be discouraged if, after applying a couple of coats, it seems like the coverage is not sufficient. Trust the process. As the paint dries and hardens, it becomes fuller and more opaque, resulting in a robust, non-flashing finish even when retouched or exposed to various light angles.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that while MacPherson Eclipse provides an excellent finish, it’s not the most durable option. This factor makes it ideal specifically for ceilings where there’s less risk of bumps, scrapes, or frequent cleaning so I would only recommend using it if you have a low-maintenance kitchen.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of MacPherson Eclipse:


  • No flashing when touching up
  • Incredible flat finish that hides imperfections well
  • Nearly covers ceilings in just one coat
  • Extremely cost-effective


  • Full coverage isn’t immediately apparent; patience is required while it dries

Paint specs: coverage: 14 – 16m2/litre, touch dry: 2 hours, re-coatable: 4 hours, application: roller, brush or spray

My Rating

Given its impressive ability to mask imperfections and its budget-friendly price, MacPherson Eclipse is a highly recommended choice for low-maintenance kitchen ceilings. It’s worth every penny, even if the end result takes a bit of time to fully appreciate.

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5. Tikkurila Anti-Reflex 2: For Kitchens That Receive Lots of Light

When it comes to achieving an exceptional, ultra-flat finish on your kitchen ceiling, Tikkurila Anti-Reflex 2 is the one I would choose.

Although not necessary for every job, when required, this paint is all you need. Its high-opacity formulation provides excellent coverage even on darker, greyscale ceilings, often in just two coats compared to the 3 or 4 required by other brands.

Tikkurila Anti-Reflex 2 stands out for its exceptional whiteness, outperforming alternatives like Mcpherson and Teknoceiling in terms of brightness and the ability to conceal imperfections. This paint also distinguishes itself with a more pleasing finish, an aspect appreciated by many professionals including myself.

Applying Tikkurila Anti-Reflex 2 is an easy, enjoyable process, contrasting with the struggles presented by some other major brands. Despite its 4-hour recoat time, I find it to be highly workable, making it a good choice for large kitchen ceilings.

The only minor critique I have about this product is that it can sometimes contain tiny paint pocket lumps that are somewhat difficult to strain out. Furthermore, while it offers a brilliant white, I do wish it could be just that bit brighter.

Paint specs: coverage: 10m2/litre, touch dry: 1 hour, re-coatable: 2 – 4 hours, application: roller, brush or spray

My Rating

Tikkurila Anti-Reflex 2 is the best option when seeking to achieve a flawlessly flat finish on a kitchen ceiling that gets light from lots of angles.

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