Selecting Ceiling Paint Colors

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Ceiling is often referred to as the “fifth wall” yet its color is often overlooked a conscious design choice. Ceiling color can enhance the overall look and feel of the room so why would rules for painting ceilings be any different?

You’re probably asking yourself: what color should I paint my ceiling? Should I paint my ceiling white to keep it neural?  Or go with bold colors? How to make the right choice? Learn some tips to choosing the paint color for your ceiling.

STRATEGY #1: White Ceilings

White is most often the go-to color for ceiling. White does have its benefits. White ceiling boosts perceived illumination by reflecting light especially in rooms that receive scant natural light. Give an illusion of higher ceiling and offsets intense wall color: boldly colored walls look crisp and sharp. Painting an entire ceiling white is a good solution for rooms where you’ve already worked on eye-catchy artwork or intriguing wallpapers.

What you need to remember here is that there are many types of white, depending on its undertones and varying reaction to daylight.

White is indeed the most common choice for a ceiling because of its lightness and loftiness, but painting your ceiling a color other than white isn’t necessarily a bad choice. In fact, its dramatic effect has many design benefits. For example, some rooms need extra drama or elegance, and that can be achieved with darker ceilings. Some tips on adding some color to your ceiling and transforming your space.

STRATEGY #2: Paint The Ceiling The Same Color As The Walls

Painting the ceiling same color as the walls can cloak the room giving your room a beautiful atmosphere that feels complete. However the space will appear a bit smaller, but it will make a room with lofty proportions feel more intimate.

Works best for small rooms where seamless color creates a soothing restful mood, perfect for bathroom and bedroom ceiling. For large room, one-hue unifies the space and focuses attention on the furnishings and accessories. For a room with multi-angled ceiling and arched ceiling, one-color treatment unify and simplify the shape with shifting the focus on architectural details that stand out where you can use contrasting color.

STRATEGY #3: Slight Variation Of The Wall Color

Twist to second strategy: choose several shades darker or lighter than the walls for your ceiling. You will still get the soothing nature from a unified space, with a touch more depth and dimension.

Since ceiling look darker than walls, choose several shades lighter than wall color to make a room feel airier, simple look and even create an illusion of bigger space or higher ceiling for a room with ample natural light. Works best for small rooms with a low ceiling.

For a cozier and more intimate feel, opt for a slightly darker shade from walls for the ceiling. It’s perfect for a bedroom or bathroom where you want to relax and linger. Opt for darker shades for rooms with ceiling over nine feet tall, so it doesn’t feel like the room is closing in on you. Changing colors where walls meet the ceiling shifts the focus on the living space instead of soaring height of the ceiling.

You can change color between different architectural features such as molding or timber framing.

STRATEGY #4: Different Ceiling Color Entirely

Different ceiling color entirely or contrasting add character and interest and even alters the perception of the space. A brightly colored ceiling, atop stark white walls, is a strong and graphic statement. Rooms with compatible walls and ceilings can also use a bit more of contrast, achieved with crowns, baseboard moldings, and chair rails. You can even go a bit darker with the crown molding to make the environment look more dramatic.

Daring and dark colors

Dark colors black, dark gray or deep blue can create excellent dramatic and intimate feel to a room. Rooms with high ceilings and that receives ample natural light are excellent choice to experiment with a darker color. This will bring the energy in the room down and make it feel more intimate.  This does not work well with textured ceilings as darker colors bring out texture which can make it a feature. Dark or colored ceilings can accent beautiful crown molding and decorative details – more so than a light paint color.

Bright colors

Energize a room by painting a ceiling a bold color, such as yellow, orange or vibrant turquoise.  This is a great choice for a room with white walls and neutral furniture, making a room happier and fun. This type of paint color coordination can work in bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. Monochromatic counters, floors, tubs, sinks, walls, decorations, or tiles are perfect with a bold ceiling color.

Colorful ceilings for children

Fancying up a youngster’s room is a challenge, but the good side of the process is that there are endless possibilities. Paint the ceiling with your youngster’s favorite color, but add few double-toned stripes to keep the room open.

STRATEGY #5: Ceiling Murals

Mural paintings are ideal for creative and brave people. Hire a professional and do it yourself with many affordable museum-quality replicas of famous murals that are at the same time easy to stick and peel. Murals are most often painted in reception rooms where you host large parties and can often be an elegant conversation starter.

Tips to choosing ceiling paint colors

Light vs. dark ceilings

The first things to evaluate are spaciousness and ‘space illusion’, according to which light ceilings are always a better option. Ceilings that are lighter than the walls feel higher, while those that are darker feel lower. Light ceilings are good balancing tools that ‘calm’ spaces filled with dark tones, creating a visual connection and a united flow in every room.

Textured ceilings are also better when they are light, since any darker tone would reduce the power of their beautiful, rough patterns.

Paint Finish

Generally ceiling paint is flatter than normal flat paint. Semi-gloss or glossier paint may reflect more light showing blemishes but also adds dimension to the ceiling, giving it a subtle reflection. A matte or flat finish on a ceiling conceals imperfections such as cracks or pipes.

Light sources

As with wall colors, consider the source and strength of light the room receives. The point with lighting is that it is usually positioned downwards, that means the ceiling ‘stays in the shadow’, which is something you should have into account when choosing its colors.

You should pick a balanced tone, one that is neither too dark nor too light. However, darker tones are acceptable for rooms that have access to plenty of natural light.


Color on the ceiling can enhance a room’s character, but beware of excess: for primary living areas, keep the ceiling treatment simple so you don’t grow tired of it. Use these tips to find the best painted ceiling ideas to punch up your home!

For your painting needs around Pensacola, give a call to Christian Painting at (850) 516-4477.

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