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Consider a Colour on Your Ceiling: My New Obsession

Ceilings are often overlooked as a place to inject a little colour – and it’s my new obsession. See which paint colours I’m adding to the ceilings in my new home. It’s just another way that colour makes me happy.

First, I don’t hate taupe

Since I started posting videos  on my Instagram stories of the new paint colours going up at the new house I have made a few disparaging remarks about the existing taupe in my house that is literally EVERYWHERE inside AND on the exterior too. 

First, let’s be clear, there are no colours (or neutrals) that I hate in this world. However, it’s the OVERUSE of neutrals that make me upset.

So, it must have been confusing to a lot of people because today I received this email:

I’m trying to understand why you hate taupe so much? I live in a new build-light brick (alabaster-ish color) with taupe window frames and SW taupe tone trim/ pillars/ garage door. I chose not to go with black window frames per your advice. Should the trim etc be repainted?  I feel like I made a horrible mistake!

Here was my response:

“I don’t hate taupe at all, but I sure hate the taupe in my 5100 square foot house which is literally bathed in it, inside and out, every room, every corner including the ceilings.”

If the house was entirely painted any other neutral or colour, but exactly the same, inside and out, it would be just as big of a turn-off, however it just happens to be taupe. 

Also, I don’t own any taupe decor, so all the more reason to be annoyed that EVERY SINGLE surface must be painted. 

Even the ceilings appear to be a 75% version of the taupe that’s on the walls everywhere.

Taupe, which happens to be this decade’s most chosen neutral, is warmer than all the greys and cooler than the beige world that so many people were still allergic to after the brown trend. And my home was built 11 years ago right in the middle of the grey trend.

Read more: What Everyone Should Know About Taupe

My obsession with painting ceilings a COLOUR

This is my my ceiling colour in my dreamy living room. The wood stained beams will be painted the trim colour. And, we have just installed crown moulding on either side (see below):

My new blue living room ceilings BM Intuition CSP-610, which is very close to SW 9055 Billowy Breeze

Also, you have to remember this is what I do. All day, everyday.

I’m having the same experience (read: allergic reaction) with BLACK.

Because I often warn my lovely followers of the perils of using too much black, I get teased if I even wear it at all.

Again, just because I’m warning you that too much black will quickly become harsh, flat and predictable, doesn’t mean that I hate black either. 

Anyway, I got to thinking, since I have no choice but to paint the all the ceilings because they were not left a versatile shade of white, I’m going to choose a colour wherever I can. After all, it costs almost the same to paint them white, so why not paint them a colour that makes people look up with delight and inquire after the shade!

The existing trim in my house thankfully does not need to be repainted, it’s similar to SW Alabaster or BM Cloud White.

SW 6820 Inspired Lilac which is closest to BM 1402 Spring Iris

Since the art from my living room is going into the primary bedroom, I specified a stronger shade of lavender for the ceiling this time, because I wimped out in the living room of my current house (it’s just the palest lavender colour below):

Also, I chose not to drywall over all the recessed lighting in my home. I will simply not be using it. There are other things I want to spend money on like decorating.  I will be installing double sconce lights in this hallway (above).

Anyway, when I arrived on the weekend and saw the hallway into my bedroom had also been painted lilac (above) I messaged my painter and asked him to ask me next time he hit a new ceiling to get my approval. 😬

After all, this could have been a different yet delightful colour too, I’m quite sure.

As human beings, whether we realize it or not, we continually crave NEW.  Everyone always thinks it’s colour marketing people who dictate the trends but it’s actually the fickle consumer who does by demanding new over and over again.

Read more: Who Decides Top Colour Trends?

After I talked about my painted ceilings on my stories this weekend, I received a message from a follower who said the one small room where  she painted the ceiling blue was the best part of the entire remodel. #colourmehappy

And I received another image from a reader with a pink ceiling that she felt was the best part of her bathroom (below):

Just in case you needed a reminder, I’m like your colour bestie. That means I love ALL colours and neutrals in the right context!

The best blue ceiling paint colours

Colour is happy my lovelies! If you have a white house, paint your ceilings blue, because it feels like the sky. And really, unless you really go for it like I did, no one will even notice. Here are a few of my favourite “haint blues” for your ceilings (you know, that shade of blue typically found on the ceilings of old southern porches). Make sure you PIN this for later!

haint blue ceiling colour

Become a True Colour Expert in 2023!

By the way, we just had an amazing two days with a brand new group of True Colour Experts! I was blown away by the AMAZING feedback we received from the students in last week’s class! 💛

If you want to learn how to choose colour and neutrals for finishes, decor and more –just like I do– stay tuned… I’ll announce 2023 dates soon!

The animal print blanket hanging on the right helps muffle the sound.

Related posts:

How to Choose Ceiling Colours Do’s & Don’ts

The Shocking Truth About your Ceilings

Ask Maria: When is White Dirty?

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30 Comments

  • Laura says:

    i have been painting my ceilings since the year 2000 and have never regretted it! Pink in the master bath and blue in some of the other rooms bring me joy every time I look up! I need to paint a bedroom that leans lavender and really like the color Maria chose for her ceiling.

  • Gloria Anderson says:

    Oh my gosh, Maria! As I was reading your article about ceiling colors, I looked up at my lovely sunroom vaulted ceiling and sighed, thinking: “I would so love to paint this a haint blue.” Then, like a mind reader, you listed some haint blue colors later in the article!!! I’m in the mountains of NC but my family is from the Low Country so this is a thing there. One question: with a vaulted ceiling, would you paint it darker or lighter than the walls? I’ve been leaning towards Palladian Blue or Woodlawn Blue. Do the colors need to be in the same family or can I paint the ceiling haint blue and the walls some sort of neutral?

    Thanks so much – now you’ll have to explain haint blue to your readers😉

    Gloria

    • TNic says:

      It’s interesting you mention your family being from the south. I said below that I wouldn’t use a lot of these blues on my ceilings because I am from Cleveland. I am always cold from fall through spring and I avoid colors here that are “icy” or “minty” or cool mints and blues, I guess. I think of these as Florida or southern colors where you need to make things feel cool in the summer. I did once paint a color called pale lichen and it seemed off most of the year in the north. Just another interesting consideration! (Not that I haven’t seen people do it here and it was okay. It may also depend on the house and where it is located with relation to trees or the lake.)

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      • Melissa says:

        It’s funny that you mention a lake after noting that blue feels cold. Years ago we lived on a lake, and one winter we had an Italian house painter stop by to purchase a vehicle. He was quite vocal about how much he disliked the way those surroundings left him feeling gray and cold. Italy is so beautiful and warm and he took an instant and strong dislike to what he saw. I’m warmed by the memory of his emotions and confidence in his strong expression of them.

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  • writer11 says:

    Maria… I agree with your ‘blue’ (ceiling) choices and have used 2 of them with clients and in my own principle bedroom & ensuite (Paladian Blue and Woodlawn Blue). Both are so calming. I could ‘feel’ people relax as they entered those rooms. I first saw Woodlawn used in the powder room of a gorgeous, high-end spa I went to — every time I went into that room, I just melted into calmness. As it had just recently been renovated, I asked what colour it was, and much to my delight, they were able to track down the contractor and get the name for me (Woodlawn Blue).

    I’ve moved since then and debating on whether to use it again in my ‘new’ home (Southampton, Ontario). I am currently leaning towards doing the principle bedroom and ensuite in a blush tone ( M CC156 Tofino Sunset) which I just found out happens to be one of BM’s 2023 colours of the year choices. My thought was based on how flattering it is for one’s complexion. I’m 75 and could use a little help with that :). The other consideration is on the same ‘chip’ but darker (BM CC-154 Smoked Salmon). Not sure yet.

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  • Tnix says:

    As always , interesting post! However I would never use most of these blues on my ceiling. I line around Cleveland Ohio and most of the year, it would feel too cool to look up at icy or cool blues with white walls. I have done ceilings a color though and doing them in a room I am painting off white. But they will be a greenish gray color or maybe a deeper gray with blue undertone. The exception is a kids room…anything goes there!

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  • Liz says:

    All my walls are mid-tone to dark colors. I painted the ceilings in mid to light green beige, and it is so much cozier than white.

  • Bette says:

    I’m from the Charleston, SC, area, where we always have a haint blue ceiling on our porches. No questions asked, the color will always be blue. So, I’m with you on painting your ceilings such gorgeous colors. Yay.

    But oh, man, I feel sorry for the sellers of your house. I’m sure they forked out quite a bit of money to follow their realtor’s advice to paint everything taupe. Maybe you can work on those realtors?!

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  • Peggy says:

    Do you need to have crown molding to paint your ceiling a color? Only my dining room has mounding at the top…

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  • Kay says:

    That intense lilac ceiling for the bedroom is gutsy but fabulous Maria!!

  • Cindi says:

    Yes, keep showing us your colored ceilings! I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. My first will be the laundry / mud room, where I really wanted colored cabinets but couldn’t get them. And it’s hardly worth it to paint walls because cabinets are to the ceiling and so little wall shows. So the ceiling it is!
    p.s. Would you paint little sections of walls to match the ceiling, or leave them white?

  • Melissa says:

    I love the stronger lavender. Just last year, I changed the highest part of our dining room ceiling to blue. Everyone loves it, and most importantly, we do too. I completely agree and highly recommend it. I missed the cloud ceiling of our child’s bedroom once the transition to an adolescent’s bedroom was done and now we have some sky back! We love it.

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  • Martha Hughes says:

    I read this quote at the art museum in Indianapolis Indiana Lume exhibit and I thought of you.
    Claude Monet : “Color is my day-long obsession, joy, and torment.” Not sure about the torment part but this painter is definately in your color corner.

  • Kelly K says:

    I live in a house with a very open floor plan. It makes it very difficult to change paint colors and not find it jarring as unless it a bathroom, bedroom, or laundry room, there are no doors or true separation from the space. The first floor also meets the second floor with shared walls with high vaulted ceilings, so the color from the first floor has to be the color for the second floor. This means I have that house filled with the same neutral color for most of the square footage. I was able to change the color slightly for the kitchen/family room from the hallway and other areas thanks to an support archway and the color change being subtle.

    Previously, the house was some peachy/cream neutral where EVERY single wall and the ceilings were the same color. After living with those ceilings, I went to a nice pure white ceiling. The main reason? High vaulted ceilings that connect between both stories where you can’t really transition and needing a neutral color. They are a pain and expensive to paint, so I would rather have that white ceiling so when I repaint the walls, the ceiling can probably be skipped.

    I debated about a blue ceiling, but they are mostly very cool or a the type of ceiling the feels more coastal, which didn’t fit the rest of the colors (flooring) in my house.

    Unlike you, I am not a crazy big color fan for large item, unless it is blue (but it has to be right shade of blue). I don’t like orange or yellow or pink or anything close to that old wall color. So it seemed best to stick with neutral paint so I can easily refurnish and then decorate in smaller doses of color.

    I also will say, I love my swiiss cheese can lights that we put in. 🙂 The newer lights are less noticeable that the older style that has black spacing around the socket (because of heat build up in pre-LED lights), but these are flat and white and less noticeable. They are also 100% adjustable in brightness level, color temperature, and actual color. You can turn on one light the whole room. It’s great for task lighting or using the more ambient settings (like Christmas, which simulate Christmas lights). If it was full 100% 2600-4400k all the time, it would be overwhelming.

    I do plan to layer with lamps. sconces though. 🙂

    So fun to see your remodeling project. Although I admit, it is that view you have that I would be looking at all the time. Looking forward to seeing it progress!

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  • Lauri says:

    Maria – Totally agree! We just bought a home that has SW Shaker Beige though out — every room and every ceiling! Love following you for ideas for our renovation.

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  • Linda Sidor says:

    I painted my ceilings 15 years ago and regretted it until I could have them repainted in my 6000 sq ft home. Every time I looked there they were. Ugh!!!! Personally I think it’s a terrible look.

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  • Angie says:

    I have Palladian Blue picked for my kitchen ceiling, but I’m hesitating because the walls are an orange beige complex cream – it seems dark in comparison, and the kitchen doesn’t get a lot of natural light. I think I might take your cue with your current home and lighten it up a bit. But before I commit, I need to commit to a rug and accessories. As in, actually purchase them vs. liking them on the mood board. Paint last!

  • JanetDR says:

    My ceilings are daffodil yellow for the most part. I left the stairway in the addition just primed for many years because I couldn’t decide. Until the year Radiant Orchid was the color of the year! I knew that was the answer right away. It’s such a pretty way to add more color to the mix!

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  • Catherine says:

    Love the ceiling colors!!! Sure makes the space look happy! And that blue outfit your wore on Friday was gorgeous!

  • Mimi says:

    Maria, so are you suggesting blue ceilings regardless of the colour of furniture and draperies and where there is no other blue in the room? Love the look!

  • Mary S says:

    This probably sounds terrible, but I had a small ranch home back in the early 80’s, and I painted the ceiling an enamel barn red. The walls were white, light golden maple cabinets, cafe curtains and red and white accessories. It was so cute and cheerful. Wasn’t a large room and it had good light. I loved it.

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  • Diane says:

    I love painted ceilings, white ceilings look to me like someone forgot to paint one of the walls, they just look incomplete and forgotten, whereas a painted ceiling is such a lovely, happy way to finish a room. And I ADORE your ceiling color choices, Maria. I am so enjoying watching your house remodel process!

  • Beth says:

    I love painted ceilings however all the ceilings in my new build home are stippled, unfortunately. I don’t like them and don’t want to call attention to them by painting them. I know I could have that un-done but it is not easy and very expensive. I have a very open floor plan so cant single out certain rooms to do either. It’s all or none. Ugh! You are very fortunate to have flat drywalled ceilings!

  • Janelle says:

    I agree with painting the ceilings a colour. I was looking at my kitchen about a week ago and decided that I am going to paint it a pale shade of blue. It would be lovely because there is no other colour in the kitchen. Now I just need to get my hubby to agree.

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  • Karen Hohman says:

    My screened in porch ceiling is Paladian Blue and I love it! Unfortunately the rest of my house has popcorn 😭 but as soon as we can get it removed I’m painting those ceilings some beautiful colors!!

    • Violet says:

      Personally, I love popcorn ceilings – lol. Nothing like the feel of a carpeted room with an acoustic ceiling, especially if you are a piano player.
      I’ve seen them painted in dark rich colors and was impressed with the look.

  • Christy Johnson says:

    Hi Maria. About ten years ago, you came through Seattle and gave us a color consultation. One of the colors you specified for us was BM “Light Blue” for the ceiling in our bonus room. It’s been painted for years now and we still love it. We also used it for our kids’ bathroom ceiling. It gives a certain dimension to the rooms, which I think would fall a little flat without it. I’m all for the painted ceilings!

  • Debra says:

    I was so excited to see BM Woodlawn Blue on your list. It’s one of my favorite colors. In my last house I painted my main bedroom ceiling and family room (well it was a dining room, then a formal living room and finally it became the more casual family room) Woodlawn Blue. It’s always perfect. Sometimes more blue, sometimes more blue/green but it always works!

    Then we restored a house from the 1850’s and I had to put Woodlawn blue somewhere, so I decided on the ceiling at the top of the stairs-since we covered the hideous walls with shiplap (it was better than re-sheet rocking them) and painted Cloud White by BM. It looked great with white walls to look up to the blue ceiling!

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