I like painted ceilings, they go a long way to making a room look finished. I don’t specify them a lot though because once you paint one ceiling anything other than white in a house, you really should keep going so that you create flow. Then if you want to change a colour in a room, you have to change the ceiling too. Here are some of my tips for making sure you get your ceilings right:
DO paint the ceiling in the bathroom the same colour as the wall. If the tile in your bath goes right up to the ceiling, you lose the colour at that end of the bathroom because it’s all tile. Therefore, just keep going into the ceiling with the wall colour and it will tie that side of the bathroom in with the colour. In bathrooms I break the rule of every other ceiling in the house needing colour once you’ve done it in here.
DON’T paint heavily stippled ceilings anything but cream or white. There are a few exceptions to this that I have seen, high vaulted ceilings being one, but mostly the eye then get’s drawn to the ceiling which you don’t want with such heavy texture. We all want our ceilings to be flat and devoid of texture these days.
DO cut the colour by 1/2 strength for the ceiling if you want it to be the same colour as the walls (unless it’s a dark colour, or a very pale colour). The same colour on the ceiling (bathrooms are the exception, it’s usually such a tiny baby postage stamp of a ceiling, it’s too much trouble to get another colour and bathrooms are generally well lit anyway) goes darker so if you want the ceiling to look the same as the walls, ask for it half strength of the wall colour.
DON’T specify 1/2 strength of a wall colour that already has a lot of pink in it, going lighter in the same colour might just give you a pinker ceiling than you wanted.
DO pick the colour for the ceiling [below] yourself if you are already starting with a dark, dramatic colour. There isn’t enough paint in a deep based paint can in the first place so it doesn’t work to specify 1/2 strength here because you won’t have enough paint in the can to get the colour you want.
Image from Material Girls Blog
DON’T ask for 1/4 strength for the ceilings. It’s unnecessary to go lighter than 1/2 strength and there’s too much room for the colour to go off in some other direction. If you want it that much lighter, it’s safer to choose the colour yourself.
DO paint a ceiling a pale, pale blue, it will give you the feeling of the sky.
DON’T paint the ceiling a colour if you already have a lot of white in the room and the colour is a fresh one like this (below). It looks fabulous when the colours in the room also relate to the ceilings (above) and in this case it does with the white.
DO paint the ceilings a colour that matches the background of the wallpaper; especially if there is no white in the paper. Your ceilings will look like unpainted plaster otherwise.
This ceiling should be the same cream as the trim and the pattern. Right now it looks like a cold blue white.
DON’T paint the ceiling a darker colour than the walls unless they are high. It will make the ceiling look heavy and dark, like it’s coming down at you. There are creative exceptions to this of course (like in the first image on this post), but I’m giving you general guidelines here.
DO paint the ceiling in a commercial space a dark colour (but it doesn’t have to be black) pick a colour that relates to what is happening in the space.
DON’T leave the rest of your ceilings white if you paint them a colour in one room. Flow is created by continuing with the rest of the ceilings in your house.
DON’T leave out your coffered or tray ceilings when painting the walls. They are a great architectural feature that should not be ignored.
Donald Kaufman was recently interviewed about painting bedroom ceilings and he said “Consider painting the ceiling the same hue as the walls. When a colour surrounds you it creates a richer atmosphere and in a bedroom you end up looking at the ceiling the most.”
While you’re here, subscribe to this feed so you don’t miss out!