How to Choose a Suitable Ceiling Color for Your Space
Did you know that a standard white ceiling isn’t your only option? In fact, the color of the ceiling can make a huge impact on the overall feel of a room. Use these tips to help figure out what hue would be best for your space.
Dark vs. Light
The general rule when it comes to ceiling color is that when ceilings are a lighter tone than the walls, they feel higher, while darker colored ceilings feel lower. Why would anyone want to visually lower a ceiling? Doing so can actually facilitate a more cozy, intimate feel in a room.
Just like when picking wall colors, it’s important to evaluate the source and intensity of light the room receives — especially during the time you use it most. For example, if you use a room most during the day, then a pretty sky blue or blush pink ceiling would reflect bright daylight and create an airy feel. If nighttime hours are more important, a deep red ceiling lit by dim lamplight produces a warm glow.
Keep in mind that ceiling paint finishes are typically flat, however a hint of reflective sheen from eggshell or satin finish paint has the ability to lighten up the room when a darker ceiling color is used. Glossy finishes are not recommended for the most part, unless your ceiling is virtually blemish-free. Higher sheen paints draw attention to flaws.
Shades of White
White ceilings are standards for a reason — they are simple, clean and allow you to focus on the rest of the room’s features. If you do decide to go with a color on the ceiling, there’s no doubt it will enhance the character of the room. However, it also runs the risk of coming off excessive. For primary living areas especially, keep the ceiling color simple so it doesn’t become tiring over time.
A white ceiling is also useful for balancing a vivid wall color. Bold walls come off sharp and crisp, and the ceiling seems visually higher. Similarly, when a white ceiling is paired with pale walls that appear to expand space, the combo opens the space up even more. For rooms with very little natural light, a white ceiling will reflect any available light and help brighten the space.
Treat the ceiling like you would any other color element and make sure the color is echoed elsewhere in the room to help integrate it into the design scheme. Use carpet, curtains, woodwork and other fabrics to repeat the color in the room. Otherwise, the end result will be a room that feels out of balance.
There are many choices when it comes to white paint, believe it or not. To choose the right one for your space, look into the undertones. Standard white can come off looking clinical and stark, which is why paint companies now offer a variety of warm and cool whites to choose from. When a faint yellow or blue undertone is added, that might be all the difference you need to make it work with the rest of the room’s color palette.
When you want to make a statement overhead, consider using a contrasting color on the ceiling such as warm tan, charcoal gray, sky blue or blush pink. These colors act like a reflector shining light down into the room, which affects the room’s character and can dramatically change how you perceive the space. When impact is the ultimate goal, rules about light colors and low ceilings can be tossed aside. Go ahead — use a dark color on the ceiling and apply a glaze in the same color overtop. The glaze serves to soften the overall impact while the sheen helps to reflect light so that the ceiling won’t overpower the room.
Although not for everyone, because it can make a room feel smaller and more confining, painting the ceiling the same color as the walls makes quite a statement. In a small room, like a bedroom or bath, the seamless color has the ability to sooth and bring restfulness. For larger rooms, the one-color approach can unify the area and highlight the room’s furnishings and decor.
A great technique for those that like the all-one-color look, but want it to be lighter on the ceiling, is to simply dilute the wall paint with white. An 80 percent white to 20 percent wall color is a good ratio that will relate well.
If your room is an odd shape or features multi-angled ceilings, consider simplifying the space by bringing the wall color to the ceiling. Also, in rooms with lofty ceilings, a same-color ceiling will help make the space feel more intimate. Besides, using the same color paint for everything makes your job easier — no taping off molding at the ceiling line! Whether you decide to show off your crown molding with a contrasting hue or stick with the all-one-color theme so that they blend is a personal preference. But if you have unique trim or architecture, highlighting them might be a good idea.