HomeThe Best Paint ColoursBenjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams: Paint IdeasVAULTED (ANGLED) CEILINGS & WHAT COLOR THEY SHOULD BE: PART 3


Posted on July 21, 2023 by KylieMawdsley


It USED to be hard to pick a color for an angled ceiling, but NOT ANYMORE! Lucky for you, you’ve got a lil Ginger in your back pocket (who pinches upon request), and she’s here to help.

And the big question always is…

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Should your angled ceilings be wall color or trim colour?

Let’s find out!

While there are many room layouts and lengths/sizes of ceilings, both angled and flat, there are two main types…

1. both sides are angled (also known as vaulted) and meet at the top in a triangle – there are no horizontal sections

2. there are one or more angled areas, along with a horizontal top section

And while both can be treated the same, your ceiling is technically your ‘fifth wall.’ For this reason, you can’t go slappin’ any old white paint color on it – it deserves a little KLC.

Living room, vaulted ceiling, river rock stone fireplace, wood beams, wood trim, Kylie M Interiors Edesign, Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray paint

Photo via V1 Real Estate Photography

But before we start, I want to acknowledge that I talk a lot (in real life, too). There’s a TON OF INFORMATION  here, but only half of it relates to you and your home. If your home has a simple vaulted ceiling, read the following info. HOWEVER, if your home has a vault AND a flat area at the top, you can pop down to the next section. Or, be a super-nerd like me and read both.

If your ceiling has NO ANGLES but is high and flat, READ THIS.



Do you call it a vault, angle, slant, cathedral, or slope (I use all four terms and treat them as one)? It doesn’t matter; the idea is that you have two ceiling areas that rise on an angle, meeting in the middle (hopefully). And it can be hard to figure out what color they should be – the same as the walls, the trim, or something else entirely!

Primary bedroom, Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White, best off-white beige paint color on walls, White Dove trim and ceiling, white linens, toss cushions, wicker lamp, ikea side tables, Kylie M Edesign (2)

Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White and Benjamin Moore’s White Dove



Let’s assume your cathedral ceilings are angled but flat (no texture), and you want to paint them the same as your wall color (we’ll look at textured ceilings shortly)…

  • The lower your angled or slanted area starts, the better it looks painted the same color as the walls (as shown below).
  • If your room has a lot of natural light, angled ceilings can look good in white, off-white, light, and even some light-medium depth shades (approx. 50 LRV to 93).
  • Darker rooms can be painted darker colors (ceilings & walls), but the lower LRV a paint color has, the less light it will bounce around. This creates a moodier look.
  • If you have an uneven line where the ceiling and wall meet, painting them the same color helps disguise it. If you’re an amateur painter, this approach makes for less cutting in! It can also save money if you’re hiring a painter.
  • Painting your walls and ceiling the same color creates a seamless, restful palette, as there aren’t as many breaks in your sight line. Depending on your chosen color and depth, this can make a space look larger.
  • If you love the architectural details or shape of your ceiling, painting it the same color as your walls can dilute its effect. This is because you’re blending the point where the walls/ceilings meet.
  • Adding crown molding is another way to define your vaulted ceiling – even more so than paint color.

Guest bedroom, Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue with farmhouse country bed and decor. Kylie M E-design, virtual, online colour consulting

Not sure what LRV is? READ THIS – it’s friggin’ amazeballs.

Are there exceptions to the above?

HECK YES, it just depends on the room and its vibe. These guidelines give you some direction to help you make an educated choice for your space!

This games room/family room has the same warm shade of beige on all surfaces with red-toned wood trim and beams. This makes the room look more seamless…

Games room, family room with green felt pool table, travertine tile floor, fireplace, wood beams and wood trim, Sherwin Pavillion Beige paint colour on walls, blue sectional, wood built ins, Kylie M (1)

This room isn’t a cathedral-style vault, but you get the idea.

Personally, I might paint the ceiling a softer version of the wall color to make the beams pop and show where they join the walls. Or, for a cozier look, I might go DARKER than the walls. It’s a family room and can handle some coziness!

As for this next vaulted ceiling, the owner wanted a seamless look. In this case, painting the ceiling the same as the walls makes sense…

MSI CALACATTA IZARO quartz countertops, Oxford White painted cabinets, Sherwin Williams City Loft. Kylie M online paint color consulting, kitchen

Personally, I would like to see a contrast between the wall and the ceiling to show off the small vault! 



If your vaulted ceiling is textured or if you have popcorn ceilings, they should be the same color as the trim.

Do you have wood trim? Pick a white paint color for your ceiling that suits your wall color and your room’s finishes.

This next room is a great example of textured ceilings, wood trim, and a white ceiling…

Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue accent feature wall in bedroom behind headboard, orange stain wood trim and furniture, beige carpet, Jogging Path greige walls, KYlie M Interiors

The Best Paint Colors With Wood Trim

While we could lighten the wall color by 75% and use that on the ceiling, that can be a hit-or-miss approach as undertones can CHANGE.



While painting the ceiling and walls the same color is EASIER, the most popular choice is to match your angled ceiling sections to your trim.

Living room, vaulted ceiling, fireplace, neutral transitional style home decor and furniture. Sherwin Williams Alabaster warm white, Kylie M Interiors, Jenna Christian

When you have white walls, using the same shade of white is the BEST choice. 

Let’s assume your trim is the best color for your space. It can be tricky to have cream trim, as cream isn’t always a great ceiling color. You might consider painting your trim a more flexible, modern shade and carrying that onto the ceiling. If that’s OUT of the question, try lightening your trim color by 50% for the ceiling. Just remember, your ceiling could have a noticeable yellow hue.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have cream or warm white trim and paint your ceiling a WHITER shade, it can make your trim look even more yellow/dingy in comparison. In return, your ceiling can come off looking harsh/stark. BE CAREFUL!

The Best Paint Colors for Cream Cabinets & Trim


Wait, aren’t we assuming your trim is a good, flexible color? Yes, back to that. 

In this next bedroom, if the ceiling were painted like the walls, the room would look too heavy…

Best beige paint colour, Sherwin Williams Nomadic Desert, beige carpet, dark wood furniture in bedroom. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, top virtual color consultant and diy decorating ideas blogger (3)

The Best SLIGHTLY DARKER Shades of Beige

The exception is if the room dweller WANTS a heavy, moodier look. In that case, it could work. As it is, the ceiling matching the trim is the perfect balance for this space and its finishes.

As for this next room, there’s LIKELY a horizontal area somewhere up there, but let’s look at the bit of vault…

Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray best gray paint colour, wood floor, wood trim and headboard. Client photo, Kylie M Interiors Edesign

  • Because the walls are a slightly darker gray (Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray), painting the ceiling the same could look too stormy and heavy.
  • While the trims are wood, the soft white ceiling (Benjamin Moore’s White Dove) ties into the white linens on the bed. Without these linens, the white ceiling could look out of place.
  • Painting the vaulted areas white helps show off the peak around the window.



E-design, e-decor and online paint colour consultant, Kylie M Interiors. The best paint colours from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. Diy and budget-friendly. Market




1. Painting ANY white surface in your space the same shade of white is a great way to establish flow and consistency. I RARELY recommend mixing and matching whites.

2. A white ceiling is a great way to create flow between rooms – it becomes a visual link throughout your home.

3. As shown above, a white ceiling defines the joint between the wall and the ceiling.

A white ceiling shows off your room’s shape and architecture more than blending it in with the same color.

This next living room has a few sloped areas…

Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray, best greige, vaulted ceiling, white trim, ocean or lake view, neutral furniture. Kylie M Edesign

While the angled ceiling areas COULD be painted the same color as the walls, the white shows off the architecture and goes with the room’s vibe. Notice how the triangle-shaped vertical wall (behind the fan) is the same as the walls – NOT the ceiling.

In a room with mixed ceiling levels, more so than a room with NO flat ceiling, the color you paint your angled areas tells you which surface they belong to – walls or ceiling. 


Remember, this is a TON OF INFORMATION (#seriouscaseofverbaldiarrhea). Remember, only a tiny part relates to YOU and your home. If your home has a vaulted ceiling like the ones above – YOU’RE DONE! Zoom down to the end of this blog post and see some helpful/related blog posts.

However, if you’ve got a combination ceiling, keep on reading…



Seriously, there are SO MANY situations and exceptions. I want to hit them all for you, but we’d be here for DAYS (insert wine HERE). Instead, read the info below and look at the photos for inspiration…

Green paint colour similar to Benjamin Moore Fernwood Green, dark red cherry bedroom furniture. Kylie M Interiors CLIENT BEFORE PHOTO (2)

First, let’s ignore the horizontal part of your ceiling and focus on any ANGLES…



Some angled walls start closer to the floor or approx. eye level. The lower your angle starts, the more likely it should be painted the WALL color. Few situations exist where a low angle would be ceiling color (i.e., only if it’s textured).

In this next room (both photos), the angled area starts low, so it makes sense to paint it the same as the wall…

Benjamin Moore best green paint colour, Spanish Olive, beige tan carpet, pink bedding. Kylie M Before photo

Best green paint color, Benjamin MOore Spanish Olive, south facing light, beige tan carpet. White trim. Before photo Kylie M Edesign

The top photo shows how the wall color can reflect on the ceiling! 

The same goes for this next cozy guest room…

Benjamin Moore Gentle Cream in a guest bedroom wtih sloped ceilings and a day bed with blue accents. Kylie M Interiors E-design and Online Colour Consulting services. Expert color advice

Benjamin Moore Gentle Cream colour review by Kylie M Interiors. In guest bedroom wtih blue accents

The owner chose to paint the ceiling the same as the trims. However, because the wall color is light, they could’ve covered all drywalled surfaces.

In some rooms, the angled walls start higher, at the eight-foot+ range. Whether these are painted trim or wall color depends on the room’s size, the color’s depth, and the homeowner’s intentions (do they want light and bright or tight n’ cozy?)

As for rooms with angles or vaults that start higher (i.e., 12+ feet), it’s a mixed bag. As an example, this next living room’s angle starts super high…

White Duck and Simply White, BEnjamin and Sherwin, vaulted fireplace with mouldings and brown stone.

Thanks to the lighter color on the walls, they COULD paint the ceiling the same. However, the white ceiling makes the room feel grand and a bit brighter than it would with non-white ceilings.

Each space has its vibe, but many rooms can handle both approaches.

In this next bedroom, the vault starts at a standard height of 8-9 feet and looks flat (in texture)…

Sherwin Williams Repose Gray, best gray paint colour, bedroom with beige carpet and patterned drapes. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color consultant

While the current wall color (Repose Gray) is too dark for the walls AND ceiling, it could be great for all surfaces if the walls were lighter (like a flexible, warm off-white).

Because this next ceiling is textured, it’s best painted white…

Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan, rustic wood feature wall behind tv, vaulted ceiling. Home staging ideas. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, paint colour advice (1)

The Best MODERN Beige & Tan Paint Colors

In this next hallway that leads into a great room, any ceiling area (non-vertical wall) is the same color as the trim (Benjamin Moore White Dove). Only the vertical wall space behind the pendant light is wall color as it BELONGS to the walls, not the ceiling…

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, Entryway with vaulted ceiling, painted Sherwin Williams Collonade Gray, oversize clock and bench

Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray

As for the horizontal, flat expanse of the ceiling…



Regardless of how high your angled walls start, note the SIZE of any flat, horizontal ceiling area.

However, this ‘highest part of your ceiling‘ isn’t always perfectly horizontal – it can even have an angle (shown below). The idea is that it acts as the ‘top layer of ceiling’…

Ocean or lake home, Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray, vaulted ceiling in living room with neutrals. Kylie M.

Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray with Pure White trim and ceiling

In the following info, ‘flat horizontal ceiling’ also refers to the above ceiling layout.

And while I could go on and on with mundane little points, for the sake of brevity and my last remaining thread of sanity, let’s bullet-point this bad boy…

  • It’s more common to find angled walls with small, flat horizontal areas in bedrooms, kitchens, and entryways.
  • Great rooms and living rooms often have vaulted walls with larger flat horizontal expanses of ceiling.
  • The smaller the room, regardless of the DEPTH of the wall color, the MORE LIKELY it is that all surfaces can be the same – walls, angles, flat ceiling – sometimes trim, too!
  • If your highest horizontal ceiling area is EXPANSIVE and your walls are DARK, it should more likely match the trim (assuming your trim is the best color for your room).
  • On the other hand, if your highest ceiling area is big and your walls are LIGHT, it could match the trim OR the walls (assuming you’ve painted the angled areas this as well).
  • More COLORFUL walls can overwhelm a room if this color extends to the ceiling. Sometimes, you can include the angled walls, but if so, the horizontal area matching the trim is often the best choice.
  • Remember, if your ceiling is textured, it should be painted with white ceiling paint or a lighter version of the wall.
  • If your room has a lot of white (trim/linens/decor), a white ceiling can add to the palette and create a connection.
  • Flat ceilings are ALMOST ALWAYS painted in a flat sheen. Gloss/sheen will show off imperfections.



In this next kid’s bedroom, the white ceiling gives visual relief to the blue and gives it something to contrast and play with…

Benjamin Moore Colorado Gray in boy or tween bedroom. Gray accents and wood bed. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, edecor and online paint color consulting blog. Best blue paint colour

Plus, a blue ceiling in this room would be too much of a good thing- white makes sense, especially with the decor. However, if you remove the white bedding, the white ceiling won’t look nearly as at home!

This great room (below) has a large vaulted ceiling that looks best painted white, like the trim…

Open concept great room, kitchen, living room, Sherwin Williams Repose Gray on walls, light wood floor. Kylie M

Notice how the natural light shifts and makes the white look grayer in some areas. Imagine if the ceiling were as dark as the walls; it would be HEAVY.

This next bedroom is perfectly balanced…

Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue, best blue paint colour. Guest bedroom. antique furniture. Kylie M Interiors E-decor, design and ONline Colour Consulting services

The Best Blue-Green Blend Paint Colors

The angled walls start low, so visually, they BELONG to the wall space, not the ceiling. This means they best suit being matched to the walls. However, the flat ceiling area is substantial and looks best in white (which matches the trim).

Which surface do you want your angled walls to BELONG to – your walls or your ceiling? 



Considering ALL types – tall, short, big, and hairy (sounds like my old dating life), based on my Online Paint Color Consulting experience, here’s what many of my clients with vaulted ceilings do…



Of those with a small room and ONLY a vaulted ceiling (no flat area at the top), it’s about 60/40. 60% of my clients paint their angled walls to match the trim. The remaining 40% paint their angled ceilings the same as the walls (more so with subtle, light shades, but even with some darker ones).

Sherwin Williams On the Rocks, HIgh Reflective White bathroom, corner bathtub, white vanity, marble look quartz counterto, wainscoting, Kylie M Interiors, Jenna Christian

An exception would be bathrooms. While the one shown above has a white ceiling, it’s very common to paint the ceiling in a bathroom the same as the walls.

4 Ideas to Jazz Up a Small Bathroom



In large rooms with only a vault and no flat area, 85% paint it the same as the trim, and the remaining 15% paint it the same as the walls (more so with subtle, light shades).

Best neutral beige, tan paint colour, Sherwin Sandbar. Living room, built-ins, fireplace, vaulted ceiling, Alabaster trim. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

The Best Beige & Tan Paint Colors With MORE DEPTH

Remember, ceilings pick up natural and interior light in weird ways – even a white ceiling can look softer than you expect. The above ceiling is painted Sherwin Williams Alabaster, as are the trim and built-ins.

This next living room has walls and ceilings painted Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige and it looks great. While this approach isn’t as common, it can look great…

Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige paint colour in open layout with brown leather furniture. Kylie M E-design, online colour expert



Of my clients with angled ceilings and some form of ‘top-level ceiling’ area, if the room is small, the angled walls are more often wall color. As for the top level of the ceiling, it’s 50/50. However, it’s less common to have a small room with a vault AND a top-level ceiling (they’re often too small to accommodate both).



  • If the room is large, with a vaulted ceiling and a top flat level, 80% paint ALL of the ceiling areas the same as the trim (unless the angle starts super low).
  • Approximately 15% paint the angled wall the same as the main walls. As for the horizontal ceiling area, it’s more often matched to the trim. This is even MORE so with dark colors.
  • The remaining 5% paint the angled wall AND flat ceiling another color entirely that coordinates with the walls and trim.

That’s right, flat (not textured) sloped or angled ceilings offer the opportunity to do a carefully coordinated three-color palette (wall/ceiling/trim), as shown in this bedroom…

Sherwin Williams Night Owl, Stone Hearth on ceiling. Dark green paint color moody bedroom

Sherwin Williams Night Owl with Benjamin Moore Stone Hearth

The Best Paint Colors for Ceilings: White, Medium, & Dark

And, of course, if you have white walls and a vault, angled, or sloped ceiling, there is NEVER any good reason to do a different shade of white on your ceiling…ever. You risk a hot mess of whites with clashing undertones if you do.

Primary Bedroom, white, black, gray colour scheme, white board and batten paint color, vaulted ceiling, cellular blinds Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color advice blog

Sherwin Williams High Reflective White on all painted surfaces.



Sometimes, there’s no rhyme nor reason to the connection between walls and ceiling, as shown in this dining room…

Dining room with gray paint colour on the walls and sloped, cove style ceiling. Benjamin Moore Storm, Kylie M Interiors Edesign

While it might intend to look like cove-molding…it doesn’t.In this case, painting the walls and ceiling the same color helps to simplify the wall-ceiling connection.

Ideally, the above ceiling would be flat – it shouldn’t BE textured. However, when you’ve got an existing space you’re working with, you often have to find a happy medium!


Should My Ceiling Color Match My Trim or Walls? PART 1

The Best Ceiling Paint Colors: Light, Medium, & More: PART 2

Tray Ceilings: What Color They Should Be Painted: PART 4

What Color Should You Paint Your HIGH Ceiling (PART 5)




The best neutral paint colours. Edesign, edecor with Kylie M Interiors diy decorating and design advice. Market

Chat soon, 

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, signature, online paint colour consultant using Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paint colours. DIY update advice ideas


  1. I am caught between chantilly lace or white dove for a South facing hall stairs and landing my doors are painted Revere Pewter. I want a bright white with no yellow or cream undertones.

    Can you help please

    1. Post

      If you don’t want yellow/cream, don’t do White Dove as it’s a warm creamy white. The thing is, with south-facing light, ANY white will lean warm, even a cool one – that’s not about the paint color, that’s about the exposure. Chantilly Lace does have a tiny touch of softness, but it’s not at all comparable to the warmth of White Dove. Again, it will pick up yellow from the sun, absolutely, but short of covering your windows, that’s hard to avoid!

  2. Help! I have a south facing open floor plan kitchen/family room with a vaulted ceiling. I have BM Cloud White on the walls. I thought about painting the ceiling Cloud White or maybe 25% lighter version of Cloud White. Or should I just leave it a flat ceiling white?
    Thank you!

    1. Post

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