How to Choose the Best Paint Colour for Your Ceiling
(Partner post to ‘The 3 Best Benjamin Moore Off-White Paint Colours’)
When you’re updating your wall colours, one thing usually leads to another and you often end up painting not just the walls, but the ceiling and trim as well.
That’s right, you don’t just have to choose a colour for your WALLS, but for your CEILING TOO – WILL THE MADNESS EVER END!?
But have no fear, ceilings aren’t that hard to figure out once you know what your choices are…
Ceiling Paint Idea #1
Paint the Ceiling the Same Colour as the Trim
For longevity, this is always a good choice as no matter what colour you do the walls in later years, the ceiling can always stay the same!
Works Best For:
- Consistency and simplicity
- The same ceiling running through different rooms
- If you are OCD about your wall colours like me and change colours frequently
- Textured ceiling or flat ceiling
- Small rooms or rooms with a low ceiling (as long as the walls are light coloured)
Points to Ponder (the good, bad and ugly)
- It’s consistent and easy to remember when you’re painting walls or doing touch-ups.
- If your walls are painted a medium or dark colour, a white ceiling/trim can make the space look smaller due to the high contrast. Low contrast can make a space look larger than it is.
- Remember, your ceiling is likely to pick up reflections from other colours so even a white ceiling can look subtly different in every room!
Ceiling Paint Idea #2
Paint the Ceiling a Lighter Version of the Wall Colour
This is nice for a softer, lower contrast look, but can be tricky to mix and match as ‘lightened versions’ of the wall colour CAN work, but aren’t always the best match.
Works Best For:
- Small rooms or rooms with a low ceiling.
- A low contrast look – can make a space look bigger / ceiling look higher.
- Tone-on-tone – less visual interruption for a more simple look
- This works well if you want a low-contrast, tone-on-tone look
Points to Ponder
- If you like to change your wall colour every so often you’ll scream bloody murder when you realize you have to change the ceiling colour as well
- In a home with many different wall colours/ceiling colours, it can get a bit busy with no ‘common thread’
- It is not fool-proof as often the lighter version of a wall colour is not as nice as the original and the undertones CAN shift. Be sure to get samples and check them ou
Important Note: Always have your paint company mix a sample pot for you. Why? Well if your wall colour has a lot of red or orange in it, the lighter version may be quite ‘pink or peach’. Or maybe that fresh green you love on your walls turns into a mint green on your ceiling. You’ll be pretty safe when dealing with neutrals, but as soon as you are considering colour, make sure you get it tested. (Hey, if I got Tim tested, surely you can get your paint colour tested)
Benjamin Moore cannot lighten/darken their own sample pots. To get a sample of a BM colour lightened, have H.Depot colour match it for you and mix it into one of their own sample pots – they can lighten and darken it for you with their paint mixing system.
Ceiling Paint Idea #3
Paint the Ceiling the Same Colour as the Walls
This is one you have to be careful with as it won’t work in every room!
Works Best For:
- Rooms with flat ceilings
- If your wall meets your ceiling and doesn’t necessarily run straight and level
- Rooms with either a light paint colour OR dark paint colour – does not work as well with medium tones
- Small room with either a small ceiling or ceiling that slopes to a small postage stamp size
Points to Ponder
- Contrary to popular belief, you can also do this with a darker paint colour as darker colours can make corners recede and actually make a space look larger. A white ceiling with dark walls is a ‘high contrast’ look which can make a space look smaller.
- Less tedious cutting in to do (hurray!) as you can just slap in in those corners and get rolling!
- Ceilings are usually a flat finish and you might not want this finish on your walls so don’t be afraid to change the sheen level from your walls to ceiling.
Ceiling Paint Idea #4
Paint the Ceiling Darker Than The Walls
This is great for a more moody, intimate approach (also great for tray ceilings)
See the whole project here: E-Design Home Theater
- High ceilings
- To make a room feel more intimate
- To accent crown moulding
When I say ‘darker’ you can take me literally or not. Dark can simply be a few tones darker than the wall colour or something striking and high contrast like the photo above…
If you have a high ceiling and it is a flat finish, consider painting it a darker colour. 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 colours bring out texture which can make it a feature (not a good thing).
Dark or coloured ceilings can accent beautiful crown moulding and decorative details – more so than a light paint colour.
Have Some Fun!
If you’re feeling brave and really want to step outside of the decorative box, consider doing a finish on your ceilings that is metallic, pearlescent, fresco or textured. Benjamin Moore and Martha Stewart have some fabulous finishes (online doesn’t show well, its best to go to the store).