You’ve changed up your room with a fresh coat of paint, but now the ceiling is out of place and drab. It also needs a freshening, but what color should you use? Can the ceiling and wall be the same color, or should it be something else? We’ve done research on the matter, and we have some answers and recommendations for you.
A ceiling is often white, but not always. There are many good reasons you may want to paint your ceiling the same color as the walls:
- It brings a room together and adds cohesion.
- It makes a large space feel smaller.
- Can make overly high ceilings feel lower
- Draws attention away from a detailed ceiling so you can place the focus elsewhere
But the reverse is often true if you paint your ceilings a contrasting color. While flat white is the most common color for a ceiling, you can add drama or redirect attention by using color in a creative way.
We discuss ceiling color choice in more detail below and give suggestions of when to paint the ceilings to match the walls and when not to. Please keep reading.
Should Ceilings And Walls Match?
When you are updating your room, you may start by giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. This can make the room look brighter, bolder, or more subdued, depending on your color selection. But sometimes, it can make you realize just how badly you need to repaint the ceiling as well.
There are times when you can use the ceiling color to emphasize or de-emphasize parts of your room. White ceilings are typical and are great at brightening a room, but they aren’t always the right answer.
Match Wall & Ceiling Color To Make Room Seem Smaller
When your ceiling color is the same as your wall color, you make your room seem smaller, cozier, and more subdued. But this also has the effect of making the room seem cave-like, in some instances. Consider this room:
By having the same dark color on the walls and the ceiling, your eyes have a hard time telling where the ceiling begins, and the wall ends. This can make your room feel claustrophobic. But it has the added effect of making the white trim stand out, making that the room's focal point.
White Ceilings Make Room Feel Bigger
If your room already feels small or isn’t trying to draw focus to something else, a white ceiling may be the best choice. This often makes the room feel bigger and taller. A flat white ceiling tends to become background and doesn’t gain a lot of attention unless it has detailed trim on it or special lighting. That is a good thing if you want the focus to be elsewhere. Consider this room:
You would not often have anyone even think of the ceiling in this room. It’s just there, casually blending in. But if the ceiling were the same color as the walls, the room could feel more like a cave.
Ceiling Color To Make A Statement
Ceiling colors can also make a bold statement. Like in this room:
When you select the paint color for your ceiling, keep in mind what your goals are. Do you want to make the room seem larger or smaller? Should the ceiling be a focal point or blend in? Don’t lock yourself in on white with that in mind, and don’t be afraid to try a new color. Just remember these tips:
Ceiling the same color as the wall:
- Can de-emphasize the ceiling
- It makes a room feel smaller.
- Can make a room seem darker
- Can make a high ceiling seem lower
Contrasting ceiling and wall colors:
- Can add attention to the ceiling
- Can make the ceiling seem higher
- Often makes a room seem larger.
- Make the room brighter.
- Can make the room feel larger
- It can be a less cozy feeling.
- Become background and are less noticed
Your choice depends mostly on your room design and your preference. You can’t go wrong, so be willing to try something different. Even if you don’t like the result, you are just one paint job away from changing it, and you may never know if you like something new until you try it.
Should Ceiling Match Trim?
Many designers like to match the trim and the ceiling color. By matching, they can help bring the room together and give a unified look. But this can sometimes take focus away from the trim. If you have a thick crown molding, it can also start to make the room feel top-heavy, especially in small rooms.
Many people prefer to use a slightly different shade for their trim but in the same color. So if the ceiling is a light cream color, paint the trim a darker cream. It still makes it feel unified but can make the trim stand out a little more. This also provides a break between the ceiling and molding, keeping the room from feeling as top-heavy.
Some people like their trim to stand out and become the focal point of the room, and they use a strongly contrasting color to bring attention to the molding, like this room:
When in doubt, most people go with a semi-gloss white. It is a choice that works well in almost all situations.
Why You Should Paint Your Ceilings Black?
While most people would never think of using black as a ceiling color, there are some excellent reasons to consider it. A few of the reasons you may consider black are:
- It makes the ceiling look lower in a tall room.
- Can add drama to your room.
- To tie-in to other black elements in the room, such as black trim.
Whenever you paint your ceiling a dark color, it makes the room feel smaller, and the ceiling seems closer. This is especially true with black.
While black can make a bold statement in your room, remember that it makes it harder to light the room. Black does not reflect light well, and this can be a problem in a space that doesn’t have good lighting, to begin with.
Black can add a lot of visual weight to the top part of a room, making the room feel off balance.
But a black and white pattern can work very well in a room, too. And in those cases, the black ceiling is the right choice.
How Do You Make Low Ceilings Look Higher?
Sometimes the ceiling in a room seems too low. You don’t have to put up with the claustrophobic feel, though, because there are ways to mitigate the problem and make your low ceilings seem higher.
- Paint the ceiling white. This is the number one tip that comes up when you research this. It makes the ceiling recede from your eyes and the room feel taller. It also brightens a room.
- Minimize the crown molding as much as possible. You can do this by replacing it with very thin molding or removing it altogether.
- Use high gloss paint on the ceiling. This allows light to reflect off the surface and makes the ceiling seem farther away.
- Paint vertical stripes on your walls or use striped wallpaper. This has the effect of drawing your eyes upward, making the room seem taller because of it.
Using any of these tips, or a combination of them, you can make your low ceilings seem much higher and make your cave-like room feel more open and airy.
While you can paint your ceilings and walls the same color, you can get different effects using contrasting colors. We’ve discussed some of the reasons for each. Don’t be afraid to experiment because you are only a fresh coat of paint away from undoing any color choice that doesn’t work.
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