What Colour Should Your Ceiling Be?

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11 Aug 2011


Look closely at the rooms pictured.

Do you notice how the ceiling seems to visually drop down, making the room seem lower and more cosy?

By painting the ceiling in a darker colour these high-ceilinged rooms have been visually altered so that the ceiling appears lower than it actually is.

In the room above, the ceiling is painted in the same colour as the walls, with the opposite effect of the first room - the ceiling appears to float above the room, creating a sense of height and spaciousness.

This is one room where you spend a lot of time looking at the ceiling, so why not paint it?


Consider painting the ceiling in a tint closely matching the wall colour.

For example: If your walls are a light or pale blue, then your ceiling would be the very lightest blue on the colour swatch or even lighter.

This will help to round out the room and make the ceiling part of the overall decor — not just a white sheet over the top.

The colour that you choose for a ceiling is affected not only by the natural and artificial light in a room, but also by other colours used in the space.


When choosing a colour for the ceiling do the same as you would for the walls; select paint swatches and attach them to various corners of your ceiling.

As the light and shadows play on your samples, you will soon see how this affects the various swatches and will help you to choose the best one for the ceiling in that room.

In a dark or south-facing room, a white ceiling will help bounce light back into the room, but light colours on the ceiling will have the same effect.

Wall colours have become more adventurous over the years, moving away from the uninspiring standard white emulsion to a rainbow of colours.


This move has brought about more interest in the '5th" wall - the ceiling. White is rarely the best colour to use, particularly if bold wall tones are injected into your living area.

We already know that a white ceiling is a good paint colour for any room, but in certain rooms, such as studies and libraries, a white ceiling would look rather out of place.

In a room with dark, solid colour, the alternative is to select a colour that is lighter than the wall colour so that the room does not feel claustrophobic.

A room with colourful ceilings immediately draws your eyes upwards to the ceiling, giving the room an illusion of more height and less closed-in.

So the answer is "Yes".

You can paint a ceiling in other colours, unless the ceiling is heavily textured or patterned and therefore very difficult to paint well.


In this case, painting it anything other than white will call attention to it and maybe that’s not what you want. 

To create a nice contrast in a plain white room you should select an accent colour - as can be seen below with colour taken from the artwork on the wall - and apply this colour to the ceiling. Not recommended for a low ceiling, as the effect is dramatic and appealing.

As for paint techniques and textured ceilings... If the right colours and textures are used there is no reason why you cannot apply them to a ceiling.

Applying a paint technique to the ceiling can unify a room by bringing together elements in the space.



In a room with very high ceilings, you may want to visually lower the ceiling by considering painting the ceiling in a colour darker than that of the wall colour.

Adding decorative moulding will also visually lower the ceiling by drawing your eye to the detail.


 Black walls and satin black ceilings allow everything else in the room to stand out.

By painting the walls and ceiling in the same colour, the ceiling becomes part of the background of the room.

Other items in the room such as the furniture or accessories will draw the eye and be more visually apparent.


While you can choose any colour on your ceiling, keep in mind that dark colours make the ceiling lower, while light tones allow the ceiling to hover effortlessly above.


If painting seems like to much work, think about adding wallpaper to the ceiling. The eye-catching ceiling detail really adds more effect to this country kitchen.

A word of advice though... make sure you apply the wallpaper past over the entire paper and particularly the edges. The last thing you want is wallpaper peeling off the ceiling!

Article courtesy of: www.home-dzine.co.za

Readers' Comments Have a comment about this article? Email us now.

Had a smaller house with darker rooms and now a bigger one with mostly sunny rooms. Both were painted Dulux  Gardenia (1st time around the original and in the 2nd house mixed to the colour by Hot Pot/Dulux Boksburg as this colour product not on the market any more) The walls and ceilings all the same. On the 1st the trimmings like door jambs etc was Vanilla Rice (a darker colour) and now 5 liter white mixed with 5 ml Yellow Ochre to make it a ligter collour and both looks smart. Can’t believe how the sun is playing havoc on the Gardenia colour. For me one of the best colours that exist! - Johan

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Home - Dzine

Home - Dzine

Your online source of ideas and inspiration.

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