What are the rules for painting your ceiling? Should you paint your walls and ceilings the same color? What colors are best for painting your ceiling? What color combinations should you use to enhance the look and feel of your room? The answers to these questions will depend on your personal style and the type of space you’re working with.
Painting your walls and ceiling the same color, or “color drenching” as it is often called, has recently gained in popularity. Typically, painting your walls and ceilings the same color makes your room look bigger. The seamless transition from wall to ceiling draws your eyes upward, giving the appearance of more space. Using crown molding will magnify this effect because it creates the illusion of more height in the room. Using lighter shades like creams, pastels, or whites will help to maximize this effect. There are, however, pros and cons to using this technique.
Pros of Painting Walls and Ceilings the Same Color:
It creates a seamless look.
You avoid using conflicting undertones.
It can bring a cozy feeling to a large room.
With the right colors, it can make a room look larger.
The painting process is easier when the walls and ceilings are the same color
It’s ideal for small rooms like bathrooms
Cons of Painting Walls and Ceilings the Same Color:
It may look “over the top” if you use a bold color on both walls and ceilings.
You may end up with a closed in look, especially if there aren’t natural lighting sources in your room.
You can end up with a monotone look.
Your room may end up feeling boxy or closed in.
It’s not ideal for large rooms.
Best Ceiling Paint Colors
Since painting and decorating your home is all about your personal style and preferences, there’s no way to determine what the best colors are. However, there are some helpful tips we recommend when choosing paint colors.
Neutral tones are classic and look good with almost every color palette, and they never go out of style.
Take color cues from your existing furnishings, artwork, window coverings, and existing flooring.
Try using peel-and-stick paint samples. Choose a color sample you like and leave it up on your wall or ceiling for a few days. Paint can look very different depending on its exposure to the surrounding light sources, especially natural sunlight. Having a peel-and-stick sample up on your wall for a few days helps you to see how you really feel about it.
If you’re painting your walls and ceiling the same color, it’s important to note that dark or light colors work best. In our experience, medium tones don’t end up creating a desirable look when the ceiling and walls are the same color.
The most popular color people use to paint their ceilings is white. White reflects the most amount of light, which creates a look of more space. A white ceiling will effectively showcase your furnishings and wall decor. Another benefit of white paint is that it’s easy to use and to touch up, and it helps to cover flaws and imperfections. When painting with dark colors, you often run into the problem of the paint bleeding through the tape, which makes even small mistakes stand out. Since your ceiling reflects light as much or more than your other four walls, a white ceiling can greatly affect the amount of light in the room.
If your walls are white or neutral, you may want to consider using a soft pastel color like pale green, a lighter peach, a very pale yellow, or a sky blue. These colors will give a breezy feel to your space. Sky blue, in particular, will give your room the feeling of being outside.
A red ceiling can add a confident and striking look to your room. A red ceiling pairs well with white, off-white or light gray walls. You could also try burgundy for a more understated look.
The color gray is interesting because it adapts to the lighting in your room, and can bring a calm yet sophisticated feeling to your space. Gray has undertones of white and black, but also of green and blue, which is why it is so adaptable to a wide range of color palettes. You can pair it with neutral colors such as beige, off-white, white, or blue for a relaxing feel. Gray also blends in well with brighter colors such as pink, orange, purple, or dark shades of blue.
Same Color, Different Shade. Within every color is a spectrum of many different shades and intensities. For a cohesive look that still adds variety, try painting your walls one color, and your ceiling a different shade of that same color. Keep in mind, however, that two shades from the same color won’t automatically go well together.This is because different shades may have different undertones, and those undertones may not go well together. We recommend choosing a single color, then matching it with other colors along the same color gradient.
Same Temperature Color Combinations. Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel are considered “same temperature” colors. Blue and green, red and orange are a few examples of this. These combinations work well together.
Light Ceilings, Dark Walls. This is the most traditional wall-to-ceiling combination since most people paint their ceilings white. It’s also an excellent choice for small spaces. If you have light-colored furniture, it will naturally stand out against darker walls.
Dark Ceilings, Light Walls. Colors like navy, dark brown, and black are becoming a frequent choice for ceiling colors. They create a modern, contemporary look while also creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Keep in mind that a dark ceiling may not be the best choice if your room has very little natural light.
Dark Walls, Slightly Lighter Ceiling. If you like the idea of dark walls and want a dark ceiling as well, you may want to try the ceiling color paint at a 75% strength of the original color of the wall paint. This will give your room the color-drenched effect without it feeling oversaturated.
Ceiling Paint vs. Wall Paint: What’s The Difference?
The typical type of paint used for walls is latex-based. The latex helps the paint go on smoothly. However, it is also very common for latex paint to drip while you are painting. If you try using this type of paint for your ceiling, there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing with constant paint drops all over your floor.
Ceiling paint is thicker and stickier than your standard wall paint, and therefore less likely to drip. Its thickness also helps to hide any existing stains or blemishes your ceiling may have. For rooms with low humidity like your bedroom or living room, we recommend using a flat acrylic ceiling paint. Flat or matte paints don’t reflect much light, making them great choices for most ceilings. For rooms with higher humidity, like your laundry room or bathroom, we recommend satin sheen acrylic paint. It is less prone to cracking, staining, and chipping in humid environments than flat paint.
While painting your ceiling, you will be standing on a stool or a ladder for extended periods of time. This can become uncomfortable, and might also pose a safety risk if you have particularly high ceilings. It can be tricky and challenging.
If you have questions about painting your ceiling or just want a professional to get the job done for you, contact Diamond Star Painting. We have decades of experience dealing with the difficulty of working in high places while still producing fantastic work. Our specialized equipment enables us to get into nooks and crannies, reach behind light fixtures, and safely get up to the peaks of your vaulted ceilings. We serve the Sacramento area including Folsom and Rocklin. We can also paint your walls, kitchen cabinets, and do your exterior painting as well, whether it be residential or commercial. Contact us today for a free estimate!