Master The Painted Ceiling For The Ultimate Design Flex

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painted ceiling jewel tone blue room

Before choosing a ceiling color, Houston-based designer Marie Flanigan recommends considering the floor plan. While she suggests a cohesive palette for open areas, jewel box spaces like this offset office allow for more fun. (Photo: Julie Soefer)

Why should walls get all the love? We tapped designers across the country to make the case for the painted ceiling. Here are the top takeaways to ensure your commitment to color—whether neutral or bold—masterfully extends to the fifth wall.


FEEL OUT HEIGHT AND LIGHT

white entry painted in sherwin williams pure white with dramatic lighting

For Houston designer Nina Magon, Pure White by Sherwin is foolproof for brightening up the right room. (Photo: Julie Soefer)

THE SUMMARY:

Beams and molding may present the opportunity to create loftier spaces, while rooms with lower ceilings may beckon for a bit of drama. Before plotting your ceiling redux, consider the amount of light the space receives. This can greatly impact how spacious or snug a room feels.

THE DEEP DIVE:

“If you have beams or other architectural details, I paint them a darker shade of the same hue as the ceiling. It’s a great opportunity to bring in more than one color or finish to accentuate the architectural elements.”— Jeff Andrews, Jeff Andrews Design

“Paint your ceilings white for reflectiveness, or a lighter color to add height to your space.”—Nina Magon, Nina Magon Studio

“One of my favorite tricks is to use a rich color on walls and ceiling in a small room. It blurs the ceiling line and makes the room feel more expansive.”—Courtney McLeod, Right Meets Left Interior Design


SET THE MOOD

black moody bedroom in Midnight Blue by Benjamin Moore

“A brightly colored ceiling can liven up a living room or office, while a dark ceiling is perfect for a cozy, moody bedroom,” says San Francisco designer Jay Jeffers, whose moody go-to is Midnight Blue by Benjamin Moore. (Photo: Matthew Millman)

THE SUMMARY:

Whether tackling convivial social spaces or zen fortresses of solitude, consider the feeling you want a room to evoke. Ceiling colors can be real mood-setters, and you want to ensure you’re right on point.

THE GUIDING WORDS: 

“If the aim is to go cozy, then consider continuing the wall color on the ceiling.  If you’re looking to energize a space, a ceiling that functions as an accent wall is perfect. If you want a soothing space, a softer hue is the way to go.”—Cheryl Luckett, Dwell By Cheryl Interiors

“Typically, social rooms, such as a living room or dining room, are complemented by warm colors like yellow, coral or cranberry. Smaller, private rooms, such as the bedroom or powder room, are complemented by cooler shades like sage-green, violets and blues.”—Jay Jeffers, Jay Jeffers

“Painting a ceiling an unusual color can ignite your inner bravery. Your choice can be an ongoing source of delight and a constant reminder of the joys of our colorful world.”—Katie Leede, Katie Leede & Co.


CARRY THE COLOR PALETTE

purple bedroom hallway in Benjamin Moore’s Wild Mulberry

“Paint the room and the ceiling the same color for added drama,” advises New York designer Kati Curtis, who used Benjamin Moore’s Wild Mulberry in a recent Rye project. (Photo: Eric Piasecki)

THE SUMMARY:

Carry the look of a room on to the ceiling by selecting paints that complement the overall color scheme of the home. Pick up hues from furniture, curtains or artwork—particularly when working with open floor plans.

THE SUPPORTING ARGUMENTS:

“Painting a ceiling adds depth and interest, particularly if the ceiling is a beautiful accent color that enhances the room. The ceiling color could pull colors from the rug, curtains, or other design elements in the room.” –Kati Curtis, Kati Curtis Design

“If we are going white on the ceiling, I’ll have the painters mix in a few dollops of the wall color.  It helps marry the hues together.” –Jeff Andrews, Jeff Andrews Design

“Consider whether your rooms need to work in harmony or can stand alone. Jewel box spaces, like an offset office or dining room, allow for more risks with paint colors and décor.”—Marie Flanigan, Marie Flanigan Interiors


TAKE A CHANCE

living room with metallic cieling

Consider a touch of metallic for the ceiling, says New York designer Josh Greene, whose go-to is Oyster by Metallic Masters. But word to the wise: “You definitely need a level 5 finish and an experienced painter to spray it on.” (Photo: Eric Piasecki)

THE SUMMARY:

Add a dash of flair to a room’s final look with some dramatic details. Reminder: Opting for light-reflecting finishes can elevate your space by creating interest and adding depth.

THE CONFIDENCE BOOST:

“Don’t shy away from being imaginative! Be old-fashioned and hire a muralist to paint a gorgeous bit of glorious sky. Or splurge on some sexy gold leafing to add some glitz and glamour.”—Katie Leede, Katie Leede & Co.

“A hint of metallic to a ceiling gives it a glowing touch. But don’t be fooled by the word metallic, the overall effect is very subtle.”—Josh Greene, Josh Greene Design

“If you have the budget and highly skilled painters, nothing beats the elegance and glamour of a high-gloss painted ceiling.” —Courtney McLeod, Right Meets Left Interior Design