how to - choose a ceiling colour

How to choose a ceiling colour
{white or not?}

Your ceiling, also known as the fifth wall, and it's colour can play a major role in a room’s design. If you ceiling colour isn't quite right it can throw off the entire room. We can't have that, can we?

Here are my suggestions to help you choose a ceiling colour

First, whites have always been the safest choice for ceilings, it's got reflective qualities to make a room feel larger and brighter than it really is. This can help with rooms with little natural light. If your room has a lot of white in it already with it's furnishings or trim, then a white ceiling would look great. A white ceiling will draw the attention away from the ceiling and onto the walls and furnishings.

If your space has either cool or warm undertones that you know of, you can choose one of the many shades of white that paint companies mix that are cool or warm too.

A ceiling painted the same colour as the walls works for rooms with arched or angled ceilings and for smaller rooms such as powder rooms. This will unify the ceiling and the eye will graze over any hard lines. Any trim should be painted to contrast with the wall and ceiling colour (unless the trim work needs to be visually hidden), and an off-white colour works for this look.

Another idea is to paint the ceiling in the same colour as the walls but have the paint mixed by half or quarter strength. This works with rooms without any crown moulding to help with colour transition. If your space has painted trim, you could paint your ceiling with the trim colour mixed with half white and this will ensure the tones are correct.

Darker painted ceilings will visually lower the ceiling and add a more cozy and intimate feel to the space. This was traditionally recommended for larger rooms with higher ceilings but can look great in a small space if done correctly. Hang an eye catching light fixture such as a crystal chandelier and it will become the focal point.

A coffered ceiling or any ceiling with architectural moulding looks great painted with accent colours and will highlight the trim work. If you don't have the trim work in place you could always stencil in a design for huge impact.

Whichever colour you pick for your ceiling flat paint is best as it hides any imperfections.

Have you got any more tips or suggestions for choosing a paint colour for your ceiling? Please let me know in the comments section below! Thanks for visiting!


  1. This was a great read, Heather. We are at the point of needing to paint one or two rooms and I know I'll be pulling this post up again.
    You were missed on Saturday. It would have been lovy to have had your company. Perhaps next time.

  2. We re-did our powder room last January and I went out of my comfort zone and painted the ceiling the same colour as the walls and I absolutely LOVE it!

  3. I have never even thought to paint the ceiling anything other then white, but i really like this idea

  4. I remember Sarah Richardson always painting the ceiling a slightly different colour in her shows and I loved it. I love painting the ceiling a little more on the bluer side if your walls are on the cooler side or especially white. Great subject to blog about.

  5. Do you recommend to always paint the ceiling? None of ours are painted (beyond what the builder did). What about textured ceilings?

  6. Great post Heather. I always try to pay attention to the ceilings, they can be a highlight as you say or played down if necessary. I'm really liking the highly sheened ceilings that are being shown now, needless to say this is a statement in a room so the rest of the space should be subdued.

  7. I have always used ceiling white with only a few exceptions. One was in the tiny bedroom of my first home. I used the palest aqua, and I loved looking at that ceiling while lying in my bed!

  8. Great tips! My latest love is wallpapered ceilings in small rooms like bathrooms or dining rooms- so pretty!

  9. Great tips! We've about to tackle our master bedroom and hallway ceilings. I've always been on the white bandwagon, but may go for a slight tint. The slopped ceiling in our master may be a great place to play with a bit of colour.

  10. Hi Heather,
    When we built the cottage, I just painted everything creamy white. Now I'm starting to think of changing it up. GREAT tips as always.

  11. I've always used white.... hmm, suddenly feeling like I need to change it up!

  12. Thank you for sharing this! I will be coming back when the time comes to paint my ceilings!

  13. Great tips Heather and you are so right that a ceiling is the 5th wall!


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