Design Decisions

What Color Should You Paint Your Ceiling?

Design: Tamara Magel

A common question that comes up when talking about paint is what color to paint the ceiling. For many years people didn’t sway from the “normal” white ceiling paint. This was the safe look and people didn’t think otherwise. Now, with so many options out there, painting ceilings just a “normal” white has become a thing of the past.

There are many options for what color choices you can go with, but ultimately it is about what look you are going for and personal taste. Here are a few ideas. Let us know if you have any to add.

Painting the Ceiling the Same Color as Trim and Walls

Painting the ceiling the same color as the trim and walls is our favorite option. Our walls, ceiling, and trim are all painted with Sherwin Williams Creamy. There are actually many benefits to doing this. First, the painter will absolutely love you and maybe will even give you a break. You will not have to worry about cutting in and the paint job will go much faster.

Another reason we love this color combination is because we are always trying to achieve a more clean, elegant look. Using one color on all the walls, trim, and ceiling creates more of a modern open look. Using the same color throughout is also much easier when painting vaulted ceilings. You do not have to guess where to stop the paint.

Painting the Ceiling a Lighter Color Than the Walls

Did you know that painting your ceiling a lighter color than the walls gives the illusion of them being higher. I thought that was interesting even though we normally don’t go this route. Using a lighter color ceiling also takes any attention off of the ceiling focusing it more on the room wall color and furnishings within a room.

This is actually probably one of the most common combinations that many do in their home. Most people even choose basic white for painting a ceiling. Not only is this safe, but it I think many would agree they feel it makes the wall color pop.

Painting the Ceiling Darker Than the Walls

So, obviously if a lighter ceiling makes the room feel higher, then painting them a darker color will make the room seem smaller. This could be a good thing if it’s a very large room and you need the cozy feel. This will also accent any lighter colored trim and crown molding.

Design: Sophie Burke Design

Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself as you are figuring out the right color to paint your ceilings:

Do you already have lots of color going on in the room? If your answer is yes, I would probably stick to a lighter color.

Is your ceiling textured or have visible imperfections? If it is, I would stay away from darker color because it will only enhance this.

Does the room gets lots of natural light? If it doesn’t, keep in mind that a lighter color such as white will reflect more light into the room.

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  • Reply Brooke

    Thanks for the great tips! Would you also stick with the same paint color as your kitchen cabinets? Ours will be white dove but I was not sure if I should do that also through the whole house. Thanks!

    November 4, 2019 at 11:53 am
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Brooke! So glad you enjoyed the article! Sure, you could do the same on your walls as your cabinetry. This would look great! We will be using one main color throughout our new home, only a couple of rooms will be different and a few accent walls with wallpaper maybe.

      November 11, 2019 at 10:59 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    When you paint trim, ceilings, and walls the same color, do you use the same finish? Flat, egg shell, semi?

    December 4, 2019 at 9:41 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Lisa!
      We normally use a satin on trim and doors with walls and ceiling being a flat finish.

      January 27, 2020 at 1:45 pm
      • Reply Dena

        What finish would you use when painting a room all one color? I usually do my ceiling in flat my baseboards and semi-gloss and my walls satin or eggshell.And would you blend in all the doors?

        January 4, 2022 at 5:16 pm
  • Reply Bill

    What would a light gray throughout do?

    January 23, 2020 at 11:42 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hello Bill!
      We kind of like to keep everything seamless with keeping the trim, doors, and all the same.

      January 27, 2020 at 1:46 pm
  • Reply Dawn Lucrisia-Johnson

    Do you know what color the dark ceiling is? I love it. We have a high vaulted ceiling and I want to paint the walls light like this and would really like to know that ceiling color. Please share if you can. Thanks!

    April 28, 2020 at 6:06 am
    • Reply Olivia Hyde

      yes, what is the ceiling color in the cover photo?

      August 1, 2021 at 7:18 pm
  • Reply Mai

    I am also thinking of picking the same white color for walls, trim and ceiling. Do you ever use oil based satin Or gloss for base boards and trim And then latex egg shell for walls and latex flat for ceilings? Is this not a good idea?

    June 14, 2020 at 5:07 am
  • Reply Sunny

    Hello I am repainting a 4800 sq’ Tuscan farm ranch style house in California to put on the market. I am thinking of using BM Swiss Coffee. Do you think I can paint the ceiling, trim, walls and doors the same color just different sheens? I read that the ceiling should be flat, the walls an eggshell or satin, the trim and doors should be semi-gloss or gloss. Can you tell me which sheens I should use where? I am after an elegant breath takingcustom first impression. I don’t want a builder grade feel.
    Thank you for your help

    February 5, 2021 at 8:25 am
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