White paint on ceilings has been considered the safest choice for decades. And that’s why, even with many light and dark interior paint options available today, many homeowners prefer just to coat their ceilings in classic white.
You can put a fresh coat of white paint on your ceilings when you need to cover up sunlight stains, cooking oil smoke, or candle smoke while also making the room beneath it seem brighter. But be aware that painting your ceilings white doesn’t always guarantee the best results.
This means – although a bright, white ceiling makes any interior look brighter and cleaner due to its reflective properties, a darker tone will add a sense of drama to your interior décor by introducing an unexpected element and making a room feel less sterile.
That’s why you need to understand many more things before deciding to paint your ceilings either white or dark. Below in this article, I will discuss different aspects and provide scenarios of when to use white and dark paint on your ceilings. So, let’s dive into…
When Do You Need to Paint the Ceilings White?
Painting the ceiling is a big undertaking that can change a space’s appearance in ways you may have yet to consider.
Although tons of shades of paint exist, you may need to paint your ceiling white if the ceiling has visible imperfections or textures because the flat white paint will help conceal these imperfections in a way that color would draw attention to.
Also, when painting a primary family room in the house or your kitchen, white is simply the best choice because it’ll create a neutral base that you can easily layer with accent colors.
Furthermore, classic white ceilings are better if you want to create a feeling of spaciousness, especially when there isn’t a lot of natural light in your room to enlighten the area.
But if you already have white walls and need to pick the shade for a smooth flat ceiling, consider using a softer color like sky blue, light peach, or pale yellow instead of white for a breezier feel.
Benefits of Painting the Ceiling and Walls the Same Color
Painting your home DIY allows for creative expression without strict guidelines. If you need to switch up the appearance of a room during renovation, painting the ceiling in white or a non-white color is an option.
Whatever you pick, a commonly used approach is matching the ceiling’s color with the walls. If you are considering this technique, here are some crucial details to remember.
Pros and cons of painting the ceiling the same color as the walls:
|Quicker and affordable
|It’s overwhelming if you use bolder colors
|Makes a large room look and feel cozier
|Can highlight the imperfections in the ceiling
|Avoids the clashing or conflicting undertones
|If there isn’t enough light, it can make the room look smaller
|Makes the ceilings appear higher by creating a seamless look
|Single-color angled walls and ceilings will appear less choppy
Whether you pick white, off-white, cream, or any other similar shade for your walls and ceilings, you should, first of all, consider the factors like the size of the room and its lighting.
1- In small rooms
Depending on the dimensions of the space, painting both walls and ceiling one color can make a room feel spacious and airy. So, to create a cozy and intimate atmosphere in your small room, consider opting for deeper colors on the walls and ceilings.
Alternatively, if you’d like to make the area appear bigger than it is, light hues are ideal; bathrooms are an excellent space to employ this approach as they will look more modernized and streamlined.
As a general rule, because medium tones don’t tend to work very well, it’s good to avoid them entirely to have a positive effect on the final results.
2- In larger spaces
By painting the walls and ceilings of your master-size room or living room in a cohesive shade, you can create an uninterrupted look that will highlight each detail, from furniture to decor.
This works for both light and dark paint hues as well, but consider the natural lighting available in that room before making your final decision. If your room has ample natural sunlight, for instance, darker colors will work better. But for artificial lighting, lighter shades are probably better.
3- Ceilings that are angled or vaulted
To achieve a sense of cohesion in rooms with angled ceilings, paint both walls and the ceiling in the same color. This presents an excellent opportunity to create harmonious visuals when dealing with vaulted ceilings – allowing you to seamlessly blend the wall and ceiling without any noticeable differences between them.
You can choose light or dark colors depending on the room’s size and amount of natural lighting. For example, a light shade would be best for a smaller room flooded with sunlight during the day, while darker colors can work in larger rooms or those with no windows.
What if You Paint the Ceiling a Darker Shade Than the Walls?
If you’re looking for a subtle yet effective way to create contrast between your ceiling and walls, try painting the ceiling with a hue two or three shades darker than that of the wall. This minor change can completely transform an otherwise plain white room into one with a stunning high-contrast atmosphere in no time.
It is usually recommended that you use dark colors like navy, charcoal grays, or chocolate brown colors on rooms that have white walls.
As a general rule, you might want to think about painting the ceiling a darker color than the wall if:
- The room has plain white walls
- You want to accent decorative trim or crown molding
- You want to foster a more intimate and cozier environment
If you’re looking for a cozier feel in your space, deep paint colors can help create the illusion of a shorter ceiling height – even if it’s pretty high. For example, using flat black paint on exposed basement ceilings is an excellent way to make the area look more like a pub atmosphere.
What if You are Painting the Ceiling a Lighter Shade Than the Walls?
This technique involves mixing 80 percent white paint and 20 percent of another desired color, which helps rooms with low ceilings appear more spacious while making those that are already large feel even grander.
Give it a try, and you’ll be amazed at how much difference this simple trick can make for your living area.
You should certainly need to consider lighter colors over darker colors:
- If you like rooms with low contrast
- You enjoy subtle tone changes and simplicity
- The paint color of the wall looks nice when you lighten it to be used on the ceiling.
If the paint color you chose is already light and it dilutes when mixed, then chances are that it won’t look great.
So as an alternative solution, try a different shade of color on both your ceiling and walls. Or, if you feel like switching up styles from conventional painting methods, give something new a shot.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.