Painted Ceilings

I met with a first time client earlier this week whose house has two rooms with beautiful tray ceilings.  Many people are not comfortable with painted ceilings, so I was excited when she said that they are willing to paint their ceilings.  We chose their paint colors, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out. Painting a ceiling is a way to add interest to a room, and whether you have a tray or not, there are many options to consider.  If you do have a tray, one possibility is to paint the inside of the tray a darker color than the rest of the room.  This is a good option if you have high ceilings and a large room.  The darker color helps to bring the ceiling down and makes the room feel cozy.

dark tray ceiling


Another option with a tray ceiling is to only paint the connecting walls.  This adds interest and detail to the room without committing to painting the whole ceiling.


If you do not have a tray ceiling, try creating one with paint for a similar look.  Barden’s Decorating painted this fabulous ceiling for the 2012 Richmond Symphony Designer Show House.  The colors coordinate perfectly with the rest of the room, and I love the detail of the arched corners.

2010 RSOL Designer House - Master Bedroom

A popular color choice for any ceiling is light blue.  Reminiscent of the sky, even the subtlest hint of light blue can open a room and add an unexpected touch.  Lowering the crown molding a few inches and carrying the blue paint down onto the wall is an interesting architectural detail for this kitchen.  Painting a portion of the wall the same color as the ceiling is a good technique to use when trying to bring down high ceilings.

blue kitchen ceiling


For drama and impact in a room, use a bold color on the ceiling and repeat that same color throughout the space.  In this bedroom, the green from the ceiling is used on the bed and window treatments.  The white walls and wood headboard soften the space and keep it from feeling too overpowering.

green bedroom ceiling


Another high impact option is to use a metallic finish or high gloss paint on the ceiling.  In this beautiful dining room, Melanie Palma created a custom finish for her clients that will actually evolve and change over time as the materials are exposed to the air.

melanie palma ceiling

A fun choice for a painted ceiling is to do it in a nursery or child’s room.  John and Sherry from Young House Love painted their daughter’s ceiling a soft turquoise to coordinate with the window treatments.

young house love nursery

If you are interested in a painted ceiling, but not quite ready to commit to it in a high-traffic room, try one of these three ideas.

1. A painted ceiling medallion adds definition and interest to any dining room chandelier.  Diane Williams painted this one for a client.  I love that it’s subtle, but also unique and personal.

diane williams ceiling2.  Choose a small space like a bathroom or closet to make a big impact with a painted ceiling.  Don’t be afraid to use a bold color or add a pattern.

stenciled bathroom ceiling


3. Paint the ceiling of a covered porch.  It would surely be an unexpected welcome for anyone coming to visit.



The next time you are painting a room, consider painted the ceiling as well.  You might be surprised how much you like the look!

º In which room of your house are you most like likely to paint the ceiling?

Cathy Green Interiors monogram