Color Up Above

If you haven’t heard, your ceiling is your fifth wall.  And the white ceiling is all over.  Done.  Kaputz.  Finito.   Well, maybe I’m being a bit extreme – but it’s time to consider painting your ceiling something other than white.   I hope this will inspire you! domino-painted-ceiling

Designers are encouraging their clients to take the color plunge on their ceilings, even if they stay neutral on the walls.  Why, even white walls are back – as long as they are accompanied by colored ceilings, like in this elegant dining room.

Dining Room with Blue Ceiling via cotedetexas

A blue ceiling evokes a sense of sky and expansiveness.  Victorians used to paint their porch ceilings blue to represent sky.  Oh, and also to prevent birds and bees from nesting – even animals are tricked with a sky blue ceiling!

Blue Ceiling

You may think you’re playing it safe by painting your ceiling white, but you are actually ignoring the potential there – a light color recedes and makes your room feel larger and more expansive, while a dark color makes the room more intimate and dramatic.  The room below would not look anywhere near as cozy as it does now without that green ceiling.

sills huniford painted ceiling

This light-filled living room is enwrapped in blue, like a jewel in a Tiffany box.

blue wrapped room via casasugar

Varying shades of lavender create a peaceful sense of calm in this bedroom.   The white trim, chandelier, and lamp shades keep the dark wood furniture from taking over. Lavender Bedroom Ceiling

The mouldings and trim pop out in these rooms that are simply dripping with chocolate, expresso, and cocoa.

brown ceiling via browndesigninc

I originally painted the walls of this room dark apple green, with a yellow ceiling.  When it became my older daughter’s bedroom, I wanted to make this one-windowed attic room feel lighter.  I repainted the walls sky blue and decided to leave the strip of ceiling yellow.  Although wrapping the room in the blue would have been a good choice, I like the unexpected change in color above.

Yellow Ceiling with Blue Walls

terra cotta ceiling via apartment therapy

You might think it would have been too much to wrap this room in terra cotta, but no!  Can you see how a huge white ceiling would have seemed disparate from the feel of this kitchen, that it would have just been distracting?

I capped off my butter yellow dining room with a windowbox green ceiling.  All the trim in the room is the same color as the ceiling, which helps tie it in together.  Also, the walls in the adjoining room are also the same green.  This creates flow as you walk through the rooms.


Yellow Painted Ceiling in Kitchen My kitchen adjoins the dining room, so I painted the walls and ceiling the same butter yellow as on the dining room walls.  There is so much white cabinetry, I like the warmth of the buttery ceiling.

One caveat to colored ceilings:   I wouldn’t recommend it if you have popcorn ceilings.  Colored ceilings draw your eye up, and you may not want to emphasize that popcorn!  Click on any of the thumbnails below for a few more pictures of fab rooms with color on the ceilings.   If you need a color consultation, check out my services on



  1. Jamie

    I LOVE the color of that green ceiling! Do you know what it is?

  2. Angie


    Is there any “rule of thumb” about how high the ceilings have to be if you paint your ceilings a color?

  3. kristiebarnett

    Angie, although some may think there is a rule of thumb for ceiling height and ceiling color, I personally do not. Almost every room in my house has colored ceilings. My downstairs rooms are 9 feet tall, while my upstairs rooms are 8 feet tall. I do not feel like the upstairs ceilings are lowered by the color. If it is a concern, just choose lighter colors that recede and actually make the ceiling seem higher.

    Many people start their white ceiling color on slanted ceilings in an upstairs that has those (like mine). I really think that by starting the ceiling color, even if it’s white, on those slants shrinks the height of the room. So if you have slanted ceilings, treat them like walls in regard to color. Or just wrap the whole room in the same color so it appears boundary-less. Did you see that kitchen with the black wrapped over the whole kitchen? Even that dark color makes it difficult to tell how short or tall the ceilings are because of the effect of disappearing boundaries.

    I hope that makes sense!


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