Painting Ceramic Tile and Textured Ceilings – Allison’s Living Room Details

Several of you have asked for specifics regarding some “issues” that we had in Allison’s (my lovely assistant) home makeover, so today I am highlighting a few biggies in her living room.

gray cashmere room

Allison’s “new” living room

You probably know how I like to take on challenging fireplaces (see here, here, and here). Allison’s fireplace had ceramic tile that was pinky-beige, while her adjoining kitchen floor was greeny-beige.



Bad enough on its own, but even worse when compared to the other.  Something needed to be done, but ON A BUDGET.  Nothing’s cheaper than paint, so Allison was game when I told her to paint the tile in trim color.  The trick is in the preparation – a coat of XIM Primer Sealer Bonder, and it’s ready to paint with regular latex paint.

painting tile fireplace

how to paint a tile fireplace

The result is a crisp, clean fireplace with timeless appeal.

painted tile fireplace

 painted tile fireplace after

Now I’m not suggesting you paint just any tile, anywhere.  This decision was not problematic because this tile will not be exposed to water or trampling upon, like tile in a bathroom might be.

painted tile

painted ceramic tile

Painting tile on the fireplace is a fairly straight-forward DIY job, no great skill needed.  Now on to the next challenge.  If you remember, there was a vaulted ceiling in Allison’s living room and a lot of choppy paint colors going on.


Allison’s living room/kitchen before

You can see where the “ceiling” starts – look for the white line.  Everything on the slants and above are textured.  Not a popcorn texture ceiling, but a stamped texture.  I wish, I wish, I wish I had taken a straight-up before photo of the ceiling, but unfortunately I’m a loser and didn’t. Here’s a shot from the other side of the room:


living room before

When vaulted ceilings are painted white and there’s a darkish color on the wall, it’s like you visually chop the top third of the visual plane right off.  A third of what you see upon entry is a looming white ceiling.  Even though we’ve always been told never to paint a textured ceiling any color other than white, I encouraged Allison to take the plunge and wrap the light gray-blue color we chose for the walls onto the slants and entire ceiling in the living room.

blue painted ceiling

painted vaulted ceiling after

The day they painted the ceiling, Allison called me to tell me how great it looked.  She said it was like all those odd angles were gone – nothing but sky in her living room!  Again, I’m an idiot for not taking better before shots, but I marked up this photo to try to illustrate the choppiness of the “before”:


can you imagine the “before?”

Odd and varying angles in a room can make a room so visually busy that it’s hard to attain a peaceful, relaxing feeling in a space, which is what Allison was hoping for in this home makeover.  The decision to wrap this color on the ceiling solved that problem.

painting a vaulted ceiling


I should tell you, I had the painters use an eggshell finish on the walls, and a flat finish on the textured slants and ceiling.  A sheen would have drawn more attention to the texture, while a flat finish makes it less noticeable when the light hits it.

painted textured ceiling

painted ceiling after

Since the ceiling is pretty high, you barely see the texture.  I zoomed in close so that you could see it’s still there:

textured ceiling

painted textured ceiling

My lesson for the day?  Be brave, my friends!  Thinking outside the box and carefully considering all of the possibilities can lead to some awesome results.


  1. BarbaraPilcher @DIY Home Staging Tips

    So glad to read this advice about painting a ceiling the color of the walls. I think it’s a good approach for lots of difficult situations, like dormer rooms, and bonus rooms with knee walls, and rooms with low ceilings, because the eye doesn’t get halted at the top of the wall. Thanks for another good post. Terrific update!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Just did a bonus room for a client with enormous slanted ceilings and knee walls on either side. Changing the paint color and including the “ceiling” made it look so much more open and expansive. The white slants made me feel as though I needed to duck so as not to hit my head!

  2. Elayne

    Thanks so much for this post! This is super-timely, as we are just about to paint a dormer room and I hadn’t even considered continuing the soft color we chose up to the “sky” – I can already imagine a big, positive difference in how things are going to turn out thanks to your advice!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Having several dormer rooms with slanted ceilings and knee walls in my own home, I realized a long time ago how much bigger they look when painted out like walls, rather than ceiling. Good luck with your painting project!

  3. Karen Spencer

    I have recently completed a smaller but similar paint project. My entry way has a sloping ceiling that rises to a section of wall, turns, and continues upstairs. The geometric lines are choppy and distracting. I took a guess that I could minimize the effect of all the different lines and surfaces by using one paint color. I chose Benjamin Moore Sweet Spring. I painted the entry, ceiling, stairway walls, stairway ceiling, upper small hall and hall ceiling all in Sweet Spring eggshell. The result is fabulous. The paint color changes with the light, reading light blue, green, or gray. It looks like a designer chose slightly different but coordinating colors for each surface. Now the beautiful color is apparent and the jumbled lines and angles fade away.

    • Kristie Barnett

      That sounds beautiful, Karen! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Lisa

    The color is beautiful. What is it?

  5. Mel

    I will be painting my ceiling shortly. It is a popcorn ceiling, but it’s at 16′ high, so not too noticable.

    • Kristie Barnett

      The tricky part with popcorn ceiling is that you need to use a really knappy roller that can provide good paint coverage.

      • Taryn

        My mother-in-law painted her vaulted popcorn ceiling in her master bedroom a few years back. It looked better, but she said it took a lot more paint than she’d anticipated because the popcorn just drank it up. Maybe if you primed first you wouldn’t have the same problem.

        Fast-forward to couple of months ago: she started shopping around to get the popcorn removed throughout the house. She was surprised and sad to find out that that painted popcorn was going to be more trouble to remove than it was worth (if it even could be removed). Some people weren’t even willing to attempt to remove it. Others would do it, but at twice the price per sq. foot than her un-painted popcorn but they warned her that there was also a good chance that they’d have to repair or replace the drywall underneath once they got the painted popcorn down which would only drive the price further. She ultimately decided to live with the popcorn in that room, but wished she’d known years ago that painting the popcorn would cause such a headache later. Just a heads up since I don’t know how much info. is out there for this kind of thing. Good luck with your project!!

  6. Jil Sonia Interiors

    What a great idea to paint the textured ceiling a light and bright colour. Also, I just cannot believe the difference in that fireplace – painting it white was certainly right and room transforming. Bravo!

  7. Johnna

    I painted my textured kitchen ceiling the same color as the walls (an almost white color so no boldness there), but painted it in the same semi-gloss as the walls. It actually helped camouflage a rough area where a cabinet had been removed. The sheen in other parts of the ceiling where the light reflects distracts away from the trouble area. Just an example where the rules go out the window :).

  8. Livia

    Yet another amazing transformation. I painted textured ceilings before …but the fireplace tile? … Brilliant!

  9. Susanne

    Awesome, Kristie! Really happy to see this article because we are moving cross country this summer and leaving our California contemporary home for 150+ year-old-home with knee walls and other interesting features.

    I don’t think I have ever out right disagreed with you about anything until this post: I was surprised to read, “… but unfortunately I’m a loser and didn’t.” Don’t talk about my decorologist that way!! She is a genius–a generous genius, at that!

  10. debbie

    Her home looks beautiful. Love the soft colors – so much better. Is the stamped textured ceiling easier to paint than that hideous popcorn ceiling (we have) that I hate? Thanks for all the great info. Love your blog.

    • Kristie Barnett

      Yes, Debbie – the stamped texture is definitely easier to paint than popcorn. I really wouldn’t recommend painting the popcorn ceiling. With a stamped texture ceiling, make sure you use a roller with a knap for rough textures so the paint gets in all the crevices.

  11. Serena B


    Painting that icky tile on the FP sure is brilliant!!!!! Ours has the same old mass-produced tile as the kitchen floors. Yuck! you have given me hope!!!! (wish me luck convincing the hubs that this is a good idea)

    • Kristie Barnett

      Showing husbands the before/after photos can be very helpful! Good luck!


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