8 great paint ideas for ceilings

Colourful paint really can be used for anything – it’s the most versatile, accessible and creative decorating item there is. So why limit your adventures in colour to just your walls? Your ceilings make up a huge surface area of your home, but we usually paint them white, or leave them as an afterthought in new decorating schemes. This month we look at one of the least explored surfaces in the home, and suggest 8 great ideas for how to transform them with paint.

pink ceiling

Image Michael Sinclair for House & Garden

A simple switch

Most rooms follow a very simple formula – colour on the walls and white on the ceilings. For a fresh take simply reverse the rule, using white for the walls and putting your favourite colour on the ceiling instead. The white walls will keep the room’s sense of space, and the ceiling will give a surprising pop of colour. Remember that light bright colours will make ceilings feel higher, while dark colours will ‘lower’ a high ceiling.

blue kitchen

Image by James Merrell, from How To Decorate

Just one shade

For a dramatic look that is also cosy and comfortable, take the paint colour on your walls straight over the ceilings too. This has most impact when you paint your walls in a darker shade. Committing a roller-full of dark blue paint to the ceiling can feel nerve-wracking, but take the plunge and you’ll see that one shade across a whole room makes a powerful, intentional statement. For multi-purpose spaces like this kitchen-diner, you can also limit the ceiling colour to just one area, emphasising the different zones in your space.

colourful kids room

Soften a scheme

Ceiling colour choices don’t have to be bold to work. Instead think of it as another wall in the mix, and one on which you can use sympathetic tones to achieve an overall balance in your space. In this colourful kids room some of the sweetness has been taken out of the scheme by mixing sunny yellow and other ice-cream shades with a more subdued grey on the ceilings and floors.

ceiling colour ideas

Lighten up

For homes with dark paint colours on the walls, leaving the ceilings white can look like an afterthought. Instead why not add a surprising splash of colour on the ceiling in a brighter, lighter tone. It will give the effect of ‘raising’ the ceiling, and can turn a slightly gloomy space into something much more uplifting and playful.

colourful kitchen

Add warmth

This kitchen has plenty of masculine elements – the dark floor, the black units. But the addition of pink to the ceiling brings softness and warmth to the light, balancing the whole. To add warmth to a room via your ceiling colour choice you don’t need to go for a strong shade – gentle greys, pinks or yellows, or even ‘whites’ with these colours in them, will help take the edge off rooms that otherwise feel stark and cold. In this example the bold orange splash on the upper wall also draws your attention upwards, while also making that super-high ceiling feel a little less lofty.

yellow ceiling

Play with proportions

…which brings us to using a coloured ceiling as a sort of decorating trick to adjust the proportions of a whole room. A strong colour will usually make a ceiling feel lower, a bright one higher. But you can play further tricks by using the same shade on the ceiling and the cornicing, or even above picture rail level. The result will trick the eye, making the ceiling appear lower but also more integrated into the room as a whole.

painted beams

Accent your features

Colour doesn’t have to be used as a blanket – you can also use it selectively to highlight certain features on your ceiling. A very simple step towards more colour would be to paint just your cornicing and ceiling rose. For historic beamed houses picking out the beams in a strong colour – or painting between the beams only – will pick out what makes the room so special.

Colourful stairs

Have some fun

Paint is supposed to be fun and flexible! So don’t be afraid to be bold, create clashes, and just express yourself. F0r more beautiful ideas on how to decorate your fifth wall, visit www.bit.ly/TCLookUp



Ros Anderson

About

Ros Anderson is an interiors journalist and blogger who has worked for The Guardian, Elle Decoration, Ideal Home and many more. In 2009 she co-founded cult interiors blog My Friend's House with Jill Macnair, as a place to write about design in a more honest, spontaneous and humorous way.


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