Has this ever happened to you: you walk into the paint store for paint and then spend the next three days or a week or more agonizing over the color chips you brought home? You hold them up to every piece of furniture in the room. You lay them on your carpet, on your end table. You try to picture them large scale–covering your walls. You debate between one shade and a slightly darker shade. And then, finally, after all the debate and analysis and agony, you pick the perfect colors.
You make your way to the paint store, order a gallon of one and two gallons of the other and then, almost as a side note, you grab a gallon or two of ceiling white and call it good.
Do you see the problem here? The mistake? It may not be obvious, but it’s this: we put huge amounts of energy and thought into our wall colors and don’t give our ceilings the time of day.
Next time you paint–change that line of thinking. Your ceiling isn’t just a ceiling–it’s a fifth wall. And, as such, you shouldn’t necessarily just roll white paint up there.
If you’re looking to make an impact in your home, putting color on a ceiling is a surefire way to do that. And the reason is simple: it’s extremely rare. Most folks forget about their ceilings when it comes time to paint and as a result, most ceilings are forgettable.
Change that in your home by rolling a color up there. Just keep this in mind: the darker the color you put on the ceiling, the lower it will make those ceilings feel. This can be great in big, high-ceilinged rooms. Rolling a color on your ceiling that’s a shade or two darker than your wall color can go a long ways toward making your room feel cozier, warmer, more inviting. A darker color on your ceiling will draw your eyes downward, bring down those big open spaces, and create settings that feel more personal, more intimate.
Lighter colors on the ceiling will make the room feel a little more expansive, a little more open.
However, there’s something very interesting to realize here: many folks understand this concept and they figure that painting those ceilings white will really serve to open the room up. However, think about this: if you’ve got a medium toned color on your walls, no matter what shade, a white on the ceiling can often produce a very sharp distinction between the walls and the ceiling. This sharp distinction, this high contrast between walls and ceiling, can often lead people to conclude that their wall color doesn’t work–that it needs to be repainted.
Look at the picture above. The green on those walls is a strong color. However, the room works because the ceiling is a soft tan. It’s not a dark ceiling–definitely not dark in comparison with the walls–but it’s dark enough to create a nice balance in the space.
Imagine the same room with a white ceiling. In fact, you don’t have to imagine it, look at the picture below. That’s the same room with a standard white on the ceiling and the whole mood of the room changes. The stark white on the ceiling makes the green on the walls feel harsh. Many times, folks would paint a room like this, think they love that green, only to be back later for new paint because the color’s just too strong on the walls.
Now, I admit, the green truly is a strong color–but you can minimize it’s strength, tone it done, control it a little better, by putting a color other than white on the ceiling.
All that to say: don’t forget about the fifth wall in every room–your ceilings. You can put some color up there to make a room feel more inviting, to make it feel cozier, or even to tone down the visual power of a wall color you really love. Keep it in mind.