What Color Should I Paint My Ceiling? Part II

May of 2012 I wrote a blog post called “What Color Should I Paint My Ceiling?”. The post talks about ceiling whites and why you shouldn’t use an extra or ultra white ceiling paint color because some whites are just so white they look blue, you know, like snow does on a winter day.

Well I realized the post never really answers the question of  what color to paint a ceiling but rather just mentions a brand of white ceiling paint to use. I left you hanging and I’m sorry! So it’s long overdue but here’s “What Color Should I Paint My Ceiling?”, Part II.


Well today and dozens of colorful ceilings later, I’m going to go into detail about your color options if you’re thinking about painting your ceiling.

Oddly enough, just last week I needed a slightly blue ceiling color so guess what color I chose? Ceiling Bright White by Sherwin Williams. I know that sounds utterly ridiculous but read the other post first then come back here and let’s get into the nitty-gritty about ceiling color.


Before I talk about ceiling color and the different types of ceilings, I want to tell you the most important piece of information you will need to know before you even get a paint chip in your hand.

Ready? Ok. Take the paint color chip that you are considering for a ceiling color and lift it way up over your head. Your paint chip should be color side down and you should be looking up at it. Are you doing it?

It all has to do with lighting. Lighting is an entirely different subject but hugely important just one which I will not discuss today but one you need to be aware of. The point is, you must hold your paint chip the way it’s going to be viewed on the wall. Painting your walls? Hold the paint chip vertically. Painting your ceiling? Hold your paint chip upside down just like it will be seen on your ceiling. Don’t ever hold your paint color chip flat unless you plan on painting your floor. That was so important I had to make it bold.


See how different these colors look? They are the same color chip but just held differently. If you took these hues and held them upside down, the middle tones would darken tremendously. Take the color chip of your choice and experiment.

That my friends is how you view the paint chips that you are considering for your ceiling color. Not sunny side up, not at arm’s length away but up over your head with the color side down, just like it would be viewed as it were on the ceiling.

Bet you didn’t think about that before right? Doesn’t the color look really different when viewed upside down? Sure it does! This is comparable to how you would look standing in the sunlight verses standing in the shade. It’s the way the light hits you or your paint chip, that will make all the difference in the world.

Whew! Now that you’ve learned the most important trick when it comes to viewing your color, NOW we can talk about color options for your ceiling like how to place it, where to place it and even if you should have color on your ceiling.

Why should I paint my ceiling a color instead of just leaving it white?

Well you can just leave your ceiling white but that really depends on the style of your home, your color palette and the height of your ceiling. Here are some instances when you can choose a color for your ceiling instead of just using white.

  • when you have a warm color palette and white would be just too stark. Ivory or a soft white would be perfect for a warm color palette such as this:
Designed by Donna Frasca

Designed by Donna Frasca

  • When you have a high ceiling. Using color on a high ceiling gives the illusion and feel of a lower ceiling.
  • When you have a coffered or tray ceiling. Decorative ceilings are perfect for color! It can be the focal point of the room.



Designed by Donna Frasca


  • When you want to add interest to your room.
  • When you have a very large, open concept home and could use color to define a space.



  • Add just a little color to your ceiling if you want it to coordinate with your drapery without distracting from it.


  • Small room? Monochromatic color works great here. Use a darker shade of your wall color to accent your ceiling while giving the room a larger appearance with the same hue.


  • Keep it fun for the kids! Use a dark blue or black color on the ceiling and add those glow in the dark stars. This would be super fun for any kids room.


So you see, there is really so much you can do with your ceiling color but the main thing to remember is turn your paint chip upside down before deciding on a color. As always, I highly recommend painting out a sample before you commit to any wall color just to be sure you love it.

Here are some recent ceiling colors by that I’ve used by Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore. You can see there is a variety here and ceiling color but it goes to show you that you don’t have to be afraid to put color on your ceiling, just think it out before you do.

Restful White SW7563

Westhighland White SW7566

Toasted Pine Nut SW7696

November Skies 2128-50 Benjamin Moore

October Mist 1495 Benjamin Moore


About Donna Frasca

I'm a Color Expert & Virtual Designer highly specialized in designing color palettes for open concepts spaces.
This entry was posted in Benjamin Moore, Ceilings, Color, Color Specialist in Charlotte, Color Tips, Interior Design, Paint Color, Sherwin Williams and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to What Color Should I Paint My Ceiling? Part II

  1. Ahh, the ceiling – the perfect accent wall! Nice post, Donna – thanks for sharing!

  2. Great explanation. I am a huge fan of color on ceilings. I totally get what you mean about pure whites looking blue. The snow was a great example.

  3. Pingback: Trends for the 5th Wall :: What Color Should I Paint My Ceiling

  4. Valentina says:

    Great lesson Donna. BTW, I moved my blog to my books site, you are welcome to come over for a visit. http://valentinaexpressions.com/category/home-designs-master/

  5. Jodi Horner says:

    You’ve got the gift, lady! :-)

  6. Pingback: 5 Affordable Painting Ideas to Refresh Your Home | CraftPro

  7. I love those different hues of blue! Very effective. One of my hobbies is painting with oils…I find a well balanced, coordinated color scheme is similar to a well-framed painting. I love your blog…so glad you stopped by mine and decided to follow because it led me to yours!

  8. Pingback: Do we still need white ceilings? | Decorating by Donna • Charlotte's Color Specialist

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