What Color To Paint Ceilings?

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Ceilings are often overlooked when it comes to painting the interior of your home. We spend a lot of time choosing a color for the walls, cabinets and then either leave the ceiling the color it is or settle for white. 


We are often asked what color to paint ceilings, and whether white really is the best choice. 


The short answer is that white often is, but there are other things to consider, and the long answer is below. 

Is White The Best Ceiling Color?

The most common ceiling color is white, and there are many reasons for that. Let’s take a look at why choosing white is not settling for the most obvious color choice. 


Painting a ceiling white is easy, and we mean more than just how easy white paint is to apply. It is also easy to match white paint to the color of your walls. 


With light walls, the paint will match, and with dark walls, it can create a nice contrast. If you are unsure which color of paint will match your walls, you can always choose white. 

Selling Your Home

White may not be the best choice for you, but it can be the best choice for everyone else. One reason for this is that white paint is easy to paint over and easy to match without needing to be repainted. 


If you are selling your home, a white ceiling will provide more value than any other color. 

Open & Light

If you have a room that is small or does not have a lot of light, then a white ceiling is going to open up the room. It is going to make the room appear lighter, no matter the color of the walls, and it is going to create a more open feel. 


If you want to create the illusion of light and space, choose white paint for the ceiling. 

Painting Your Ceiling a Lighter Color Than the Walls

White paint is not for everyone, and you should not choose white because everyone else is doing it. When deciding on a color for a ceiling in a room, many people try to paint the ceiling a lighter color than the walls. 


So, why would you do this?

The Illusion Of Height

When you paint your ceiling lighter than your walls, you are creating the illusion of height. Your eye is going to be drawn upwards, and the ceiling is going to seem as though it is higher than it actually is. 


This is perfect for rooms with a low ceiling that feel claustrophobic. By choosing a light color for the ceiling, you can open up a room just as much as when you use pure white paint. 

More Focus On The Walls

Many times, when you are decorating a room, you create a focal wall that is to be the focal point of the room. It may be a patterned wall, a bold color, or a color that contrasts with the others. It could be showcasing an artwork, a piece of furniture, or something else. 


If the ceiling is a darker color than the walls, your eye is going to be automatically drawn to the ceiling, and you are going to lose the focal point of a room. 


A great way to pull a room together is to tint a ceiling the same color as the walls. The ceiling color will be lighter than the walls but will give a coordinated look that will bring the room to life. 

Painting Your Ceiling a Darker Color Than the Walls

Obviously, you are not going to paint your walls so dark that you need to paint your ceiling black, but there are times when a darker ceiling makes more sense. 


Here are some of the top reasons for painting a ceiling a darker color than the walls. 

Create Intimacy

Some rooms desire to look more open, but others can benefit from a feeling of intimacy. This could be a room like a study where a more confined space can lead to more concentration or a small library where you want to sit and relax with a book. 


Painting a ceiling a darker color than the walls is going to create the illusion that the room is smaller than it actually is, and creates more intimacy in the process. 

Reduce Light

If you have a lot of light entering a room, a lighter ceiling (and walls) can reflect the light and cause more glare. 


If you are creating a room where this light could distract, like a work office or a home theater, then a darker ceiling is the way to go. 

Highlight Architecture

If you have a chandelier, skylight, ornate finishing, or anything else that you want to highlight, then a darker ceiling is the way to go. The darker color is going to draw the eye, and it is a great way to make the ceiling a focal point of your room. 

Best Color For Popcorn Ceilings

A popcorn ceiling works well because it hides any imperfections in the ceiling. But, when you really look closely at a popcorn ceiling, it is not the most attractive finish, and a flat ceiling is more aesthetically pleasing. 


For this reason, you do not want to draw a lot of attention to a popcorn ceiling. To do so, matte or semi-gloss paint is preferred, and white or off-white are the preferred colors. 


You cannot go wrong with pure white paint, and it will create a balanced look that will not highlight any flaws in your textured ceiling. For the same reason, off-white, grey, and lighter shades of yellow will also work. 


You want to stay away from bright colors, but dark colors will also hide any imperfections, so darker shades can be looked into too. 

Ceiling Painting Tips

Painting a ceiling is one of the more difficult surfaces to paint in your home. Here are some expert tips to get you started:


  • Always sand the surface first. If you paint over any imperfections, then you are only going to highlight those imperfections. 
  • Invest in quality supplies. It may be tempting to buy that cheap paintbrush, but a few more dollars is going to be the difference between a perfect ceiling and an imperfect one. 
  • Cover your furniture. This one is self-explanatory and a no-brainer. 
  • Less is more. It is better to do a couple of layered coats than to slop a large amount of paint onto your ceiling. 
  • Leave it to the painting professionals!

Painting a ceiling is a tricky job, especially if you have a textured ceiling. Forget about getting into all the tight spots, don’t worry about dripping paint, and enjoy an evenly painted ceiling by hiring a professional painting contractor.

Final Thoughts

Though most ceilings are painted white, it does not mean that you have to too. Of course, there are many reasons why a ceiling is painted white (as you have seen above). 


Choose white if you are unsure what color to choose, or for a brighter look. If you want to create a certain look and feel with the ceiling, go for a lighter or darker color than the walls. 


If you are unsure, the professionals are always here to help.