Can I Paint My Ceiling Dark?

January 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Next time you’re in a large restaurant or a public building, look up at the ceiling.  If it’s like the one in this old library in Nashua, New Hampshire, it’s dark. Of course, this ceiling is three stories high. The effect of the dark ceiling is to bring it down visually and make the enormous space seem a little cozier to us way down on the floor.

The same is true in a room in your home. If you have a large space with a high ceiling and particularly if the ceiling really feels too high, then painting it a dark color will square out the room and make its dimensions seem a little more homey.

Unfortunately, if you have a 7-ft ceiling in a bedroom, a dark ceiling might make you feel like you’re the batter in a waffle iron. Cozy is not quite the word to describe that effect. So I recommend a lighter tint for smaller rooms. You can still move away from the white ceiling, but just use a tint of the wall color (10-30% of the full-strength hue). Or use a coordinating tint — something you pull from the bedding or other accent pieces. Using a tint on the ceiling will highlight any crown moulding you have in the room and will unify the color scheme.

Caution: because the ceiling is horizontal and does not get much light shining on it, any color you choose will appear darker up there than it does on the paint chip. Try a sample board first before tackling the ceiling job — a neck-breaker and mess-maker, for sure!

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