4 Best Ceiling Paint Colors

Lighted old ceiling lamp in front of light blue wall
Westend61 / Getty Images

Must you paint your ceiling white? Is this a law of home remodeling? Will the renovation police issue you a citation if your ceiling is anything other than white?

No. Of all the ideas in this gallery, only the first one is white. After that, we discuss the possibility of using colors other than white for your ceiling. Take heart: it can be done.

Why Is White so Popular?

White is a popular ceiling paint color, and it's not just out of a stodgy adherence to tradition. There are some very good reasons why homeowners keep painting their ceilings white:

  • Reflects light: Ceilings are often called "The Fifth Wall." This "wall" reflects light as much, or more than the other four walls. Changing the color of your ceiling can greatly affect the amount of light in the room.
  • The illusion of depth: A white ceiling color gives the illusion of depth; dark ceiling colors have a visual "stop" point. But if you have 10-, 12-foot, or even higher ceilings, you may want a visual stop. Otherwise, the room may feel cavernous.
  • Matte vs. gloss: Ceiling paint is almost always flat or matte finish. Semi-gloss or glossier paint may reflect more light; the reflections will give the ceiling a visual "stop" and can be distracting.
  • Easy to do: When you buy ceiling paint, it's already tinted white. The assumption on the part of the paint companies is that you will want white

Determine how much paint you need by using The Spruce's Paint Calculator. 

  • 01 of 04

    Yellow Refuses to Be Ignored!

    A Japanese-style sitting room with yellow floor and ceiling
    Pratt & Lambert

    Of course, you can't ignore this ceiling color. It's yellow, for crying out loud!

    There's a bold, brilliant interplay between this orange-yellow ceiling color from Pratt & Lambert and the red-orange walls. The accent wall provides not only a focal point but some degree of relief from the bold wall and ceiling colors.

  • 02 of 04

    Pink on Pink

    A pink-walled room with a pink ceiling
    Ralph Lauren Home

    One alternative, if the idea of a white ceiling color is still anathema to you, is to paint the ceiling a lighter shade of the wall color, as evidenced in this room using Ralph Lauren Home. In this case, it's an easy sell because the wall color is already a fairly lively pink

  • 03 of 04

    Multi-Colored Ceiling

    A brown ceiling kitchen with accents
    Dutch Boy

    If you've got a ceiling with some added dimension—such as this pictured overhang— you can treat the ceiling to more than one color.

    This paint comes from Dutch Boy, and the colors are Flatland, Basketweave, and Paleolithic.

  • 04 of 04

    A Dark Ceiling With Light Walls

    A dark ceiling with lighter walls in a dining area
    Benjamin Moore

    How about a ceiling color that is darker than the walls? Despite our earlier recommendation that flat white is usually the safest ceiling color, we must say, "Is it necessary always to live life safely?" 

    The dark ceiling color is striking, dramatic, and confident. Benjamin Moore supplied these fantastic colors.