Painted Ceiling Ideas

Take Your Ceiling to New Heights with These Painting Ideas

Painted Ceiling Ideas
Painted tin tile ceiling. Armstrong

White has been the go-to ceiling color for as long as most of us can remember. How many times has it been said, “It will make the ceiling feel taller”, or “It will make the room look bigger”?  While these things can be true, sometimes we miss out on great decorating opportunities because we ignore the ceiling.

Architecturally there are a lot of things that can be done to enhance a ceiling. But if you’re looking for some simple, inexpensive ideas, paint can be the way to go.

Here are 9 painted ceiling ideas guaranteed to bring your ceiling to new heights.


  • Paint the ceiling the same as the wall color but separate them with crisp white trim. If you don’t already have crown molding, install some. It will give your room a sophisticated, elegant look.


  • Similar to number 1 but not quite as bold, paint the ceiling the same color as the wall but add some white to the paint can. It will tone down the ceiling color and make it look lighter. The other option is to choose a color on the same paint chip that is one or two shades lighter than the wall color.


  • If your room has white walls choose a bold color for the ceiling. This type of color blocking will add an unexpected pop that will give your room some excitement. You can then add accessories in the same color to tie the room together.


  • Patterns are usually relegated to furniture and floors, but turn that tradition upside down by painting some patterns on the ceiling. Stripes and chevrons add a graphic punch to plain ceilings and can make a room look longer or wider depending on which way you paint them.


    • Stencils offer the opportunity to decorate with intricate designs without having to purchase and install wallpaper. Painting with them on the ceiling can be an exercise in frustration however the finished product can’t be beat. Check out this website for examples.


    • If you have architectural details such as coffering, beadboard or ceiling medallions try painting them a contrasting color to the rest of the ceiling. It will enhance the details and reinforce the look.


      • If you want to create a cocoon-like feel in your space paint the ceilings the same color as the wall but do not add white molding. It will give the room a cozy feel.


      • Another way to create an intimate feeling is to paint the ceiling a shade darker than the walls. Don’t be afraid to try this in a small room such as an office or powder room. It’s dark and intimate and cozy.


      • Paint the ceiling a gloss version of the wall color. The effect is subtle but striking. Light will reflect off of it during the day making it seem brighter than it is. (Please note that glossy finishes show imperfections so make sure that your ceiling is in good condition.)


      Tips for Painting a Ceiling

      A painted ceiling is like a feature wall, just in a different place. It can add a certain je ne sais quoi to a room. That said, make sure you do it right.

      • Crisp, clean lines will always look best so use painter’s tape for moldings or if you’re painting geometric designs like stripes.
      • Take the appropriate safety precautions. Painting a ceiling can involve strained backs and necks. Set up your work station to minimize any chances of injury.
      • Use drop cloths. Unlike walls where the area paint could drip is minimal, the ceiling covers the entire floor. The last thing you want is paint dripping on the middle of your rug.


        For photo examples and more ideas on what you can do with your ceilings check out these photos.