Revealing Ceilings

During a home colour consultation, after we’ve chosen colours for all the rooms the question is often asked, “What colour will we paint the ceiling?”

Paint Colours

More times that not I immediately say “White” as I’m definitely a white ceiling girl. And now I’ll explain my reasons and the exceptions, because as you know there are always exceptions to every rule.

White ceiling by Inside Out Colour and Design

A white ceiling will give context to the other colours you have chosen for the walls.

White walls, white floor, white furniture

This is especially important when the wall colours are neutrals or off whites. The walls will just look white unless there is a whiter white adjacent to it.

Same room with a white ceiling, suddenly the walls have depth

White ceilings also assist in bouncing light around the room. If your room is dark or doesn’t receive much natural light, a white ceiling will help to lighten the room.

Our dining room where we've painted the ceiling white

Our dining room where we’ve painted the ceiling white

I have seen many times, in recently bought houses, the same colour on the walls as on the ceilings. This is an easy way to paint as there’s no cutting in and it probably saves money and time for the previous owner. The problem with this look is that the ceiling tends to look dirty. Even if the ceilings are painted a half strength of the wall colour the ceiling will still look dirty.

Our bathroom ceiling in half strength of wall colour

Our bathroom ceiling in half strength of wall colour

The only time I would take the wall colour up onto the ceiling is if the ceiling is raked and the lines between walls and ceiling are blurred.

Colours and interiors by Inside Out Colour and Design

The angles seem to disappear and the room appears bigger as everything is the one colour. That is of course assuming that the colour is a light neutral colour.


The room above does not have any mouldings between the walls and the ceiling so it has made sense to carry the wall colour above the picture rail onto the ceiling. It would be much easier to paint and as the colour is lighter than the wall colour it works.


The ceilings need to be quite high if you do wish to paint the ceiling a colour. A darker colour on the ceiling will make the ceiling advance and appear to come down on top of you so it really needs to be in a room where the ceiling is at least 2.9m high.


It can look very effective in rooms where you look at the ceiling – like the bedroom or in a room that needs some drama like an entry or a dining room.


So what do you prefer? Coloured or white ceilings?

Katie Ridder via Simplified Bee. The gloss on the ceiling helps bounce the light around

If you would like assistance with choosing colours for the interior of your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

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  1. Hi Jennifer, I love your blog. We’re painting the house dulux natural white. Do you still suggest the ceiling to be a pure ceiling white to add contrast? Also, we don’t have really high ceilings (2.40 metres) and have basic concave cornices. Should we paint the ceiling white down to include the cornice as most people do or would painting the cornice the same colour as the walls (dulux natural white) make the walls seem higher or would this look weird?

  2. Hi Simon

    I would still paint the ceiling and the cornices in Ceiling White. The cornices, no matter how simple they are, read as the ceiling so should be painted the same.




  1. […] you’ve been following my blog for a while you will know that when it comes to ceilings I am definitely a white girl. I just love the crisp clean look a white ceiling gives a home. And as […]

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