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  • Elisha Rickward

Possibly the most under utilised 'blank canvas' in your home?


It’s winter. It’s cold. And jaunts to far flung summer locations are sadly off the cards for a while longer it seems. So there is every possibility you are spending a bit of extra time within your four walls and wondering how to do things a little differently at home? Because they do say that a change is as good as a holiday after all.... (well ok I don't really buy that line either but you get the drift).


Sorry I digress this is not a blog on holidays - rather a way to make a change at home. So let's talk about your ceiling. Maybe something you have not really thought about in a while (if ever). Ceilings are so often overlooked in design schemes but an interesting ceiling treatment can take your decorating to new heights (pardon the pun).


Painting (or wallpapering) your ceiling in a subtle or dramatic colour change from the walls gives the space another dimension and is quite popular at the moment. However it is not for the feint-hearted and takes some courage (and a little know how) to get it right. So understanding how different colours (and their placement) change the appearance of a room is a good place to start.


Rooms with White Ceilings


This is, of course, the most popular choice around: white ceiling with contrasting walls (or of course with white walls as is so popular here in Australia). And yes there is a lot to love about a white ceiling: having white paint above can help raise the ceiling visually: a great benefit in houses with low ceilings.


However white on the ceiling is not always a fail proof solution. People often reach for a can of “Ceiling White” paint without giving consideration to the paint on the surrounding walls.

Ceiling white can and often does have a touch of grey in it – this is important when you are painting because the more grey tint you have in your white paint, the greater and easier the coverage of the paint is (so your painter will love it and often encourage you to buy it!). Unless your walls have a cooler tone to them: the colours on the wall may compete and fight with the white colour used on the ceiling creating a funny discord – so its important to consider and match the tonal value of all your paints (including the white). So be sure to select a white that shares similar undertones as your wall colour for a seamless colour flow.

However as a lover of colour I would put it to you that it there are many options beyond just white.




Image Courtesy of: www.amberinteriordesign.com



Wallpapered ceilings


Well you had me at hello here. Wallpaper allows you to bring pattern into a scheme when it may otherwise not be possible – adding character to a room and even possibly allowing you the ability to adjust a rooms proportions. Just as we saw in the example above where white ceilings help you to visually raise the ceiling – using a darker tone paper makes the ceiling appear closer (so in the room with the right proportions can make it feel more intimate). Wallpaper is of course helpful where the ceiling is not in great condition too. You can have fun with wallpaper on the ceiling because you can make brave choices – a pattern that might otherwise overwhelm a space if used on all four walls can add a burst of life on the roof.



Image Courtesy of www.wdesigncollective.com



Ceilings Painted Darker than the Walls


Wallpaper not your thing? Another way to add personality to your home is to paint a ceiling in a darker colour than your walls. This is an increasingly popular trend at the moment: not only does it create instant impact but can make a room feel cozier and more intimate as the darker colour above will tend to advance: resultingly the ceiling will feel closer and more cozy. Thus if your room has low ceilings with minimal available light, this dark ceiling may not be your friend (despite how great it looks on Pinterest) as it can tend to rob any of the remaining light in the room and make it feel darker and more claustrophobic.

In my opinion the dark ceilings are employed to great effect in older homes with lofty coffered ceilings. Or in rooms with a lot of natural light.


Image Credit: via Pinterest


Ceilings painted the same colour as the walls


Not sure about you but when I think of walls painted in one colour (and no white doesn’t count) I envisage dark & moody rooms. You know the ones – handsome rooms with a strong and dramatic colour palette. People often think that painting a room in one colour from top to bottom is reserved for large rooms: but did you know they are used to great effect in small rooms too?


If you have a small space the temptation is often to paint the room in a light and breezy colour palette (to make it feel larger) however did you know that small rooms can can actually be the perfect place to explore darker colors?. A warm black, a rich navy blue or a deep bottle green can in fact blur the boundaries of the room, creating a sense of continuity and limitlessness – you are not sure where the walls end and the ceilings finish.




Image Credit: www.designbyhayon.com



Tone on Tone Ceilings


Too scared to go a dark ceiling? You are not alone. Why not consider a lighter tone on tone scheme. If you want to try something more soft and cocooning than just white above think about choosing a colour that is a few shades lighter than the walls but still in the same colour family. The continuity in colour can help open the room up and make it feel larger. Further, the subtle contrast in the colours can bring depth and dimension without the contrast of white.



Image Credit: www.homestolove.com.au



Ceilings painted in a contrasting colour from your walls


Done well a contrasting ceiling colour can make a bold statement in your ceiling but this approach is not for the feint hearted (even for a colour loving gal like me). My best advice is hasten carefully because I have seen very mixed results (with more coming off second best to be honest). You will need to assess the colour on the ceiling as it might look quite different from how it would appear on the walls (and remember it is likely to also pick up some of the referred colour from the walls). You also need to think about how the wall is going to meet the ceiling – ie. where and how the colours are going to butt up against each other. Ideally you will want a painted architrave or something to help marry the two.



Image Credit: melaniejadedesign.com



Finally consider the type of paint you use


No I am not talking about brand of paint here – rather the type of paint: matt vs gloss and anything in between. Ceilings are traditionally painted in matt finishes and for good reason – they help to mask and detract from imperfections in the ceilings like cracks and uneven levels. However did you know that the higher the sheen level of a paint (hello gloss you sexy devil you) the more likely that light will be bounced around : yes this does highligh imperfections so you will want a ceiling in good condition. However if you are going for drama in a less frequently used room like a powder room or formal dining area – possibly where glamorous & bold light fittings might be employed – think about using a high gloss level paint to elevate your room to the next level.



Image Credit: mydomaine.com


At the end of the day remember paint is one of the easiest decorating decisions to undo – so perhaps try something new on and you might be in for a pleasant surprise.


Elisha x


This blog post forms part of our website services and is subject to our legal notices accessible at www.rickwardesignstudio.com.au

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