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  • Fawn Baranko

Ceiling Sense and Suggestions

Ceilings are the overlooked orphans of the home. Not at eye level, not something we touch every day, they often don’t get the attention they deserve. But ceilings are opportunities to complement decor, add impact, and improve light. Sure you can paint them all flat ceiling white, but there are a lot more choices you should consider. If you don’t believe me, ask Michelangelo about a little project he did for the Vatican.

White seems like an easy option for ceilings until you realize how many whites exist. When selecting a white color, consider undertones and reflections. Undertones are colors added to paints that make them look faintly like other colors. Reflections are colors that bounce from surrounding surfaces like the walls, floors and furniture. Select the right white by comparing a few to the rest of your décor. The best ceiling whites will look good on their own while making your furniture, walls and floor look fresh and clean like a pretty makeover. The whites you don’t want will look dirty, off-color, and generally make the room (and you) feel sad.

Evaluate your whites in different light situations. Some whites look great in the natural light of day but grayer after sundown. Warmer white light bulbs create a cozy feel but can yellow or mute your favorite white. Cooler white bulbs create a more energized feel but may impart a blue hue. Experiment to find the color temperature bulb that’s best for your ceiling and you.

Take advantage of eggshell and satin sheens on your ceilings to provide light reflection that brightens rooms lacking natural light and makes ceilings appear higher. If you have crown molding, elevate the ceiling even more by painting it the same color as the wall or ceiling in a higher-level sheen. If you really want wow impact, go for a glossy sheen on the ceiling. Just be prepared to bribe/pay your painter more for the additional effort this look needs.

Speaking of wow, the ceiling is one of the best places to get creative.Paint the ceiling a color other than white.I love blues that mimic the sky, especially in smaller spaces like powder rooms.Make boring rooms like closets and laundry spaces feel more fun with wallpaper or ceiling tiles.Personalize a room with large size self-adhesive wall art like I did for my teen who loves the night sky. Find your inner artist with painter’s tape and stencils and create one-of-a-kind patterns with contrasting paint colors.Add beams, coffered ceilings, or wood. You can even create starlight and stained-glass effects with lighting…the sky/ceiling is the limit when it comes to what you can do.


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