The best painted ceiling ideas for all types of rooms

green painted ceiling
(Image credit: Furniture and Choice)

The way in which painted ceiling ideas can completely change the way a space looks and feels is surprising, yet many people still assume that white is the only shade for their fifth wall. 

No matter what types of ceiling you have in your home, do consider how painting them could add a whole new dimension to the room — you can use colour or texture to make a space feel bigger, a low ceiling appear higher than it really is or just as a striking focal point to inject some character or personality.

Here, we showcase a whole range of ideas, from those designed to highlight original period features, to ways of brightening up a child's bedroom.

How can painted ceiling ideas make a room feel bigger?

Just as the shade you choose to paint your walls in can affect how big or small a room feels, so too can the way in which you approach your ceiling ideas. 

Painting a ceiling a darker shade than the walls will visually bring the ceiling down, while painting it in a lighter colour than that used on the walls will vertically stretch the room. 

If it is an overall expansion of the space that you are aiming for, matching the ceiling colour to the walls is a great idea. 

1. Create a cosy cocoon 

green master bedroom

Matching the ceiling to the walls, in a deep shade, creates a sense of comfort. (Image credit: Earthborn)

To conure up a sense of being utterly cocooned and protected, painting your ceiling the same colour as your walls is the best method. 

Use a deep, warm shade as opposed to something overly bright or anything with cooler undertones. 

This gorgeous green bedroom has been painted in Earthborn's Hobby Wood — a bold woodland green that is both warm and calming so perfect for spaces meant for relaxation such as bedroom, snugs and living rooms. 

2. Use paint to highlight original features

grey painted walls with white painted mouldings

The fresh white used to paint the mouldings in this room sit in happy contrast to the greys of the walls and ceiling.  (Image credit: Annie Sloan)

If you are lucky enough to have original ceiling and wall mouldings in your home, such as ceiling roses, architrave and picture rails, do all you can to ensure they stand out.

This living room has been painted using products from Annie Sloan. The decorative cornicing and picture rail have been picked out in fresh white, while the walls and ceiling have been covered in neutral, earthy tones. 

3. Create a colour block effect

yellow walls with blue above picture rail

Switching to a different shade for the upper section of your walls draws the eyes upwards.  (Image credit: Earthborn)

There is no reason why you can't use several colours together on your walls and ceiling — in fact painting the upper sections of your walls and your ceiling a totally different shade to that used elsewhere can really help add character, as well as another element to an otherwise plain space. 

This serene living room has been given a colour block effect using Earthborn's Milk Jug above the picture rail and Crocky Road, a cool beige, on the walls.

4. Have fun with paint effects in children's bedrooms

stripy painted ceiling

Let your imagination run wild when it comes to children's bedrooms and playrooms.  (Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

When it comes to bedroom ideas for the younger members of the family, have fun with paint and use the ceiling to ensure all the senses are stimulated. From calming sky scenes to fanciful patterns, really let your imagination run wild. 

In this nursery, a lively circus tent feel has been created using Farrow & Ball's paints on the ceiling in a stripy pattern, with a serene baby blue used elsewhere in the space. 

5. Paint a sloping ceiling fresh white to make a space feel airy 

loft conversion bedroom

The white on this sloping ceiling ensures the space doesn't feel oppressive.  (Image credit: English Blinds)

While sloping ceilings can add character and charm to a room, if they are very low they can feel a little oppressive, as it sometimes the case in certain types of loft conversion

Your choice of ceiling paint can play a an important role here in helping to keep things feeling roomy and spacious. In this stylish loft bedroom, the walls have been painted a grey/mauve while the ceiling has been given a lick of brilliant white paint to help lift the space. 

6. Use a two tone effect to make a ceiling seem higher

green living room with two tone paint effect

Using a lighter shade of green for the upper portion of this space visually raises the ceiling.  (Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

After ceiling ideas for a rooms with low ceilings? Low ceilings can make a space feel dark and slightly uncomfortable in certain cases but they way in which you decorate them can have a massive effect on this.

Aim to keep the ceiling lighter or the same shade as the rest of the room or, as has been done here, using paints from Farrow & Ball, paint the upper portions of your walls and ceilings one shade lighter than the colour you have used on the walls. Not only will this distract the eye from the height of the room, but it will also create the illusion of the ceiling being higher than it really is. 

7. Open up a space with an all over colour

archway from dining room to kitchen

Sticking to one pale shade within this space unifies the rooms and keeps things feeling fresh and open.  (Image credit: Earthborn)

Using the same colour all over – also known as 'colour drenching' – is a fantastic way to make a space feel more spacious as well as visually drawing spaces together and contributes towards a nice sense of flow within a layout. 

Here, the gentle and light tones of Peach Baby by Earthborn have been used to pull the dining room and kitchen together visually — painting the ceiling in a coordinating shade brings a peaceful vibe to the whole space.  

8. Use your ceiling to pick up on shades used elsewhere

pink and grey living room

A classic pink and grey scheme adds a sophisticated feel to this room.  (Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Painting your ceiling in a bold shade that still works well with the wall colour is a great way to add drama and interest to a room — it is a particularly good tip for those after living room paint ideas with a difference. 

Take inspiration from this super stylish living room, painted using colours from Farrow & Ball, and consider using the same shade you paint your ceiling in for other areas of the space, such as within alcoves or for the walls of the room that leads directly off the area. 

9. Inject personality with a bold overhead shade

home office with pink ceiling

This home workspace, designed by Emma Jane Palin (@emmajanepalin) feels full of character thanks to the fun choice of paint colours.  (Image credit: Emma Jane Palin @emmajanepalin)

Absolutely any style of room can benefit from this idea, whether you are working with a rather featureless new room or one packed full of interesting original features. Simply keep the walls a fresh, neutral shade and pick an eye-popping colour for the ceiling — you can expect instant interest and character. 

In this home office. the pale shade of pink used on the walls, Donkey Ride from Earthborn, has been paired with a hot pink overhead, Delilah, also from Earthborn. 

10. Paint beams a fresh white

blue kitchen with painted white beams

Giving the beams a lick of white paint prevents them from feeling overwhelming.  (Image credit: Simon Taylor Furniture)

While ceiling beams are a charming feature which are often very prized by owners of period properties, they can sometimes make a room feel a little oppressive or claustrophobic.

Painting beams a pale, fresh shade or whitewashing them is a great way to retain all the charm they bring while lightening the whole space. In this stylish kitchen diner, the white of the ceiling beams works brilliantly with the powdery blue of the units and chairs.  

11. Use decorative objects to bring a look together

living room with terracotta ceiling

The terracotta shade on the ceiling has been picked up elsewhere in the decorative scheme of this cosy living room.  (Image credit: Gareth Young @gareth_at_keeperscottage)

For a cohesive and 'pulled together' look you should aim to reference the colours used for your walls and ceiling within the rest of your decor scheme. While painting a ceiling in a bold shade is a brilliant idea, do take time to consider how you will ensure the colour works well with the rest of the room.

In this cosy living room within the home of Gareth Young (@gareth_at_keeperscottage) the bold, warming terracotta shade – Flower Pot from Earthborn – works so well with the tan leather armchair and the slatey greys of the accessories and column radiator. 

12. Reflect light off your ceiling in a dark room

all white living room with clerestory window

Using a light paint with a slight sheen helps to bring light into this living room.  (Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Your choice of ceiling paint can work wonders in helping to make a gloomy room seem lighter and brighter than it really is. Using a paint with a slight sheen to it can help to reflect any light entering the room, as well as creating some interesting visual effects. 

In this room, the light entering the space via the clerestory windows is maximised by the pale, sheen of the ceiling paint and the soft pink of the walls — both from Farrow & Ball

13. Frame larger items of furniture with pattern

bedroom with blue and white check paint effect

The pink and blue checked pattern used here perfectly frames the bed.  (Image credit: YesColours)

All kinds of clever effects can be created by painting ceilings and walls in various patterns. One great idea is to conjure up the illusion of a 3D frame around a large item of furniture, such as a sofa or a bed — a great one for those after master bedroom ideas with a twist. 

Here, a chequerboard effect has been created, using Calming Blue and Serene Peach from YesColours — framing the bed and taking the whole scheme to another level. 

14. Turn your ceiling into the focal point

green bedroom with stripy ceiling

The bold red and white striped ceiling is the star of the show in this bedroom.  (Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Make the ceiling the star of the show by using it as a blank canvass on which to express your personality. This is also a great way to draw the eye away from the walls in a small space. This kind of effect works best in rooms with higher ceilings — it can feel overwhelming in those with low ceiling heights. 

In this bedroom, bold red and white stripes have been created using paints from Farrow & Ball. Using a product such as Fabsome Multi-Surface Painters Masking Tape from Amazon will make short work of these kinds of paint effects. 

Natasha Brinsmead

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.