Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The fifth wall. (And another dining room reveal!)

OK peeps. I've been wanting to talk about this topic for awhile. It's something very few do, but it makes a HUGE impact in a room. (In my little bitty opinion.)

The decorating element I love to add to a room is one most people never think of doing -- painting your ceiling. Not another coat of white -- a color. EGADS! Yes, I said it! Color on your ceiling! Ahhh, I've gone and lost my mind, right?

It is by far the one addition that I think makes a HUGE difference in the way a room feels, and it costs $20 for a gallon of paint.

The owner of the decorating firm I worked with turned me onto this, and I was SUCH a nonbeliever at first. I was hooked after our first painted ceiling though. I mean, head over heels in love, hooked. There are some "rules" that you may want to follow that I don't, and I'll tell you those in a bit. Also, there are some myths about painting a ceiling I'll address too.

I had the ceiling in our family room/kitchen combo painted the same color as the walls and absolutely love it:
Reason number one I love painted ceilings -- if you have crown molding, it will make them absolutely pop off the walls when your ceilings are painted. When you have crown and a white ceiling, at least the upper half of it washes away, and for all that work and money, you should SEE it. ;)

I am chomping at the bit to get the crown installed in these rooms, because I know it will look ahhhhmazing against the Sisal colored walls and ceiling. ;)

In our chocolate colored powder room, I painted the ceiling the same color as the walls, and look how the molding pops!:
I added a thin coat of my glaze over the paint, just to give it a little bit of fun. (I think you can do whatever the heck you want and get dramatic in three rooms -- laundry rooms, powder rooms and dining rooms.)

In our son's bathroom I did the same blue as the ceiling in his room:
I didn't go the same color as the walls in these rooms because I wanted to tie in the blue that was used throughout, I wanted it to give the look of a sky, and it was just plain cute:
We don't have overhead lighting in our den (pounds head on table for that), so it's the darkest room in our house. I went with the same color of the walls to keep the cozy feeling we had going:
And I. love. it. (I'm going to install crown in here too, forgive my horrible cutting in...)

There is a common thought that painted ceilings make the room darker -- this is only true if the room is small, has low ceilings has little lighting. If I did a dark color on the ceiling in our master bathroom, with tall walls and tons of natural light, I can promise you it would not be darker in there. Swear. Bet you one meeellion bucks.

Another thought is that it make the room seem smaller. Even a small room like our den didn't shrink -- I swear it got bigger. When you remove the white ceiling, the eye just keeps going...it doesn't stop. I make the room seem more expanse and taller...YES, taller. When the ceiling is white, it stops your eye and shows exact height of your ceilings.

My first attempt at a painted ceiling was years ago. I wanted to give the illusion (there I go with illuuuuusions again!) of a tray ceiling in our dining room, so I put up molding, and took a color out of the light fixture for the inside of the molding:
I added a glaze to the top to make it glitter just a bit, and at first we loved it. It has stayed like this for years, but with the recent dining room redo, it just wasn't working anymore. I had the ceiling painted a couple weeks ago (I splurged and called my "guy" I use for ceilings when I'm feeling lazy) and had him leave the color on the inside, thinking it would look cool: Ummmm, it didn't. It looked like baby puke.
So in about an hour and a half, I finished it up and continued the chocolate brown:
And I adore it. (Oh yeah, I'm waiting on a special little somethin' for that empty area to the right of the table...patiently...waiting...)

The light, I have always loved...

But now I'm craving something more traditional...is that wrong? I spent a pretty penny on this light. I can't believe I'm considering this. Yikes. I have a spot where I may be able to put it, but I'm not sure what I'll do. Thoughts?

There are general guidelines "they" say to use when painting a ceiling. The first is, if your ceilings are eight feet or lower, go half and half with the color -- like half white, half wall color. Or at least take the wall color lighter a few shades. Also, if you are painting ceilings in small rooms, the general thought is to go lighter.

If your ceilings are nine foot and taller, you can go the same color as the walls. If they are VERY tall, I'm talking like 15-20 feet -- you can darker than the walls. This is for instances when you want to make such a tall space cozier and not as cavernous feeling. And it works!

My rules are...do whatever the heck you want! I almost always do the same exact color that's on the walls, no matter the size of the room or ceiling height. You can do a different color, you can go lighter, darker, whateva. I highly recommend flat paint though. Any other finish will be too shiny. If you want some shiny, use a glaze like I did to glam it up...but do it sparingly.

Painted ceilings are not for everyone. And you will be sceered, verrrry screered the first time you do it. (Heck, the fifth time you do it!) But I have yet to regret one of them in our home.

Next up...I'll show you my cheap-o hutch redo!

P.S. I believe I said "ceiling" 267 times. 268.
P.S.S. I am finishing up answering your questions on my Q and A post tonight! That was FUN!

62 comments:

  1. All of my ceilings are painted the same colors as our walls, too. No white here!

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  2. Martha Stewart has always advocated painted ceilings. I would never doubt her!

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  3. So, what do you think about painting the popcorn ceilings? This has held me back on painting mine. I am not afraid of anything with paint except this.

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  4. I love painted ceilings as well. I live in a home built in the 1940s, so some of the ceilings are pretty low. Painting them does make them feel higher. I also love the light blue "sky" ceilings. Looks great!

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  5. I love painted ceilings as well. I live in a home built in the 1940s, so some of the ceilings are pretty low. Painting them does make them feel higher. I also love the light blue "sky" ceilings. Looks great!

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  6. My (popcorn w/GLITTER!) ceilings need to be painted so bad. I'm w/Jessica, about being afraid.

    Your ceilings are so rad! Great job!

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  7. I painted the ceiling in my bathroom the same as the walls (light blue) only because I smudged on the ceiling and thought "hey that looks pretty good." Your ceilings look good but you're right, I'd be skeered to do mine. haha

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  8. So I must ask in regards to "iluuuusions" -- are you an Arrested Development fan by chance? 'Cause I was laughin.

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  9. I love the way the dining room ceiling looks now.

    All our ceilings are white and it looks weird in every room but our living room which is vaulted.

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  10. Wonderful painting tips Sarah
    I always say if you love "it "do it! It is your home so break the rules(decorating rules that is :) and just do "it"

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  11. Of course... It looks absolutely Uber Fantastic!!!
    I love love love it. I never really thought about how having colored walls and white ceilings make them stand out as being short! I might have to give it a try in the near future!

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  12. We'd love to paint our ceilings, but in pretty much every room there's at least one a/c return/vent thingy on the ceiling. I can't do it because I am scared that the air vent things will stick out like sore thumbs. Like 12 of them. Any thoughts?

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    1. Paint em. Yep. Just paint them the same color as your ceilings. Sand, prime, paint. Get er done.

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  13. I've always loved decorated ceilings, ever since we had a Victorian-I even had mine stenciled with lace. I like the glaze idea a lot! I may have to step away from the stenciled ceilings and try something more modern.

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  14. Thanks for the ideas! You've inspired me - your ceilings look great!

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  15. I am SO glad you posted this! I am preparing to paint my very first ceiling, well, other than white of course...right now, actually sanding off a texture ceiling...UGH!!! but anyways, I am hoping it goes well. I am wanting to paint the walls antique white and ceiling chocolate brown. the ceilings are close to 9 feet tall in that room. I very well may regret it, but I will never know till I try. The guy at the paint store said, well at least it will be...unique...LOL :) thanks for your wisdom and experience to make it a bit easier :)

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  16. I'm a huge believer in painting the ceilings too! I rem. first learning that through Christopher Lowell. Love your colors!

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  17. I don't see a problem with a painted ceiling. I think it looks very nice. I'd totally paint mine if the BF would let me paint. I can't even pain the walls. Lame.

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  18. I just painted my closet with my FREE Glidden paint I found about because of this blog thankyouverymuch and I painted my ceiling in there the same color I did the walls (mid day mocha) and despite the fact that it is a tiny space I agree it makes it look bigger! I loves it.

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  19. I am soo glad that you posted this! We painted my bathroom walls and ceiling the same color but I was afraid I was living in a paper bag (the color is called that ironically)I was thinking that maybe I should repaint the ceiling white but your idea to use the crown molding is fantastic. Love it!

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  20. Such great tips!! We have molding and color on the ceiling of our living room and I love it.

    And for the person that asked about painting the popcorn, we had popcorn in our old house and painted it. I have to say I liked it better painted then white, but still would have loved to have it removed!!

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  21. I SOOOO agree with you on painted ceilings!! Also, I have had great luck with Ebay for all the things I spend a chunk o' change on, but now don't want anymore. It might be heavy on the shipping, but there's always craigslist too. Ballard has some lovely, trad. chandys that I would love to hang from;)
    I used one of your ideas today in my blog!
    Check it at
    www.doubledelightdesigns.blogspot.com
    Love your blog!

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  22. EEEEEEE!!! I'm doing a cheap-o hutch redo right now too! I'll show you mine if you show me yours. :) I'm turning a $40 goodwill china hutch into a flat-panel TV Entertainment Center. It's going to be fab!!

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  23. LOVE my painted ceillings too Sarah! Great tips and pics! :)

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  24. Great job! I love that you call it the 5th wall! Too funny!

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  25. Ditto . . . I'm a painted ceiling lady, here, too! All your rooms look great!

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  26. Love it! I have always wanted to paint my ceilings. You've just inspired me!

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  27. We painted our vaulted ceiling in our master bath the same as the wall color a few years back and I LOVE it. We need to have our family room ceiling painted soon due to water damage and I am SOOOO going with something other than white!

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  28. Our ceilings are painted as well -- it does add a great dimension. Your ceilings are beautiful!

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  29. I painted the ceiling in two rooms and after this post I'm definitely doing more! Thanks

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  30. Love this idea! I have been thinking about doing this on my dining room tray ceiling.

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  31. When we bought this house 12 years ago, all the ceilings had that white popcorn ceiling and I hated it. As we went room by room repainting we painted most of the ceilings and I love it. In my living room we actually painted the crown moulding the same color as the ceiling and it looks awesome!

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  32. I painted my first ceiling about 10 years ago. My dining room. I painted it dark red. Everyone loved it. I have painted a few of my ceilings and keep thinking I should paint them all, but haven't yet.

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  33. I had the same question a couple of others posed, which is whether or not you can paint a popcorn ceiling without sanding off all the texture first. I've always wanted to paint ours, but don't know if I should because of the textured element.

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  34. I never really thought about painting the ceiling, but it does look nice, I didn't like the dark color, but then again, it should match the things you have in the room, and I don't think I have something for that style.
    Something else, I would worry about selling the house, I don't think its "hip" just yet. So I guess I'll stay with decorating the "normal" way (flowers, paintings etc.)
    Dafna
    www.hobbypapervillage.nl

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  35. Beeeeaaautiful!!!! It really makes the moldings in your ceiling pop. Just lovely!

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  36. Our house is just 1 year old and I guess thats the way they are making them this way ceilings the same color as the walls. Also I was too cheap to have them paint my doors and baseboards white so they are also the same color. too much the same color - so first to change is the baseboards it sounds like (and never the ceiling?) I also have vaulted ceilings in every upstairs room (duh!) can I do crown molding on a vaulted ceiling???? because your sons room for a second look vaulted I can't really tell - and I LOVE IT

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  37. I'm right there with you on the need for a more traditional looking chandelier in the dining room. I think it just would match your furniture, window coverings, etc. much better. I have to agree with the other blogger about eBay and craigslist if you want to sell it. Ebay is also great for finding nice looking chandeliers for cheap cheap cheap. I can't wait to see what you end up doing!

    Now for the ceilings... I've painted the ceilings and walls the same for a while... But I have one room that's a deep blue with stark white trim and accessories, so I left its ceiling white, and I love it in there. I love your colors. Color choices are where my courage runs out! Also, since I constantly stalk your blog but haven't often commented, I have to tell you now that I'm right there with you on Behr paint. The best, hands down.

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  38. I love the idea of painting the ceiling but... flat paint? What's the advantage of flat paint? My mom has always said flat paint is impossible to clean. Not that there would be any handprints up there on the ceiling, but what about cobwebs and stuff? Otherwise, great idea. I have a rafter ceiling down here in the basement that's dark green, I wonder what would happen if I painted it something lighter.

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  39. Yours look fabulous. Love the brown and white combo.
    I wish I could paint our ceilings, but we have popcorn, which is N.A.S.T.Y. I even have sketches of how I would paint little details where the wall meets the ceilings in some rooms. Oh well, the one time tried to remove popcorn it looked like a terrorist attack.
    Sei la vie
    Your look beautful!!

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  40. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

    I have to disagree with one thing you said, though - tying darkness to the height of the ceiling. It doesn't matter. In our last house, we had 8' ceilings in the Living Room & Dining Room, and in both spaces, we painted the ceiling one shade darker than the walls. It absolutely works, it extends them and makes it feel as if you have 9' ceilings. Like you mentioned, it keeps the eye traveling.

    I do agree on flat (or eggshell at most, but sometimes even that's too much), because it looks weird to have a sheen on the ceiling...it draws the eye up there too quickly.

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  41. I love the color of your son's bathroom!

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  42. I didn't realize you'd painted so many of your ceilings! They look great. I can't tell if you have texture or not up on that 5th wall. Your brown bathroom looks like it might have the swirly- texture, which is what I have in the entire house. Would you paint right over that?

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  43. YES! I love this! I am super lazy so I always just want to paint that ceiling! Now to convince my husband...

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  44. I adore painted ceilings, several in my home are, some are not. What is stopping me? Ceilings are a pain in the neck to paint! Literally!!! And take twice as long as a similar area on a wall would, but yes, completely and totally worth the effort.
    Get post and appreciate the guidelines for picking a paint shade for ceilings!
    Janell
    p.s. you could always try posting your light fixture on Craigslist...

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  45. 'Great' post, that is...in too much of a hurry here. Need to go paint some ceilings...

    Janell

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  46. Just another reason why YOU ROCK!!

    I looooove the chocolate brown in your dining room. And trim on the ceiling? Pop!

    I was a scaredy cat and we painted our entire house (including ceilings) a safe beige/tan color. We left our red kitchen and I LOVE the red. I was such a wimp though with the rest of the house.

    Oh, and our paint guy painted right over our A/C return vents in the ceilings. Love it!

    What are your thoughts on painting over wallpaper? I'd love to take some leftover red paint from the kitchen and tackle our half bath that currently has blue/yellow seashell wallpaper. I'm just too lazy to remove it first.

    Think that'll work?

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  47. I've been banging this drum for years. This idea will probably end up on my blog at some point. I only chickened out once.

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  48. I can't wait to have fun playing with the walls (and the fifth wall) in our own home. We rent right now, but I told my husband that I am going have so much fun with projects I have in mind when we get a house. He kind of looked worried. :) I told him not to worry...{snicker}

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  49. But I'm sceeeeeeeeeeered...really? Hmmm...okay maybe I can do one room and see. Kayla's room has crown that I installed and it definitely doesn't pop at all...maybe that is what I need. However, all my ceilings connect on my first floor. Got any ideas for that?

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  50. I've been thinking about painting a rectangle on our ceiling above our dining table. We have an eat-in kitchen. I think this is just the thing to set the dining area apart from the cooking area! Your dining room looks great!

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  51. I love your ceilings. I'm way scared to paint ceilings. Ack! One day..maybe my next room I paint. :)
    I copied your fall wreath - here's a link to my blog post! http://lindsayphenes.blogspot.com/2009/09/dollar-store-wreath.html
    Love it!

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  52. I am to scarreeed to paint my ceilings! Someone else asked - popcorn ceilings??

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  53. If I didn't have popcorn ceilings, I would SO take advantage of painting that as the '5th wall'.

    On another note, I just posted about making the wall art (ballard wall design) inspired from one of your posts! Check it out! I gave you credit too, don't worry! :)

    http://polkadotthought.blogspot.com/2009/09/wall-art.html

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  54. All of your rooms look sooo great! I have one ceiling in my house painted gray (my massage room) and I love it. Thanks for the tip about low ceilings. My house is totally in that category. I'll have to try that!!

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  55. Love your painted ceilings. My fav is that blue in the nursery {swoon}
    Beautiful!

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  56. LOVE THE CEILINGS!!!! I'm going to try it in my laundry room. I want to do molding - do you cut it yourself? Tips, please!

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  57. Have you ever shown your son's bathroom? I see a little yellow and blue in the molding picture and I'd love to see more of my favorite color combination. Thanks!

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  58. Goddess of Molding Have you thought of the molding that has a gap in the back like srown but has better nail strip at bottom edge and place rope LED kights around the top of your den for soft indirect lighting. I put above kitchen cabinets and love it. I know you a brave enough to show and tell us -my fear comes from valuted ceilings that peak on inside wall. Show us how, please.

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  59. Hi what is the colors in the second pic? how did you do this was it galzed as well. I love it!

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