The Fifth Wall

February 12, 2013

I’m back today with one of my FAVORITE changes to make to a room. OK, the actual process is not my favorite (it stinks) but the result is one I’m hooked on.

It’s of course, your “fifth wall” – the ceiling. I was painting ceilings way before blogging – I’ve just always loved the look. I think it stems for my love of a pop of color next to bright white trim. I feel like if I’m going to put up crown molding I want to SEE it the molding. Lord knows it’s not easy to put up -- I want it to make an impact. :)

I painted the Bub’s bathroom and nursery ceiling and then kept it that color for his big boy room (and carried the color down to the backs of the built ins):

airplane boy room

I did it in my office, more than once. It was a rusty red color (twice) so I’ve now painted that ceiling THREE times:

gallery wall white frames

It looks aqua-ish here but it’s really a light blue.

As I found these pictures I realized how much I love blue on a ceiling. Of course I was daring back in my “paint everything black” days years ago – a couple of our ceilings went really dark:

chocolate brown bathroom 

blue bathroom

REAL dark. Too dark. You can see that I changed  it to blue last year.

When we had hardwoods put in the dining area I realized just how dark it was:

chocolate brown dining room

It was like a cave. Not my best decision ever. :)

So when I transformed it into a library with bookcases, I painted that ceiling with a really light gray:

DIY built in bookcases

All of those rooms I painted myself – most at least twice. A smallish room I have no problem with, but when I wanted to paint the family room and kitchen ceiling years ago, I hired out:

family room tan walls

It’s HUGE. I had that done probably, gosh…six or seven years ago? Maybe more?

I did the same color as the walls (Sisal by Ralph Lauren), just in a flat sheen:

corner fireplace

For years it didn’t bother me, but lately, probably over the past two or so, it’s been driving me nutty. It was just SO heavy and dark.

Thing is, we have some repair work do to on the kitchen ceiling and I kept putting it off till we fixed that. But a few months ago I just couldn’t take it anymore. I bought the paint the week of Thanksgiving and actually thought I would try painting it “real quick.” Umm…I got busy, thank goodness, you know – with those holidays? (What was I thinking??)

Anyway, the paint sat for months, until I started my snowball of projects in the family room a couple weeks ago. I started painting the ceiling and got about a fourth of that big space done. You can actually see where I stopped in the reflection of the mirror:

how to decorate a mantel

Ha!! I wondered if anyone would pick up on that.

But there were two problems. One, it was KILLING me. The last time I did this was last summer in the dining room and it wasn’t that bad. I don’t know if I’m getting old or what, but goodNESS. It was horrible. I even tried putting a travel pillow around my neck cause it. was. burning. It didn’t help.

And then I noticed a teensy issue – the paint was SHINY. Now I know a shiny ceiling in the right room is pretty cool, but it’s not what I was going for. I like mine as flat as possible, not a lick of shine. But there it was:

shiny ceiling

Ugh. So that, combine with the fact that the paint was not going to cover in one coat, and the pain in my neck -- all caused me to call the professionals. This room is just more than I can handle I guess.

I’m SO glad I got help with it! It took two days and two coats and the second coat was the right sheen:

flat ceiling paint

I had color matched this color in a True Value paint, and it was flat, but they used an enamel base, which caused the sheen. Why they used enamel for a flat paint, I do not know. The second coat was a Sherwin Williams paint in flat.

The color is called Nuance and is the lightest color on the paint chip that the Analytical Gray is on (that we used throughout a big portion of the house).

The new color is not quite white, it’s a light gray and I love it:

light gray ceiling

It still makes the crown pop but brightens up the room considerably. And many of you saw the other change in here – I took the ceiling fan down and replaced it with a lantern from Home Depot. The only time we use the fan is when I burn something in the oven, so I’m determined not to burn things anymore. Or I’ll just bring in the fan from the garage. ;)

The fan just took up so much visual space, the lantern looks SO much better! And we actually use it – the fan cast the light down so it was harsh. This keeps it up so we turn on this one ALL the time now.

Here’s an idea of how the darker ceiling looked before with the fan:

tan walls family room

And here it is with those changed (and a few others a long the way too):

corner fireplace gray ceiling

Wow, what a difference, eh?? It feels SO much better to me in there now. The walls will eventually go to a color between Nuance and Analytical Gray, I haven’t decided what yet. So the walls will flow better with the ceiling eventually.

For now, I’m glad it’s just done. Are you a painted ceiling fan? Or are you one of ceiling fans? What? I know many love a crisp white ceiling but for me it’s a little touch that I love to add to a space. Now I need to go clean out the oven so I don’t need that fan anymore. ;)

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  1. So you convinced me I can paint my ceilings a "color", just not a dark color. Right now I am painting them all white until I decide what to do with them. (I had no choice because the past owner was a smoker and painting makes the stale smoke smell go away)

  2. Thank you so much for this post! No joke...last night The Hubs and I were talking about this exact thing - painting the ceiling in our master bedroom. We are considering painting our room a little darker than we are used to. He asked if we should paint the ceiling, and I had no idea. Thank you for the tip to use a light color on the same paint chip as the room color. I think I'll like the lighter ceiling. And I'll be sure to use flat paint (without an enamel base!). I'm excited to have him read this post!! Thank you!!

  3. I absolutely LOVE how all your ceiling look (always have) but I'm sceeeeerd to paint the ceiling! We rent, so we're not in a place to paint now anyway, but when we own, i may face my fears :)

  4. Is your rug new, too? I love it!

  5. the fireplace looks diff again! Where is that fab rug from and also where did you get the mirror above the mantel?

    Karen Kane Giveaway up!

  6. There are all kinds of little changes in your living room!! ;) Can't paint the ceilings in this house... the builder did the popcorn ceilings. I would love the knock down ceilings, but not the time nor funds to redo all the ceilings right now. We have bigger issues with this place that need fixing. Someday though...

  7. Amy I blogged about that rug last summer here:
    And the mirror I shared last week, here:
    Love them both! :)

  8. Michelle, you can paint popcorn, from what I've heard -- you'd just need to use a thicker nap on the roller. I've never tried it so I can't attest to it, but I've heard you can do it. :)

  9. I love a painted ceiling, pale blue, specifically. Next time I paint one, though, I will definitely hire someone. Two years ago I suffered permanent nerve damage from painting our three upstairs bedrooms, all with sloped ceilings. It never crossed my mind that painting would do this to me!

  10. I finally convinced the hubs a couple years ago to paint our ceilings something other than white! What a difference. All of that beautiful crown now stands out rather than getting lost.

  11. You can paint a popcorn ceiling. It's a pain in the butt, but you can do it. You do need the thicker nap, but also make sure you buy paint that says it's for a ceiling, or it might just say ceiling white. You can get it tinted though just like any other paint. The key is to do a light coat, and do a second coat after it's completely dry, if you need to. Otherwise the popcorn saturates and falls on your head, floor, walls...

  12. I seriously love every change that you have made to your living room lately. I just painted stripes on my bedroom ceiling, and it was literally my worst nightmare! Now that they are done, it makes me happy as a clam waking up to them first thing though!!!

  13. I have never painted a ceiling a "color" before... I will have to try it, in the end I usually LOVE the choices that I'm most scared to make!

  14. I hate painting ceilings, but it does make a huge difference. You picked the perfect color for this space. Totally love it!

  15. I love the look of a colored ceiling, but I'll never do it in my house. I paint everything myself and we have popcorn ceilings (they're super common in this part of the country). They are a BEAR to paint and I hope to paint each ceiling only once so I do white. Just painting a fresh coat of white paint on the ceiling makes the room look so much cleaner and more fresh. You can paint popcorn ceilings and like Kara said you just use a thicker nap. I actually do a really thick first coat and do a light second coat. It takes a TON of paint though. WAY more than you anticipate. I've painted almost every popcorn ceiling in this house and they look SO much better.

    I love all the changes you've made in your living room. I love the lantern, but I use my ceiling fan every day in the summer.

  16. Can you provide dets on that Home Depot lantern? Love it and REALLY need to replace the ginormous sassy brassy builder light on our landing. Thanks!

  17. Totally LOVE IT !!!!!!! GIRL your house is amazing. I love your house. YOU have done an amazing job decorating too . I love your style of EVERYTHING !!!! Just beautiful .. The ceiling being painted .. Awesome .. LOVE YOUR OFFICE TOO . Thanks for Sharing ... LOVE, Sherry @ The Rusty Pearl .................

  18. I needed to read this! Everything looks amazing. We are in the process of painting a few rooms and I've been thinking something is missing. Now I found this and I want to paint the ceiling an actual color!! I'm stoked thank you!

  19. I love painted ceilings and personally, I don't think there's such a thing as too dark ;) but the lighter colour is fab. I also love it when walls and ceilings are painted the same colour - it somehow makes the space seem much larger!

  20. In all my years of looking at home magazines, I've never seen an article on painting your ceilings.

    I love the idea. Your are great in style and color choice. Thanks for showing us you can paint your ceilings!!


  21. Oh girl, I can totally picture you trying to paint that ceiling with a travel pillow strapped to you. That sounds like something I would do. This getting older is for the birds! At least you didn't kick over half a gallon of white trim paint on your BEDROOM CARPET like I did yesterday. Check out that fiasco here:

  22. I'm a no ceiling fav type of girl as well, however, hubby loves them...and well the pocket book does too. Love the new light fixture and the new ceiling color!

  23. I HATE looking at the ceiling fan in our lr! But we have to have it. How can I make it look less like the elephant in the room? It has to hang down a ways to clear the ceiling beams. It has to be there because we use wood heat (our only source is a fireplace) and it pushes the heat off the ceiling.

  24. Honestly, I like the before's got a warmer feeling to it. I'm all over nuetrals now and I know that's not "in". Enjoy your new look!

  25. In small rooms I usually paint the ceiling the same color as the wall to visually 'erase' the lines between ceiling and walls. However, I usually am a light paint color person anyway so having the room all one color is a good thing...and it makes the room look bigger.

    I prefer light ceilings overall but that doesn't necessarily mean white for me ;-)

    I LOVE how your room looks now! So much lighter and brighter...and wow what a great difference removing that ceiling fan made! Super!

  26. I cannot find that lantern either at Home Depot either.

  27. I love the idea of painting ceilings a color besides boring ol' white! Too bad we just had the whole house repainted and it's all done now. Oh well, in the future...

  28. I've painted one ceiling. I loved it but never again. When we moved into our old house the dining room was a rust orange color with a goldenrod ceiling. I turn it to a soft beach house brown on the walls and a beautiful light blue on the ceiling. I miss that pretty blue.
    Where did you get the rug in your living room? It's so pretty.

  29. Do you have textured ceilings? I've seen painted ceilings in pictures, but they all seemed smooth. I wondered if textured ceilings (not popcorn) look good painted.

  30. Looks awesome! Your living room rocks! Love it!!

  31. I hire out my ceilings to be painted too, don't even want to try it. I'm actually about to plank my bedroom ceiling... or should I say, have it planked :)

  32. Your living room looks so cozy!

    I've always heard that you're not supposed to put color on the ceiling because it makes the room seem smaller or something, but yay for breaking the rules! Loving that subtle gray. :)

  33. Thanks for this post! This really helped me out so much. Keep up the great work on this blog!


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