Dramatic Ceiling Update in the Powder Room

June 12, 2018

Painting your ceilings for a dramatic room update

I shared that there are a few decorating ideas I'll definitely be repeating from our old house -- and a few I won't

I've always known this bathroom ceiling project would show up here! I've been planning it on a smaller scale to start.

Many years ago I fell in love with painting the "fifth wall" -- the ceiling. If you go dark it creates drama and if you go light it makes the room feel more open. 

Light blue in particular makes a room feel taller.

I really love it against white crown molding as you can see in these rooms from our last house:
Modern farmhouse bathroom with DIY wood vanity

Powder room makeover with planked walls and Ikea

Boy bedroom in blue and red

Back in the day I would go really dark -- you can see what I did in the old dining room here. 😳 I'm not against a dark ceiling anymore, (as you'll see!) but chocolate brown is no longer my color of choice. ;) 

It's been a few months since I started working on our powder room so I decided it's time to get moving on it again. 

I wanted to paint this ceiling a dark blue to work with the wallpapered bathroom walls in here. 

Turns out the Cyberspace paint from Sherwin-Williams I used for our family room wall color was a close enough match so I just used that. 

Painting ceilings isn't the most fun paint job, but smaller rooms aren't too bad. Probably why I lean towards bathrooms for this project. ;) 

I started by taping off the crown molding and then painting two coats with a brush around the perimeter of the room: 
Tips for painting a bathroom ceiling

When I do a color on the ceiling I usually paint the bathroom exhaust fan as well. 

They actually take paint quite well. I did three coats on the fan: 
Painting a bathroom ceiling and fan

But WHY can't they make cool looking bathroom fans?? 

It's not an exact match but it's close enough cause it was FREE. 😂 

The bottom part of the walls will be bright white and will tie in nicely with the trim in the room. 

It took a couple coats to get the dark color done: 
Dark blue painted ceiling

A high quality latex paint is VERY helpful when painting a ceiling. Go with the best paint you can -- trust me, you won't want to have to do many coats!

This color is a satin finish and normally I prefer a flat, matte finish -- I don't love seeing any shine on a ceiling. 

I do not recommend using a semi-gloss finish on ceilings because the shinier paint finish accentuates every detail. 

I gotta say though, it's not bothering me in here. At least so far. 

Satin paint has a very low sheen, so that helps: 
Dark painted ceiling in bathroom

I may change my mind later -- we'll see. But I'm calling this part done for now! Now it's time to get those dang walls done!! The next time you see this room I'll be done with it. :) 

The dark ceiling looks good during the day but it's sooooo much better at night! It's just lovely. 

I want this room to feel like a little jewel box and the painted ceiling makes all the difference!

Here are my tips for painting a ceiling: 

  • If you have a textured ceiling, use a thicker nap roller it will make for quicker work. I used a 3/8 inch and it was fine, but the thicker the better. If your ceiling has a smooth finish, any regular nap will do.
  • Typically ceilings are painted in a flat paint, but it just depends on your preference. Flat minimizes any imperfections and sheen highlights texture or issues. But some LOVE a shiny ceiling so it's up to you!
  • If you're painting a larger room I recommend using a pole on your roller and this roller cover is awesome -- it prevents the paint from getting all over the room. 
  • I don't always think that a dark ceiling makes a room feel smaller, but it will create much more contrast, which can be jarring. It will definitely become a focal point -- it just depends on what you want for the space! 
  • Our ceilings are nine feet in this room but I've painted eight foot ceilings in lighter colors. 
As always, do what you want! I think a painted ceiling is a lovely little detail that's not always noticed right away, but always registers as something unique about the space. 

Have you painted a ceiling in your home? What color did you go with? 

Never miss a post by signing up to get posts via email

Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. Sarah that looks amazing! No, haven't done in my home, but never say never!

  2. Just curious, why did you go with textured ceilings? I didn’t know they were a thing anymore!

    1. I didn’t know they weren’t considered a thing. 😂 They are the norm (here at least). And much easier to patch if needed.

  3. So glad to see someone who I admire in the home department has textured ceilings too! We just built a new house and they wanted $5000 to do smooth ceilings. Our ceilings are 9 foot as well and they aren’t that noticeable, but that was the one thing I was worried about when we were building. We talked to a couple of real estate agents and they assured us that texture was normal in our are (Cincinnati) and we wouldn’t get that $5000 back when we resold. We decided to get the 3rd car garage option in lieu of the smooth ceilings. Best decision ever.

    1. Yep totally the norm and I agree about the value. 👍🏻 That’s crazy expensive!!

  4. I didn't know textured ceilings were "out." Popcorn ceilings, yes, but not textured. I love the texture - it keeps any glare away, regardless of paint sheen or lighting choices, especially any overhead or semi-flush lights. I would never pay extra for smooth, but as with anything, it's a matter of choice.

  5. Looks great! I actually dreamed about cedar planking the ceiling of my mudroom last night, so the 5th wall is on my mind ;-) You are so right about the ceiling color playing an important role in jewel box bathrooms. In our last house the bathroom was done by my husband before we met and he did a surprisingly nice job - the walls were a rich British red and the shower was tiled in warm gray-brown, with a dark wood vanity and soft beige counter & floor tile. But the ceiling and door trim were out of the can white, and it was distracting! If they had been a rich cream it would have brought the room to the next level. The ceiling particularly bugged me.

    Now just make sure to add an extra light or two to your dark bathroom! One of my favorite bathrooms had black wallpaper with beige figures on it, but despite a normal sized window it was so hard to do my makeup in there that I started to do in in my room by the window instead.

    1. That sounds lovely! This is just a powder room so I don’t do makeup in here thankfully. :)

  6. Looks great so far! Years ago I had a downstairs powder room with really high ceilings. I painted the ceiling in a bronze treatment and the walls a dark burgundy(cuz you know it was the early 2000's) and I had a pretty scrolled crown moulding. I liked it, and I still admire it when I've gone over to my ex-husband...not awkward AT ALL!! lol Can't wait to see the finished room!

  7. I love the look of it. I'm in a rental and the bathroom is painted peach. The walls, ceiling, molding, door, mirror casings, you name it. Maybe I'll try to convince the landlord to let me fix it up! Paint isn't a $$$$ investment but can work wonders!


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!