The ceiling represents one-sixth of the space in a room, but too often it gets nothing more than a coat of white paint. In fact, for decades, white has been considered not only the safest but also the best choice for ceilings.
There are times when it really is the perfect solution, but if you never consider anything beyond ordinary white, you may be missing an opportunity to add excitement and drama to a room.
Light vs. Dark Ceilings: As a general rule, ceilings that are lighter than the walls feel higher, while those that are darker feel lower. "Lower" need not mean claustrophobic: Visually lowered ceilings can evoke cozy intimacy.
Light Sources: As with wall colors, consider the source and strength of light the room receives during the time you're most often using it. Bright daylight bouncing off a blush pink or sky blue ceiling creates an airy feeling; candlelight and lamplight reflecting on tomato red produce a rich glow.
Paint Finish: Ceiling paint is usually flat, but an eggshell or satin finish paint offers just a hint of reflective sheen -- a benefit if you're using a darker color. Realize, however, that a ceiling must be in near-perfect condition since higher-sheen paints can call attention to surface flaws.
Color on the ceiling can enhance a room's character, but beware of excess: for primary living areas, keep the ceiling treatment simple so you don't grow tired of it.
Continued on page 2: Classic White