Why You Should Paint Your Ceiling White

We just bought our first townhome, (yay!) and everything in the house that could be painted was painted the exact same light gray. It killed me a little to cover up that fresh paint, but I really thought changing the ceiling to flat white would help the overall feel of our home.

Here’s the gray ceiling before. Our living area is very long and narrow with 8′ ceilings. The shiny gray paint just highlighted that. It felt very boxed in and we wanted to change that as soon as possible.

This is after painting it white, adding furniture and blinds. I think the light from the ceiling also helps the walls look a lot lighter. It also brought out some of the warmth in the walls, which I really like.

Gray Ceiling Before- Just to show how much darker the ceiling can look than the walls in the same color

White ceilings! I took this at the same time of day, and I feel like the walls look so much lighter too with so much more light in the room.

There are several lines of thinking when it comes to ceiling colors. Some people think it’s best to paint the ceiling and walls the same color, that way it all matches. Another option is to paint the ceiling a few shades lighter than the walls. The third (which I recommend) is to paint the ceiling flat white. Here’s why. The ceiling does not get the same amount of light as the walls, especially in the corners. So if you paint the walls and ceiling the same color, you will end up with the ceiling looking a lot DARKER than the walls. This makes the ceilings feel lower and the room smaller. If you’re using the same paint as the walls, you will also likely not be using 100% flat paint. Some people think extra shine reflects more light…but to me it just makes the light and dark areas on the ceiling more noticeable, which then draws attention to the ceiling, making the room feel smaller. The few shades lighter idea is not terrible…but a major drawback is that you don’t know exactly how many shades lighter to go than your color. You could very easily end up with a clashing ceiling that looks similar, but just a little off. 

Here’s why I think flat white is best. White reflects the most light of any other color. Flat paint minimizes imperfections and gives off a soft glow, rather than glares and shadows, as you can see in the picture above. This helps your ceiling “disappear,” which is the secret to making a room feel larger and the ceilings higher. If you’re not constantly aware of the ceiling overhead, it keeps you from feeling like you’re in a box. Our living area is one looong rectangle, and the shiny gray paint on the ceiling made it feel a lot lower than I would have liked. It was a big project to paint the whole ceiling, but I’m so glad I did! I love the final product! Head over to my post on the process to find out what I used and how I did it. 

Here’s a picture from when I had just started painting. It was a little scary to permanently alter our brand new home, but I’m soooo glad I went for it! You can immediately see how much brighter it looks with just a few shades of difference.

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