Painting Our Bedroom Ceiling A Soft Green Color

Those of you who follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter may have tried to solve the mystery of why we slept in the guest bedroom for a few nights last weekend. Well… (drumroll? trumpets? cow bell?)…  we painted the ceiling in the master bedroom. Yeeehaw!

One of our favorite things about blogging about our adventures in home improvement is that we’re still totally learning as we go. By no means have we cracked all the decorating codes, and we just love when we make some groundbreaking-to-us discovery along the way that we get to share with you guys. Well, this is one of those times.

After three years of loving Glidden’s Gentle Tide on the walls of our bedroom (it’s the only room we didn’t paint at least twice to get it right) we suddenly realized that our white crown molding paired with our white ceilings were sort of yawn. The entire room felt polished and luxe thanks to billowy floor to ceiling curtains, breezy blue tones, and crisp white trim… but the boring white ceiling made it feel like we had neglected the fifth wall in the space- and it certainly didn’t do anything to accent the crown molding that we introduced a while back for a bit more interest and architecture.

Nope, we were definitely not playing up all of our rooms positives, but that’s nothing that two $7 quarts of paint couldn’t solve. First we taped up some paint chips on the ceiling and studied them at all times of the day to figure out which one we liked best. Taping them to the ceiling is a super important step (as opposed to just holding the swatch up against the wall) because light hits that plane of the room in a totally different way (something that looks super light against the wall might look mega dark on the ceiling or vice versa). Once we had them all in place it was easy to see which swatches were too purple, too gray, too dark, too weird, and juuuust right.

We settled on the swatch at the end because it felt like a lighter version of the color on the wall with a bit of fresh celery worked in. We could have had the paint guys mix up a tint that was exactly the wall color with a bit more white in it (for an almost-guaranteed-victory) but we jumped at the chance to add a bit of soft interest by choosing a swatch with a bit more green in it to layer in more beachy blue-green without hitting anyone over the head. It just felt a bit fresher and subtly exciting (you can’t see much of the green in this shot but it’s more apparent in the next pic).

So fourteen dollars later we got to work with our two quarts of flat paint. What color was it? Glidden’s Cool Cucumber. A gorgeous super soft green just like the inside of a cucumber (the swatch actually doesn’t look blue at all, but taped up in our blue room it picked up some of those soft tones for a gorgeous effect). And why two quarts? We hate to pay $20 to store a huge gallon of paint when we only need about half of it, and it’s only around $14 for two quarts which we knew would cover well enough and leave us with some touch up paint that we could easily store (since it’s about a fourth of the size of a big gallon). Why flat paint? It hides more imperfections than eggshell or semi-gloss options, and for surfaces like a ceiling it’s nice to play those down with something that looks smooth and seamless. Here’s John getting his roll on (he’s the roller in the family while I’m the resident cutter-inner):

The moment we had even a smidge of paint on the ceiling we immediately knew we were doing the right thing. The crown molding went from “I’ll just sit here in the back of the class and act invisible” to “Oooh, I know the answer to that complicated math problem so I’ll shout ‘pick me pick me’ and flail my arm around.”

And these photos really don’t do the serene green color any justice whatsoever. It’s like the softest piece of sea glass that got battered by waves for years and only has a hint of celery green left to show for it. And it goes so perfectly with our greeny-gray-blue walls that we’re still congratulating ourselves for stepping a bit out of our comfort zone (instead of adding 50% more white to the Gentle Tide formula and calling it a day). It by no means shouts “green ceiling” but it adds to a layered look instead of something super matchy-matchy and we love that it’s not so super coordinated and it looks a bit more interesting and dimensional. Plus it really plays up the crown molding since we no longer have the white on white thing going on.

Most of all we love that we lost that blinding white ceiling but the room still feels airy and open. The ceilings actually feel higher since the super white paint made them more apparent (which made them feel closer) while the soft celery tone makes them feel a bit more like they recede into the sky.

And the way that the light of the capiz chandelier bounces around the ceiling really makes the room feel like it’s glowing- like the shiny part of a sea shell or the inside of a limesicle. It really is cool and refreshing yet warm and enveloping. And although this last picture doesn’t do a great job of demonstrating it, the crown molding really does rise to meet us every morning, noon and night (check out the picture above this one for a better demonstration).

So that’s what we did last weekend in under three hours with less than fifteen bucks. And the reason we slept in the guest bedroom? Even though Glidden is naturally pretty low in VOCs, we always try to limit our exposure to paint since we use it so often, so sleeping in the guest bedroom for a few nights while we kept the windows open and a fan going in the master bedroom allowed us to appreciate another bedroom in our house. And tempt us to paint that ceiling as well. In fact I’m now dying to paint the ceilings in both of our guest bedrooms along with our living room and sunroom so stay tuned to see which one we attack next- and what color we choose.

Oh and let us know if you’ve had any decorating-related lightbulb moments lately. We never would have thought to paint our ceilings anything other than crisp clean white a few months ago, and we’re itching to know what sort of fun discoveries you guys are making on the home front. Do tell.


  1. Tracie says

    It looks great! We are in the process of removing our popcorn ceiling and painting them, but I immediatly went to white, not thinking of any other colors. In your second picture you have quite a few color options that you picked out. I was wondering if you had any advice on picking the right color for the ceiling. Eventually we will be putting up crown molding as well and I never realized how much a color would make it pop. Great Job!

  2. Rebekah says

    How do you think color would look on a textured ceiling? I would love to do something like that, but I’m afraid it would look pretty funky.

    Also, did you remove everything from the room to paint the ceiling? I noticed even your clothes are out of the wardrobe!

    • says

      Tracie- Our tips would be to tape up a bunch of swatches on the ceiling (it’s important because light hits that plane of the room differently than if you just held the swatches up to the wall), to select colors that are softer than the walls for a light and airy effect (you never want the ceiling to feel heavy and dark) and to look at the undertones carefully (so you don’t pick something too clashy- you want something that looks somehow related or complementary to your walls). Hope it helps!

      Rebekah- We left the platform bed and the leather chair in the bedroom (covered in tarps) but we cleared all of our clothes and other accessories out since errant ceiling drips can ruin things like curtains, rugs and lamp shades- and clothes! After staining a few of our “good clothes” with paint, we now always take the better-safe-than-sorry approach. Oh and we’re not sure how a painted textured ceiling would look. It might just draw attention to the texture (then again it could make the ceiling recede more than a bright white ceiling does). Perhaps you can test a corner and see if it’s more noticeable or less. Good luck!


  3. Lisa says

    Question about the ceiling….my husband and I have built several homes, but our drywallers always texture the ceilings. With one of our homes they agreed to leave in untextured and we then had to prime and paint it white. However it was not an easy feat it was streaky and uneven, despite many coats of paint. Do you have any tips on how to avoid this? I would love the option of painting the ceiing a different color but when they are textured I don’t think it has the same effect. Thanks for your help.

    • says

      Hey Lisa,

      Hmm, we probably have less of a problem with streaky ceilings since our house is 50 years old so the ceilings were primed and painted many times over. We did use two coats of paint on the ceiling for even coverage (it looked streaky with only one coat, but our old home usually calls for two all the time so that was no surprise). My advice would be just to keep painting until it looks even and streak-free (even if it means three or four coats, which is actually less unusual than you think). Hope it helps!


  4. says

    I love the way this turned out! The crown moulding and chandelier really stand out now. I’ll definitely have to take a stab at this sometime. Great job!

  5. Kari says

    It looks great! Thanks for posting this. We’ve toyed with painting our bedroom ceiling but have never gotten around to it. If I hadn’t seen this, I would have gone with a lighter color of the one on the wall. Now I think I will collect up some pale yellows and golds (our room is sagey green–I think that range may brighten up the room.

    Looks like I may have a painting project while the spouse is traveling in October (I tend to paint while he is away since it is less disruptive!).

  6. says

    So beautiful- and your description of the room made me feel like I was reading The English Patient.
    I’m now brainstorming about which ceilings I should paint…

  7. Erica says

    LOVE the color on the ceiling! Like you, I always thought that ceilings just had to be plain, ol’ boring white. You’re right, the color on the ceiling really makes the crown molding pop instead of blending into the ceiling…what a great transformation again from you two!

    We’re in the process of painting the rooms in our house and I have the hardest time making decisions when it comes to picking paint colors. Can I ask, how did you know that a blue-on-blue room would look good? I feel like I’m clueless when it comes to picking paint colors, but if I had a blue duvet like yours, I probably would have picked cream to put on the walls. I love the way your color looks with your comforter, so bright and airy but at the same time a very cozy and restful room! How do you do it!?!

  8. travis says

    Wow! You guys picked the perfect color. It is absolutely amazing with the color of your walls. The picture that shows John with the roller, I was skeptical, but the dried version of the paint color is amazing! I’ve been testing out this color ceiling idea in my house using Sherwin-Williams’ online paint program, but haven’t quite got it right. Thank you for this very simple idea (not sure why I didn’t think of it, but I guess that’s why YOU have the blog and I don’t!) to stick up paint chips on the ceiling. Wish me luck!

  9. CarMaj says

    Looks really great! Hmmm we don’t have the crown molding but we do have 15 foot peaked ceilings so painting may just make it feel cozy… now, to get my hubby to go for the painting-the-ceiling idea!!

  10. Beth says

    So I’m wondering what it was that happened a couple months ago that got you thinking about painting your ceilings?

    I have heard for years certain people saying they like painted ceilings, so the idea’s not new to me, but I’ve never done it. A few months ago I took all the “popcorn” off our living room ceiling, and now need to paint it, but don’t know if I want to go white, or a lighter shade of what I have on the walls…

  11. Amanda says

    As a fairly new finder of your blog, I am amazed at the work you’ve done. Seeing all of your projects makes me want to run out and buy a house. Moving in a year puts that out of the question for now though. I love the color change on the ceiling. I think it really boosts the vibe of the room. Keep up the good work! I look forward to stealing some of these ideas when we do buy our first house.

    • says

      Erica- We actually painted the walls of the bedroom back when we had white bedding, so we knew that would work. Then we saw our blue duvet on clearance at West Elm and had to snatch it up just to see if it would work in there. We knew if it didn’t we could always return it, but oh happy day- it did! I think that’s how we approach decorating our house in general- we like to snag things on a budget and always try things out to see if they’ll fly with the rest of the stuff we already have going on. It’s all about trial and error and evolving a room over time. In fact, here’s a post about the looooong process of evolution that our home has gone through. It certainly didn’t happen overnight. Hope it helps!

      Beth- Good question! I think we’re just always looking around to see what else we can layer in/alter to make our house even more exciting to us. We’re no good at sitting around so I was laying in bed one Saturday morning wondering what we could do (and staring at the white ceiling) when I decided we should at least look into painting it. We always assumed (since we loooove crisp white paint) that we couldn’t possibly like the look of a painted ceiling in our small house because white seemed to be the best way to keep things airy, but once we entertained the idea (and got some swatches up on the ceiling) we saw for ourselves that it wouldn’t make things dark or cave-like and we were all for it. Hope it helps!


  12. says

    Wow, I am loving the soft colors of the green you chose. Just added another calming layer to your already beautiful room.

    Quick tip: next time you paint, set out a bowl full of white vinegar. It will absorb the odors and you won’t be able to tell that you’ve painted!

    • says

      Hey Jenny,

      We looooooooove the bowl of white vinegar tip. Thanks so much for sharing it! We’ll have to try it next time we paint (which knowing us will be very soon).


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