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.
kristen f davis says
as a side note: i hate painting ceilings! i had a bad experience once….. :)
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!
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!
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!
I’ve just saw this http://hookedonhouses.net/2009/09/01/animal-house/ and cannot help but thinking about you!!!!OMG how many good things you could do with this house!!!
BTW, i love the new colour, although I liked it white too. I guess its true, it looks higher
Once again you’ve done a fantastic job. It looks beautiful. It even makes the chandelier pop too!
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.
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!
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!
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!).
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…
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!?!
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!
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!!
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…
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.
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!
Jenny @ Words On Wendhurst 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!
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).
Jen Z. says
Love the color! Bravo as always! ;-)
Fantastic! And I love the color’s name – “Cool Cucumber”. It sounds so summery and refreshing. If you just told people the names of your colors (Gentle Tide + Cool Cucmber), then I think people would take a trip to the beach without even opening their eyes! Tres awesome!
Sherry! I love it… the colors looks so great together
Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog says
I just painted my ceilings white last week (the color was called “ceiling white” so I thought I was making a good choice)! After looking up at them, my first thought was, “is this too much?” I’m glad to see that stepping outside of the box worked for you.
Lisa above asked about streaky ceilings- In my experience of painting over untextured ceilings, I had to use two coats of *drywall primer* before painting. My ceilings came out streak free.
I absolutely love how it turned out! Big difference!
Looks great! I’m a HUGE fan of painted ceilings. I”ve got all our closet ceilings painted the same as the walls so when the door is left open you can’t tell where the wall ends and the ceiling begins.
Never thought of using a slightly different tone – def going to have to give that some thought for our TV/family room.
Love the painted ceiling!
love it! I think you mentioned in another post that the chandelier was from West Elom but I did not see it on the site. Could you please send me a link? the most similar one was very long. I have been looking for one for my Dining Room. In the MBR we have a ceiling fan (in the breakfast are also)& while according to blogs these are “out,” WE NEED THEM!!! so looking to update them a bit also. thank you.
They no longer sell this version of the chandelier, but you can find something extremely similar at World Market or on a site like ebay. Just search “capiz chandelier.” Hope it helps!
When I read the beginning of the post and saw you were painting your ceiling, my first thought was “NOOOOOO…” And even when I saw the picture of John beginning to paint it, I was still cringing. Then I saw the finished product, and it’s freaking amazing! You two are geniuses when it comes to anything home decor related!!! :-)
Speaking of which, I’m taking a lunch break from painting my kitchen. After following your “how to” for putting down a vinyl tile floor, now my kitchen is just screaming for some new paint. So I’m using your “how to” for painting over wood paneling. (Yes, this is how I’m spending my “vacation.”) Who knows, if it is the huge improvement that I hope it is, you might just be getting some “after” pictures from me!
Thanks for all the tips, ideas, and how-to guides you guys provide on a regular basis!
heather s. says
It looks great! I was skeptical when I saw the pic of John painting the ceiling since it was too dark and green but the pic of the paint once it dried changed my mind!
I like the look of painted ceilings but I wonder if painting all of the ceilings in your home is over-doing it. I think this looks good in moderation but that’s just my .02.
I would love for you to write a “how-to” on crown molding installation. We are thinking of adding crown molding to our office. Thanks!
We actually didn’t install our own crown molding as I got it done by a local handyman as a nice little surprise gift for John when we were busy with lots of other house fixes (I knew he already had a sore back and he totally appreciated the thought). Here’s a link to that post: https://www.younghouselove.com/royal-bread/
As for DIYing some crown molding in your own home, I’m sure you can uncover some great tutorials on google or even at Barnes & Noble or the library. Hope it helps!
Genius! Love how the two paint colors compliment each other. Great job!
I LOVE the new ceiling! It looks great. I never would have thought of that color choice, but it looks fantastic. You guys are such smarties. :)
It looks gorgeous!!
For another look completely, consider going a shade or two darker than the walls on the ceiling in one of your other rooms. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but we did this (on the advice of my mom) in our living room/dining room combo in our last house, and WOW. It popped like you wouldn’t believe. I thought it would feel closed in, but as Genevieve and Vern have said on so many occasions, dark colors recede when used correctly. It’s actually now one of my favorite decorating tips.
Very nice! I love the juxtaposition of the two colors. I’ve been thinking about painting our ceiling as well, because we have very light blue-grey walls that sort of get lost when they hit the white ceiling. I know a darker shade in the same color family would make them pop, but I’m afraid it’ll also make our teeny tiny room feel like a closet. Decisions, decisions.
I have to ask- did you move all of the furniture out of your bedroom to paint the ceiling, or just remove the bedding and cover everything else with drop cloth? Our house is under 950 square feet, so I always face the problem of having nowhere to put furniture when I’m painting or replacing flooring. As a result, my entire house is in a state of disarray over a simple paint job and it drives me bananas!
Jessica- 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. Of course we moved everything back in that evening (once you’re not actively painting it’s ok to bring everything back in while things dries). Hope it helps!
Sarah- Good question! Is there a way to spray paint them white while they’re in place? You could tape off the area around them and use a plastic tarp to be sure no spray got on anything else. Maybe it could work? Or you could always get a small paint brush and try to paint them I guess. Hope it helps! Good luck…
- Sarah :-) says
Well, I don’t have any lightbulbs to speak of, at the moment, but I do have a question for all of those DIY-ers out there in YHL Land. We bought a house from a smoker (yuck!!) and have been “rescuing” the house little by little as we could afford it and find the time. The paint has done WONDERS! and for now we’re ejoying our crisp white and no-longer-nasty-ugly-smoker yellow cielings.
BUT Houston,we have a problem! Although our cielings and pretty much the whole house has survived quite the face lift, the crispness has nighlighted the yellow-stained sprinkler heads everywhere! Now, we were able to pop off the little circle things that curround each head and bleach them white again (thank the Lord!), but how do I de-yellow-fy those yucky sprinkler heads without setting them off?
Now, as best as we can tell, it’s your typical wax lip kind of system that will be set off by intense smoke and heat, only, but I’m terrified to use somethign as abrasive as bleach to do ANYthing to these things. We’ve already had one claim to our Home Owners Insurance in the almost year that we’ve lived here (DIY nightmare!) and over $10K+ later (not our money, thankfully), we’re not so eager to go through water damage and recovery again. Any tips on what we could do to pretty-up our gaudy yellow sprinkler heads?
- Sarah :-) says
Sherry: That’s a good idea, btu I’m afraid to get anything on top of the red wax tip that actually makes tke sprinkler work, ya know? I think I may be out of luck, here, but I keep holding onto hope that I can find some sort of easy fix…
[email protected] says
It looks so nice! I’ve been thinking about painting our bedroom ceiling ever since we painted the walls, but it seemed so intimidating. As usual you guys make it look worth all the work!
Looks great! You guys are so fabulous and totally inspiring.
Question: Where did you get your bedding? I am really in love with your duvet, and I think my sweetheart would even go for it!
The duvet is from West Elm but they no longer sell it there so try ebay for something identical (or super similar). Happy hunting…
I love it!
I recently had a similar “can’t stand the white-on-white” dilemma in my kitchen, which I fixed by painting the walls above and inbetween the cabinets/counters a summery yellow. It’s amazing what a contrasting color does to make the white really pop!
Quick question: do you guys have any experience putting up simple crown molding? I’ve heard that it can really “heighten” the room and I really want to try it myself instead of paying a contractor…
I actually hired a local handyman to hang our crown molding as a little surprise gift to John so we don’t have any firsthand experience. Maybe try googling of the library for a tutorial? Hope it helps!
Blue and Green … very fresh. I hear my tarps and paint brushes calling to come out and paint a ceiling!!!
Oooh I love it! The crown molding looks so great now! I do admit, I love painted ceilings if done right, but I would be so scared to try it (even though you could always paint it back).
yay!!! Unpainted ceilings are really a pet peeve of mine, and you did a great job of showing what a huge difference it makes. Very finished looking now and your trim pops!
Jessica M says
Nicely done! We’ve been planning to paint the ceiling in our living room for a while now, but it’s quite a task since we have an open floor plan in our remodeled ranch… and would need to paint the ceiling in the front hallway, kitchen, AND dining room! Makes me tired (and gives me a sore neck) just thinking about it!
I love how it looks during the day–so bright and airy! The capiz lamp looks perfect next to it. Great job!
Ofcourse I am LOVIN’ this post! I just painted my bedroom Gentle Tide(after drooling over yours forever) and was thinking, “Now what color for the ceiling?” Very timely! Thanks Youngsters!
I love it! I heart the crown molding even more now.
I can’t wait till we get our own place (we’re still renters) so I can start to DIY. You two are so cute and inspirational. I discovered your blog a week ago (through a link on the ikeahacker blog) and now I’m thoroughly addicted, even though I can’t do most of this stuff until we have have our own place….
The ceiling looks great!
We have textured walls and ceilings (knockdown texture) in our house and so far we’ve painted all the ceilings the same color as the walls and we absolutely love it!
The reason I decided to do it is because for some reason I just dont like the abrupt color change between the wall and white ceilings – I find that hard line around the room so distracting. (I do, however, think it looks fine when there’s crown molding – I’m weird like that!).
So far all the colors we’ve chosen have been light so they were fine for ceilings and I really love the seamless look!
Shannon Karsies says
Where did you get your shell light fixture? And how did you mount it? I think I saw something like that at World Market!
We actually got out bedroom’s capiz chandelier from West Elm but they no longer carry it so we send people to World Market for something nearly identical. Hanging any light fixture is fairly straightforward (just connect the black wire to the black wire and the red one to the red one, etc) but we definitely recommend turning off the power to the ENTIRE house and googling some explicit directions if it’s your first time changing out a fixture. Hope it helps!
I love it! What a difference something so small can do. I may have to cave and paint the ceiling in my bedroom…hmmmm
Our walls are some sort of eggshell white and I painted the ceiling blue and LOVE it, too.
The ceiling looks great! I love the cool green color. Do you have any tips for painting a popcorn ceiling? I just bought my first house and while I hate the look of a popcorn ceiling, I can’t afford to change it right now. The previous owner smoked, so it’s yellowed in areas and I’d like to cover that up. Thanks for being so inspiring!
Our only tip would be to use a nappy roller so you can get into all those cracks and crevices. And definitely use oil-based primer first to get rid of the yellow smoke marks. Hope it helps!
Hey, love the transformation, guys! Very cool, I probably would have played it safe and just added white to your normal tint.
I had been thinking of asking this question and this seems like a perfect time since it’s very related! We have a tray ceiling in our Master Bedroom with crown molding at the point where the wall meets the normal ceiling height and then again at the top of the tray ceiling. The vertical planes (normal wall and inner tray ceiling “wall”) are the same color and both the horizontal planes (normal ceiling and inner tray ceiling) are white.
It seems sort of choppy since you go from beige to white to beige to white… and our beautiful white crown molding gets lost in the shuffle. What would you recommend for a situation like mine? Should I paint the normal ceiling, tray ceiling and tray wall the same color? Or keep it as it is and paint all walls the same and all ceilings the same? Sorry if this is so confusing, I guess that’s why I haven’t tried to ask it yet… it’s very hard to explain. I hope you understand me! :)
Good question! I think you can just paint all of the planes of your ceiling beige to work with your tray wall and create a more seamless look (since it’s not a dark color it shouldn’t be oppressive) and leave the molding white so it really pops. You can also paint the central tray ceiling something fun like sky blue for a lovely surprise when you look up. Hope it helps!
I never would have really thought a subtle change could make that much of a difference, but I saw it for myself when my sister painted her very high ceilings a darker shade of the wall color and it gave all the rooms a cozy feel.
For something more dramatic at my suggestion a friend recently painted her dining room ceilings metallic silver (to mimic the look of silver leaf) to coordinate with peacock colored walls. It gave her small dining room a rich, jewel box feel. I would also do it in a powder room or other small space.