Want to create an interesting and unexpected look in your home or office? A fun way to bring a project a step further than usual is to use color on ceilings. Rather than the typical "ceiling white" that is generally the standard for most interiors, why not consider one of the following?
1) A monochromatic scheme
that uses the same color on walls and ceiling. In a room without crown moulding, this creates a sophisticated look that visually raises low ceilings or lowers high ceilings, as there is less separation between walls and ceiling, and the boxy effect creates a cube of space. This approach can be especially effective in dens, studies, libraries, bedrooms or powder rooms. If a slight delineation is desired, a lighter shade of the wall color can be used on the ceiling, especially if there is crown moulding in the room that already provides separation between walls and ceilings. I've seen projects where the same color is used on walls, crown moulding, all trim, and ceilings, resulting in a funky, contemporary look, even in traditional settings. I once worked on a traditional, Federal style home that included an eggplant colored library. Based on the client's request for a warm, dramatic "den", the walls, ceiling, trim and bookshelves were all painted a very deep purple. The result was sophisticated yet soothing, and recessed lighting plus table lamps and task lighting provided plenty of illumination and kept the room from feeling dark. Plum colored upholstery fabrics carried the color scheme further, and made the room even more inviting. The eggplant-colored ceiling did not overpower the room at all. Rather, it helped create the cozy feeling that the client desired.
2) A soft golden beige
that creates a barely noticeable yet important difference in natural light, and creates a warm, glowing effect in artificial light. This technique can really dress up any room, and can be used successfully in dining rooms, kitchens, baths, living rooms, studies/libraries, bedrooms, hallways...just about anywhere. The golden color creates just enough of a subtle difference, can help make crown moulding look crisp and more noticeable, and really glows in rooms with chandeliers or up-lighting. If a more noticeable effect is desired, a darker gold/beige can also be used with similar success. In commercial settings, this technique can be used to soften and dress up corridors, conference rooms, reception areas and restrooms.
3) Pale robin's egg blue
. Traditionally used on covered porches with bead board ceilings, this color can move inside to define ceilings and to provide a sense of soaring space above. Pale blue is often used in Scandinavian type settings, to complement the use of antiqued white furniture. Even though it's a cool (rather than warm) color, the addition of blue provides an additional layer and level of thoughtfulness that can complete a room and that can provide a connection with fabrics and area rugs, or can even remain a separate element unto itself.
. Bedrooms are a great place for wallpapered ceilings. Wallpaper can add whimsy, can connect disparate spaces or angles (for example, in rooms with sloped ceilings or with dormers), and can allow individuality that might not be desired in more public rooms of the house. For kids' rooms, this can apply to boys' bedrooms as well as it does to girls' bedrooms, and can allow for a mix of coordinating wallpapers, as well as the use of one single pattern. In other rooms of the house, simple textured wallpapers can create a faux painted appearance without the layering and labor required of a faux or decorative painting process.
5) Faux/decorative treatments
. Faux painted treatments can range from sophisticated and worldly (think faux limestone or Venetian plaster) to fun and playful (think branches, twigs, flowers, clouds, birds, etc.) Experienced decorative artists can create one-of-a-kind ceilings that really make a difference and make a room special.