How to paint tray ceilings with color?

cantmakeadecisionJune 13, 2008

I have TONS of tray ceilings. Single, double and even triple. Any ideas on how to use color? Do you paint the top ceiling the same, too?

Here's my Master bedroom before paint

Do you paint all the levels the same as the walls? I'm using a medium-dark value green. All Sherwin Williams colors...

And then in my dining room:

It's being painted a brown color - I think it's called craft paper.

Media room is painted already - both levels the same.

Living Room is going to be Baguette

I'm leaving the game room the neutral color it currently is.


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WOW- those are stunning! I think I'd paint them all the same as it might get too busy otherwise. There's already a lot going on with the moulding and various angles. Love the colors you've chosen.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 8:46AM
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Thank you hilltop. You'd paint all the levels of the master green?

Does anyone have photos of theirs? Any other comments?

I also left off the game room photo:

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 11:54PM
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That's a lot of ceiling detail - lovely!

In the bedroom, I would do the first level the same value as the walls, the second up at about 50% of the wall color, and the very top as a night sky.

DR I would do the first level at 50% of the wall color, the iinset with some type of gilding or faux leafing to get a warm glow when dining in there by candlelight/chandelier on dimmer.

LR I would probably do the same color as the walls. The game room I would do something fun, like a larger family crest or something.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 2:31AM
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Beautiful home!

Here's a few:

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 9:53AM
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a few more:

that's what I have! Hope it doesn't confuse you.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 10:04AM
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perky 2,

Thanks so much for all the photos. I guess what I've learned from them is that just about anything goes! I went to the paint store today and picked up a few quarts to try on the ceilings.

I appreciate all your opinions and am always open to more!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 1:32AM
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Since the master is a triple , I would do the trays in white or ivory, for a more serene look, I'd do the green on the walls only. The details of the ceiling will still stand out but in a less distracting way.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 5:26AM
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Wow, you have some beautiful molding!!!

perky, you posted some beautiful ceilings!

Faux finishing the tray is also an option. Here is what I did.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:19AM
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One time-honored method of painting tray ceilings is to choose a colour for the first level, then cut the color by 50% on the second level, and so on to the actual ceiling area. This achieves a gradual lightening of the colour that is very pretty and has a nice effect, too.

We don't have trays but we have vaults with moldings. The previous owners had painted the moldings a different colour than the vault and from the colour of the 10' part of the ceiling also... we found it very busy and painted the whole vault white, which is a nice contrast from the Porter color "china doll," a very light taupe, that is on the 10' part.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 10:37AM
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gk5040, your room is very pretty. What kind of paint did you use on the trays? I looked at a metallic at Sherwin Williams today, maybe for the top level (the actual ceiling) to paint over the green....not sure.

kswl, I had the same thought about cutting the wall color. I got a sample of the color (Edamame) cut 50% and will get a ladder (or have the painters do it!) to try it on the actual first level. 50% doesn't seem to change the color too much! I was amazed at what little change there was with 50%!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 2:20AM
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It really depends upon the light, cantmakeadecision. And the effect is subtle and lovely, a gradual lightening that is almost tromp l'oeil, making you think the ceiling is higher than it is. Of course, most tray ceilings are high as it is, but the heavy colours and moldings sometimes make them feel almost oppressively heavy. The half-strength paint trick is a way to offset that

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 9:21AM
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I used Ralph Lauren's paint from HD. I have done this twice, but I liked how it came out in my previous home better than how it turned out in this home. Our old home had smooth ceilings. I rolled 2 coats (this paint is tricky to work with) and still had "lines" from the roller, so then I sponged on the 3rd coat. It came out beautiful. It looked like leather. It had dimension to it when I sponged it and it hide the roller lines. In this house I didnt get the same effect because the ceiling has that knock down finish on it. I dont have a good picture of the old house's dining room ceiling.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 9:43AM
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Thanks everyone. I'm meeting with the painter in the morning to try a few colors in the Master and the Dinning Room. I think the other rooms are staying like they are for a while. I can't make anymore paint decisions right now!

I'll take some photos and let you see the results.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 6:18PM
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