What's the rule of thumb for choosing a ceiling color?

threeapplesOctober 2, 2012

In a home that I want to look historic do I match it with the trim color or not? How do you determine a color for the ceilings? Thanks.

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There have been numerous threads on this subject in recent months - you might like to try a search in this forum first?

What do you mean when you say "look historic?" Are you aiming to work with the style of an old house? Victorian? Federal? Early colonial farmhouse? It would help to know the era and the style.

Next, do you want to replicate traditional colors of a particular period? Or are you looking to have the surfaces themselves look aged?

If you could answer those questions, post a few photos of your house, and perhaps also post some inspiration photos of the look you are after, we can help more.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 12:36PM
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If you look at historical references, part of the process is deciding what material you want it to look like. Sometimes combinations of wood and composite and areas of plaster were all painted out white and matched the ceiling.

Sometimes the cornice was painted to match the trim in a satin finish, especially if the trim was a bold color.

Ornamental ceilings like your Adam ceiling would be polychrome with the background in the wall color or a paler version of the wallcolor with the ornament picked out in white (kind of like cameos or Jasperware), or sometimes a lot of color would be used on an ornamental ceiling going as far to pick out details in gold leaf.

My impression, thinking about the house in general is that you are going to want to go with (a version of) white in many of the rooms and save the color for the Adam ceiling and other ornamented ceilings.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 12:54PM
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I have a new old farmhouse and I have my ceiling painted the same as my trim. BM Simply White. I love a smooth white ceiling, though.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 2:57PM
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When in doubt about a ceiling, paint it white....unless you have an Italian Renaissance artist to do a fresco on it.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:55PM
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I've been thinking to do it white, but I keep reading magazines and blogs that suggest that ceilings should be a very pale warm color or a version of the wall color. i guess i'll just do white.

for the adam ceiling, can't i just do white, palimpsest? i cringe at polychroming that pretty ceiling.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:47PM
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You can just do white, of course. What I was thinking of by polychrome is a pale background color, perhaps the palest off-white tint of the wall color with the bell-flowers etc. of the design picked out in white.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:54PM
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    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:01PM
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that is so pretty and i love the thought of doing this. thanks for the photo. :)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:47PM
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