Choosing colors for your home can be a challenge, especially if you’re painting the whole space just one color.
If you want to keep things really simple, you can paint the walls and ceilings the same color, though this practice has some drawbacks.
Often, the color you choose and the saturation level of the paint can make this process easier.
The recent trend toward minimalism in home decor has increased the popularity of basic white on walls and ceilings.
If you are new to DIY, painting walls and ceilings the same color really can save a lot of anguish and distress; you don’t have to cut at the corners and you can save on the cost of paint.
Pros: Plain white is a clean tone that works with many colors. Consider using a low-luster paint that you can easily wash.
If you have any angles or unique visual features, you can create more visual interest by adding low lighting to throw more shadows, changing the color as the sun changes.
You can also create uniform artwork by hanging simple images in black frames for a stark effect.
Cons: A white box is a white box. If your space has no ceiling angles, white paint can be extremely sterile. This color will also chalk as the light fades and may leave the room feeling rather chilly.
As you decorate, look for ways to add visual angles. Instead of straight drapes, use tabs to draw them back.
Instead of a plain sofa in just one color, hang a brightly colored throw across the arm to add both color and visual angles.
Try not to center items in a room that has a white box feel. Place armchairs in corners and use table lamps instead of overhead lighting.
There is a great elegance to warm tones on walls and ceilings. Warm colors with a decent amount of blue, such as Benjamin Moore’s Glacial Till, will give you more flexibility as you add items to your decor.
Pros: Warm tones on walls and ceilings both will give a space a weighty feel. This decorating choice really lends itself to a brown suede or leather sofa, a heavy oak coffee table and a quality brandy decanter.
If these are your decorating goals and your budget is just catching up, go ahead and put this elegant shade on both walls and ceilings. If you don’t mind cutting, consider putting a flat finish on the ceiling and a sanded or suede finish on the walls for even more warmth.
Cons: Dark shades on the ceiling can leave a room feeling quite short. If you have standard 8-foot ceilings, do try to add visual height by creating low points in the room to draw the eye.
Instead of a plain table lamp with a concealing shade, use a glass shade to throw light from a low angle to a higher angle. Hang small artwork with a strong contrast between frame and mat to draw the viewer’s eye across the room, creating a sense of more space.
Finally, add objects that will draw the eye on low tables instead of wall shelves.
Bright tones are very much a matter of taste. If you absolutely love pink, go ahead and paint everything pink.
If you love a pink blanket or sweater but have never lived with bright pink walls, you may be happier with white walls and a pink bedspread.
Pros: If you love it, celebrate it! Bright tones can be incredibly energizing. For those who live in cold country and areas of low light all winter long, one bright room can be quite stimulating.
To avoid overwhelm, look for ways to add simple trim to break up a solid wall of any bright color. It’s quite easy to hang chair rail at 28 inches off the floor, or you can hang a picture rail 18 to 20 inches from the ceiling.
Hang the trim, then paint to create shadows and more visual interest.
Cons: There is a fine line between a stimulating color and an agitating color. If you change your mind, covering a bright color will take priming and more paint.
Many of the folks who start out with a bright paint color do so because they finally get to paint something their favorite color. I’m not saying that you don’t deserve a purple kitchen or a teal bedroom; I’m just saying that bright colors are a big commitment.
Dark shades can create both a sense of opulence and a feeling of privacy. If you live in a crowded, bustling city, the ability to go home to a navy blue, charcoal gray, or mocha brown home may be just what you need to shut out the world.
Curiously, while white walls are the mark of minimalist decor, it’s these colors that really support a space that has just what you need and no more in it.
Pros: Rich, dark colors are incredibly opulent. Your charcoal gray bedroom will offer you not only the chance to sleep deeply in a cocoon of night, but you can beautify it with just a few touches.
Do avoid using any lighting tool that will create a lot of shadows; a simple frosted glass cube light against a nearly blank wall can add a great deal of visual interest without overloading your furniture.
Cons: A small or square room with dark shades on the walls and ceiling can quickly feel like a cave. Be ready to bounce light around. If you don’t like a lot of items on your dark walls, do make sure you add a mirror or two.
Use rich colors such as jewel tones in your fabric choices and try to find fabrics that have a bit of a sheen; velvet pillows instead of just woven, or a fuzzy throw with a shine instead of yarn.
Like warm tans, cool grays offer a nicely balanced wall color that will work with a lot of different shades in your decor.
Do take care not to go too pale; a gray shade just off of white will not offer you the flexibility of a shade like Coventry Gray.
Pros: A gray on the cool side will fade when you need it to and stand out when you require it. On the ceiling, this tendency to fade can actually create a sense of greater space.
To make this even more effective, try to use decorating pieces that draw the eye up. Hang a plant that has a wide, spreading habit and let it take over one spot near your windows. Use white canvas drapes and sheers for long lines up and down beside your windows.
Cons: Gray walls and ceilings can look a bit like concrete during seasons of low light. Because concrete boxes can create a prison feel, do make sure you bring in bright tones during the fall and winter.
If your gray living room has a black leather sofa, add a jade green throw. Hang a wall mirror and add a shelf where you can place candles to bounce more light around the room on dark days.