The Painted Ceiling
Q. I would like some color in our new kitchen but my husband insists on white walls, white cabinets, gray countertops, stainless steel appliances, and dark wood floors. Sounds drab, doesn’t it? Any way to spice it up?
A. Seems that your partner knows exactly what he wants. You desire color but you don’t clearly define what, where, or how. Spend some more time thinking about your preferences for the space and work on articulating them. If you are having trouble with descriptions, search for images in books, magazines, or online that can help express your idea.
I suggest taking an accent color to the ceiling. Applying a color to the ceiling can dramatically alter your character of the space. Color can always be added with towels, art, window coverings, upholstered furniture, etc, but the right paint color can really tie a room together. If the walls are to remain white, there is no rule that says the ceiling also needs to be white. A color on the ceiling can add charm, contrast, and variety to the room.
Choose your color wisely. Soft muted tones such as light blues and greens are a great choice because they can make a person feel relaxed. A light lavender can give the illusion that the room is open to the sky above. Or go high energy with a bold magenta or lime green. Just make sure the color compliments the details of the room and/or adjoining rooms. Select something you won’t grow tired of.
Consider the ceiling height and detail. If you have low ceilings, a dark color which would make the space seem even lower but also evoke cozy intimacy. A lighter color will visually raise the ceiling. If you have a ceiling that naturally attracts attention such as coffering, planks, beadboard, or exposed beams, a dose of color will add to even more visual interest. Paint the recessed areas to create contrast and showcase the molding and other trim.
Consider the amount of natural light and sources of artificial light in the space as well. Sunlight enhances the purest perception of color, but the intensity changes throughout the day. Shadows are a challenge. If you have incandescent or halogen bulbs, you will also observe changes in the appearance of the color. Finally, select the right paint finish. Flat is typically recommended for ceilings because it has the lowest reflective quality and hides imperfections but semi-gloss is becoming popular on plank ceilings to reflect the light and draw attention to the detail.
If you feel that the lack of color will be boring and have a negative feel for you, have an honest discussion with your husband. You both should be happy in the environment you live in. If you still can’t come to an agreement, hire a kitchen designer. Not only is a designer skilled in solving design issues, but also can be a good mediator.
Best of luck!