Sometimes, I sit down to write posts about paint tips which I’ve learned during my experiences with the design process, and then I’ll delete the draft after thinking to myself “everyone must already knows this.”
But even as adults, we can sometimes be a little shocked by the new things we learn. Like just the other week when I found out that it’s not actually illegal to have the interior light on in your car while driving, which was something my parents told me was illegal as a child. What else did they lie to me about? Santa?
However, this draft is worth publishing because I recently used this paint trick and it worked. It’s very simple and I encourage everyone (whether you have a small space or a large space) to do this to create the feeling of a larger room.
Here it is…
Paint your ceiling the same color as your walls.
This will draw the eye up, which creates the illusion of a larger room and higher ceilings.
Bonus if you’re able to install some trim and crown molding, as I’ve found this can also make the ceilings look higher.
How do I know this paint trick works? Because people fall for it. It’s almost guaranteed that every time I share a full photo of our bedroom that someone will say “the room looks so much bigger!!” or ask “what the hell?!?! is the ceiling higher???
Yes, I was so sick of our 8 foot ceilings so I ripped out the drywall and added 10 inches of height to the room. Doesn’t it look great?
I want to note that the first photo was taken with an iPhone and the second with a wide angle lens, but you get the picture (heh).
I’m in fact not a magician, but have learned to manipulate the standard 8 foot ceilings and boxy rooms that our super luxurious bi-level has to offer, and painting the ceilings and walls the same color is one of those tricks I’ll use again and again. In fact, I used the same method in our recent bathroom renovation:
Also, I want to debunk the myth that painting dark walls *and* a dark ceiling makes your room feel smaller. I feel like that rumor was started by someone who also installs carpet over hardwood floors and I don’t think it could be further from the truth. In fact, I think this trick actually works better with darker colors.
If you plan on going dark, just make sure your room gets a sufficient amount of light so it doesn’t feel too dreary.
Here are some examples of dark and light rooms which feature walls and ceilings that are painted the same color:
So there you have it! If you have been struggling with how to make the most of your small space, I encourage you to try this paint trick. And let me know how it goes 🙂
Looking for more paint tips? Click here to download my free guide to choosing the perfect paint color!
Have a great rest of your week!
Elizabeth Ramey says
Hey Alisa! I recently found you on IG through the One Room Challenge and love your style! I am really liking the trim, wall and ceilings all one color. I am getting ready to tackle my half bath and am going to do this (at least the bottom half as I am wallpapering the top portion) and wondering if you use the same paint finish on the trim, wall, doors, etc. If so, which finish do you prefer? Thank you so much!
Hi Elizabeth! Great question. I use the same matte finish on the walls, ceiling, and doors (although I recommend semi-gloss on doors), and on the trim, I use semi or high gloss. Hope that helps!
Hey we are doing built ins in our basement , with lower ceilings , would you also paint these the same color as the walls, ceiling, and trim?
Pete Walters says
Hello, what Ian TT e blue/grey color you used in your bedroom please? Thank you
So beautiful! I like your style! Would you please let me know what is the paint color of your bedroom? The name/brand? Thank you!
Thank you! It’s farrow and ball De Nimes 🙂
To have the ceiling paint match the walls do you cut it with white since paint looks darker on ceilings compared to walls? If so, how much white do you add? Thank you!
Hi! This looks great, thanks for posting! Looks like you painted your outlet cover and outlets the same color as well. Did you also paint the light switches/dimmer…everything? If yes, does it scratch off over time? I’m told if I paint the light switches, the paint will peel off/chip over time from touching a lot.
Bailey Henley says
Hi! I love your paint trick of painting walls and ceiling the same color. I, myself, am not afraid of dark colors. I’m wanting to repaint my bedroom and wanted to find out the name of one of the paints in a picture you posted. It’s the first pic after your before and after pics.
Love this tip. Thanks for sharing!
Can you tell me the color of the room right after the bathroom before and afters? The dark grey color.
hi! yes it’s SW agreeable gray.
Hello! I was actually interested in the color after the bathroom photos. The one with a leather chair in it – a darker gray 🙂 Thanks so much. I just discovered your page and love it!!
Yes! I love that color – the room with the floral painting and red rug? Paint color please 🙂 Thanks for the tip of walls and ceiling matching, we are remodeling our basement and it will have really low ceilings so we will need to do this! Thanks!
Barb Miller says
Did you ever figure out this color ? I love it too.
Chera Lee says
I tried painting all the same color and my trim is looking lighter. The painters say it is the same color but it looks lighter to me…at all times of the day etc so it is not the “lighting”. My painters did spray the molding if that matters.
Kathleen Lenchner says
Just found you on IG and I am blown away at your design skills! Your taste is amazing.
I love this! have low popcorn ceilings and am thinking about covering them with shiplap and adding trim details to the walls and painting everything blue. There’s no overhead lighting, so I’m afraid it’ll be way too dark. What do you think? The room does get quite a bit of natural light at one end. Thanks!
Willyne Rouse says
Love the ceilings and walls being the same color, this is something I had been pondering and your post has helped me decide to do it, I would like to know if it works with painting trim and baseboards white?
Luke Sponsler says
I have this same question.
If the walls and ceiling are all the same color (crushed ice: egg shell sheen) and the crown and door/windows casings are painted a lighter shade of white (snowbound: gloss sheen) will this have the same effect?
Will painting the crown moulding white alter the visual illusion?
Shah Mohammad Polash says
My friend is having a baby and wants me to paint the room for him. (Just because I recently painted my son’s room.)
It’s helpful to know you need to repair defects and clean surfaces before anything else. I didn’t have to worry about that in my own home because I painted over a builder-grade job. But my buddy’s house is pre-war. We’ll have to look into interior painting supplies!
What is the amazing dark green color and who makes it in the library room with the large painting? It’s stunning. Thanks so much for your help!
Also, I failed to ask. The room I want to paint floor to ceiling in that shade of green has a guard rail and floor/ceiling trim. Do you have any suggestions what kind of paint?, meaning should it all be a matte finish? I’m just a tad confused with that as I don’t really want the single wood panel guard rail to be a focal point. Thanks!
cleaning services Hobart says
Thank you for your ideas trick I love it I appreciate your site this is very useful and a lot of information thank you.
Hi, I love your article and ideas on painting walls and ceiling the same color! I’m painting a small room, with the same color wood floors as your featured bedroom photo, the color bm palladian blue. What types of lighting fixtures would add heighth? Since the room has issues, placement of a ceiling fixture will be interesting. One wall is slanted, another is partly recessed…a five foot bench seat would fit there, and the current fixture and wiring wasn’t placed in the visual center of ceiling.
Hi Alisa, your bedroom and bathroom are gorgeous, well done. I have always been adamant that my ceilings be painted the same as my walls, I love that look and think a white ceiling in a gray or green or whatever room looks like the owner forgot to paint one wall. However, a designer recently recommended that when I next paint my kitchen/TV room, I paint the ceiling white because I have so many recessed can lights (I am obsessed with having enough light in the kitchen) and because the lights are white, they will stand out a bit less if the ceiling is white. I can see her point, my walls are going to be a pale greige, and the white lights will stand out on a greige ceiling. But I know having colored walls and a white ceiling will drive me nuts. What is your advice in this situation? Thank you.
Paul Yocum says
Ok I’ll go along that painting ceiling and walls the same dark color makes the room look bigger and ceiling higher. But in your before and after example there apparently had been some changes made with the doors because it doesn’t appear to be the same room. But I’ll concede that it is. In your example the addition of all of the vertical trim lines is what mostly makes the room seem taller, not the paint.
It cannot be the same room unless there were major Reno’s…….it’s not just the difference between a phone camera and a wide angle lens. I would have liked to see the actual room in two photos
Hi DEBORAH:) it is the same room and no “major renovations” were done. and accusing me of lying is rude. You can see the before and after on my Instagram page. Farewell!
Ignore the first door on the right of the before pic and start at the second door. That makes more sense to me!
Geeze Deborah! That’s rude.
Valerie Kalstabakken says
Great advice to paint wall and ceiling same color. I have a log home that’s just plain dark. Wood everywhere. Albert nice it needs light. Can I paint the tongue and groove ceiling white like the walls and leave the log beams as is? Will than look nice ? Thank you!
Lesli Ledford says
Hi. I so enjoy your blog. I have a question… when painting a room the same color (ceilings, wall, trim), do you use flat paint for the ceiling and trim as well. Or, semi gloss for trim and ceiling paint tinted the same color?? Thank you so much so your time
Hi Lesli – it’s really personal preference! I use the same finish on walls and ceiling (eggshell or matte), then semi gloss on the trim.
Katie Grace says
If you were also painting built ins, would you recommend treating those as “trim” and painting semi gloss as well?
Wow im loving your designs, im currently busy redoing our new office space and Im doing the Boardroom up It isnt a big room so Im loving your idea of painting the roof and the wall the same colour, I love the dark blue that you used and was wondering if you could tell me the name of the colour please?
Keep doing what you do its awesome
Oh the other thing I plan to do is bring in cornises that has roses trim on it, I want the roses to stand out but dont want it one toned should I paint it this blue colour and just highlight the roses with a soft gold trim?
Your advice would be valued
Hi there – thanks! It’s Farrow and Ball De Nimes 🙂
Pamela McMullan says
Hi could you tell me the colour of the first room pics please? I love the light powder blue colour!
John Barnes says
Hi there, I’m super keen to give this a go and paint the walls and ceiling a rich blueberry blue colour; but also a little nervous! The room in question is a living space but doesn’t have a huge amount of light. Could that be a bit risky? Or perhaps I just then need to invest in good lighting solutions….
John Barnes says
Hi there, I’m super keen to give this a go and paint the walls and ceiling a rich blueberry blue colour; but also a little nervous! The room in question is a living space but doesn’t have a huge amount of light. Could that be a bit risky? Or perhaps I just then need to invest in good lighting solutions.
Hi, I love your post about same color ceilings and walls. I wonder if you use the same sheen on both, or if you paint the ceilings in a ceiling paint flat, and walls in matte or eggshell?
I have a 1920’s Tudor style house that doesn’t have a lot of light and many rooms have sloped ceilings without crown moulding which would lend to using the same color on both. I was thinking about Farrow & Ball’s Ammonite #274 for both walls and ceilings to give a little warmth. Thank you!
Susan Lant says
Hi Alisa, what a FABULOUS website you have – you have great taste and your advice is inspirational! Am moving house and was a bit down and daunted by taking over a property which will be a major project but I cannot wait to get started now that I have seen your wonderful website with advice and the before and after photos are quite simply stunning. I found the bedroom photos out-of-this world! Please keep us updated with your wonderful projects. Please may I ask where I can buy the crystal glass and gold backplate door handles?
CM Miller says
White ceilings not only look unfinished and disjointed, but they are also boring.
LOL what? Of COURSE it “looks bigger” because it IS BIGGER. You added 2 feet of height! And a bunch of trim.
Lol, I didn’t. Nice try
Jamie N. says
Love this idea! Thank you for the collection of photos showing this design style, I think I’ll use it on my office redesign :).
Would you use the same color on louvred plantation shutters? My office has built in cabinets that I will paint the same as the wall and trim color, but the shutters in front of the windows have me stumped. Would it look weird to leave them white while the trim around it matches the wall color? Thank you!
Do you think this would work in a small room that doesn’t get a lot of natural light? We are redoing our basement that is half in ground, so we do have windows but still not tons of light. I was hoping this would make the less than 8 ft ceilings appear taller somewhat taller. Thanks!
I tried this out in my apartment and it made a huge difference. Thanks for sharing this information, it was really helpful!
Hello. Thank you for the great advice on this technique. It’s stunning. Could you share the brand and paint color of the room with the leather chair in it?
Emilie Sheedy says
I have love dark paint and doing trim and walls the same. My dilemma is how to transition from room to room. With trim leading to another room how do you end one color and continue with new? My whole first floor just flows from one to the next! I feel like just painting the whole first floor the same but sounds so boring!
Emilie Sheedy says
Oh and forgot to mention that we would like to sell the house in about 2 years. Do I just stick with ivory trim to make others happy? I dream if light tan walls and all black trim and doors but fear that is a ton of labor. Next house?
Mortgage Broker Australia says
Thanks for sharing this information. This looks so pretty. Awesome content.