Why it took me four tries to finally get this ceiling right and why, despite painting ceilings being the worst job ever, painting this ceiling four times over was a-okay with me.
If you follow along with us on Instagram, you might have caught my pleas for help last week. I’d just finished the first coat of paint on the ceiling in our study, but something about it just wasn’t sitting right with me. But, before we jump to the ending, I feel like I need to explain what led up to it. So, let’s go back to the beginning.
Here’s where we started with things. This photo was taken just three days after we moved into this new/old house of ours (find the whole house tour here). Beige walls, white ceiling and some faux marble pillars that were painted out in maroons and purples to match the purple marble on the fireplace. It was something I tell ya. But knew a few coats of paint would do wonders for this space.
I started with a light + airy white on the ceiling in here – the same warm white I’d used in virtually every other room throughout this house. And, for a second, I thought I might just go with that same on the walls too, but this is such a special room and so, I decided I wanted to try something different to match that. I took a giant leap outside my comfort zone, painting out the walls in the most perfect soft black and, luckily I knew from the very first roll of pain that it was 100% the right call.
It took a lot of hunting to find the perfect soft black for this space – Black Fox from Sherwin Williams is a true chameleon of a colour that reads as a charcoal, but with lovely warm, bronze undertones. I really love the way it changes and evolves with the different light throughout the day!
While I was head-over-heels in love with the wall colour, the white ceiling just didn’t feel right to me. It was almost as if the contrast with the dark walls made everything feel cooler rather than warm + cozy as I’d hoped. I thought about painting the crown moulding to match the walls, but leave the ceiling white – if dark walls was a big jump outside my comfort zone, you can imagine what a leap adding a black ceiling on would have been. Looking back, I probably should have tried this idea first to see how it sat with me, but instead, in a very unexpected turn of events, I decided on a whim to just paint it all out black. The whole thing – black crown moulding, black ceiling. For someone who’s favourite colour is white, well let’s just say, even I didn’t see this coming.
Painting the ceiling black however, changed the feel in this room so much more than painting the walls black and the whole room instantly felt so much darker than I had ever expected. While I was instantly sure about my colour choice as I painted those walls, I was feeling the exact opposite about the black ceiling. I didn’t hate it necessarily, I just didn’t know if I loved it I guess. I decided to sit with for a while and see if I might feel a bit more sure about things with time.
Turns out I didn’t feel more sure at all. If anything, I would say I was more torn than ever. But, because I’m getting pretty tired of feeling so indecisive about all the things in this house, on yet another whim, I decided to dig the white paint out, try painting just the ceiling this time (leaving the crown black this time around) and see if that felt a little better to me. After the first coat of white though, I was second guessing myself again though (or third guessing? this time around).
This time around though, before continuing down that path and painting on a second coat, I decided to reach out through Instagram for some help in thinking through my options. I shared a quick poll asking for votes for people’s favourite ceiling colour, I even did a bit of a deep dive into what I liked about both of the options I was considering and why I was struggling so much to land on the right choice. You all showed up in spades to help!
I have to say, I am SO grateful for the community I’ve found over there – I had so many thoughtful messages from people sharing all sorts of insights and ideas that I hadn’t thought of. I also have to point out that I was pretty surprised at how close the poll results were – turns out you all were nearly as equally divided as I was! In the end, I settled right where the poll ended up, with a big part of myself wanting the brightness that the white let in, but an ever-so-slightly bigger part that was craving the depth and coziness that only the black could bring. There was something about the contrast between the black and white that just didn’t feel warm + cozy to me. And, while I loved the brightness in the space with the white ceiling, I really didn’t like the stark line the white ceiling created all around the room, not only was it jarring to the eye, but it also added yet another element to this already very visually busy space.
And so, back to black it was! And this time, I felt so much more sure as I saw those first few rolls of paint go on!
Black ceiling, black walls – this was 100% the right call. Sure, painting the ceiling FOUR separate times (white, black, back to white, then finally back to black) took a lot of time and effort – painting ceilings is by far my least favourite painting job, so doing it four times was definitely not fun – but, I think I really needed to see all of those options for myself to feel sure about my choices. I’m guessing that had a lot to do with the fact that this was all such a big leap from the light and airy (and frankly easy to work with) whites that I’ve grown used to. Regardless, I don’t regret a bit of it. Now I know, I’m SURE even, that the drama and coziness of those black walls paired with that black ceiling was exactly what this room needed!
What do you think? Are you on team black or white for the ceiling in here?
And now that the ceiling colour has finally been settled, we can start working on tile, flooring, window treatments and furnishings to finish off this space. I think cozy little study just might be the very first room that we finish in this new/old house of ours (it’s also the one that we’re changing the least, but let’s not focus on that!). 😉
Wishing you SUCH a lovely day my friends!