Wondering whether your bulkhead paint should match the ceiling or the wall colour? Today, I’m diving deep into three different bulkhead paint options, which one I went with in our own basement renovation and why.
Things down in the basement are moving along pretty quickly (if you’re not sure what I’m referring to, you can catch up with our plans here). Brady got the subfloor and pot lights installed the week before last, which means I was able to finally get some paint on the walls last weekend (and with even floors and some good lighting to work with too!). I’d already primed the ceilings and walls a few weeks ago and I’d even managed to get two coats on the ceiling through Carson’s first few days back at school. Not really having put much thought into it, I painted the big bulkhead running all across the space with the ceiling colour while I was painting the rest of the ceilings down here.
Now I know typically people assume that all vertical planes should be painted out in the wall colour and all horizontal painted the ceiling colour, but I had a different idea. The ceilings are quite low down here, especially under that bulkhead, so I thought painting it out in the ceiling colour would help to make it look higher and disappear into the ceiling.
But, as I got around to this corner of the basement, I began to question that choice. Keep in mind my walls were still just primed out in white, so the difference between that wall and bulkhead wasn’t quite so noticeable, but even still, it had me questioning things.
I decided to take a poll on Instagram about whether I should go with the wall colour or ceiling colour on the vertical wall planes hoping to find more clarity, but with it ending in a 50/50 split, it turns out y’all were just as undecided as I was about things.
So, that night I spent a few hours digging a little deeper into things online and it turns out the question bulkhead colour is actually a pretty common one – what wasn’t so common was one definitive right answer. It seemed I had three choices: 1. paint the entire bulkhead in the ceiling colour; 2. paint the vertical planes in the wall colour and the horizontal in the ceiling colour; or 3. paint the entire bulkhead in the wall colour, which was an option I hadn’t even considered.
I spent that entire evening on a quest to figure out which of those colour options would be best. I scoured the internet for every picture I could find of a bulkhead and here’s what I learned about my options:
- Painting the entire bulkhead in the ceiling colour, not only made it stand out more, but seemed to make the ceilings feel lower.
2. Painting the vertical planes in the wall colour and the horizontal in the ceiling colour makes a very noticeable “stripe” (I was already sure I didn’t want to go with this option).
3. Painting the entire bulkhead in the wall colour was the surest way to make it “disappear”.
After looking through countless photos, I was feeling a little more clear about what colour I might want to paint our bulkhead, but I decided the best way to be sure was to try all three options myself.
With the bulkhead already painted out in my ceiling colour, that was the easiest option to try first. Here’s what it looked like with the wall colour up and the bulkhead painted out entirely in the ceiling colour…
As you can see, instead of making that bulkhead blend into the ceiling, painting it out in white only made it stand out more. And it sure made the lower ceiling height under it so much more obvious.
Next up, I wanted to try painting the vertical surfaces in the wall colour, while leaving the horizontal planes in the ceiling colour. I knew this wasn’t the way I’d choose to go, but wanted to paint it out so that I could share it with you. Here’s how it turned out…
It’s a little harder to see the stripe along the side of the bulkhead because my wall colour is quite light, but believe me, it’s there.
It did help tie together this little corner though, which gave me hope that I was on the right track painting out the sides in the wall colour.
Finally, I had Brady take out the pot lights so I could try painting out the underside of this bulkhead in our wall colour. As soon as I stepped back to take a look, I knew this was the right way to go…
See how it just disappears into the space and makes the ceilings feel taller! I promise you, it’s even more obvious in real life!
Here’s a quick look at all three bulkhead paint colour options:
Like I said, this would be SO much more obvious with a darker paint colour or a more drastic contrast between the two colours, but I think you still get the idea. It may seem a bit counter-intuitive at first, but painting out the bulkhead in the wall colour is hands down the best way to make it blend into the space!
As you can see in those last photos, we’re moving onto the trim work in the basement – the finish line is in sight my friends (if you’re curious, you can check out our design plans here)!
Wall colour: Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray
Ceiling colour: Benjamin Moore Cloud White
Wishing you SUCH a lovely day my friends!