How to paint angled ceilings

I am very lucky to be a colour consultant with my own paint crew in my back pocket. It means I often get to make decisions on the fly. I can ask my crew to paint things or not paint things so I can see how it looks without committing to the entire wall or room.

Most designers and colour consultants would kill for that kind of flexibility with their painter. It’s a big advantage for my customers too.

Case in point was the last interior job we did.

My homeowner had hired Warline to paint the interior of her one year-old town home in Cloverdale. She had waited a full year after buying her new home to paint so that any cracks or nail pops from settling could be dealt with when we painted. If you can handle a year with white walls, this is a super smart thing to do.

Living Room in Home Painted White with Angled Ceilings Above
Some photos of the house before we painted.  It gives you an idea of the angles on the open concept of the main floor.
Dining Room and Kitchen in Home Painted White with Angled Ceilings Above.

The day I was there to do a colour consult it was really overcast and rainy. That can be challenging for a colour consult where natural light is going to play a big part in the space. The other challenge was the ceiling; a combination of a steep pitch over the living room that opened up to a high ceiling over the dining area. Going from all white walls and ceilings to putting colour on the walls was going to accentuate those angles and the various pitches of the ceiling.  The first decision we made was to only use one colour on the main floor. The open concept space and upper floor balcony meant there were no good places for colour transitions or for a feature colour wall.

My idea was to leave the vertical piece of wall between the two ceilings white, joining the ceilings together to become one big ceiling. But I wasn’t sure it would work. The ceilings themselves were textured and this piece of wall was painted white. Although the ceilings and walls looked the same colour white, on a sunny day they might look very different. I didn’t want that wall to look like we forgot to paint it, instead of it looking like part of the ceiling.

That’s where my great team came in. I explained to the homeowner what I thought would look best but also that we needed to see it to make sure it would work. I asked my team to leave the section white and paint the rest of the room. Once there was a coat of paint on it would be pretty easy to determine if the wall needed to be painted or not. We were also expecting some sunshine the next day. In good daylight we could see if the wall being white would match up to the textured ceiling close enough to treat it as ceiling.

It was the right call.

As soon as the rest of the room was painted my homeowner stood back and looked at the ceiling. I was planning on coming back at that point to help her decide but she didn’t need me to. Leaving the wall white helped make the ceiling look more uniform. Painting it the wall colour would have created a large arrow on her ceiling and made the ceiling over the living room area look like a cave.

When we were finished I had our photographer, Ina come in and take some pictures so I could show you what we did. I think she did a fantastic job capturing the way the ceiling looks from various angles.

Using photoshop, I created a visual mockup of the ceiling so that you can see what it would have looked like if we had painted the wall.

View from Beneath an Angled Ceiling with Adjacent Wall Painted White to Blend In
Looking up you can really see how leaving the wall white made it look like it was part of the ceiling.
View from Beneath an Angled Ceiling with Adjacent Wall Painted Different to Stand Out
My virtual mock up shows you what the wall would have looked like painted.

Here’s another angle…

View from Underneath an Angled Ceiling with Adjacent Wall Painted White to Blend In
From upstairs you can see the difference even more.  Again I used photoshop to show you the difference.
View from Underneath an Angled Ceiling with Adjacent Wall Painted Different to Stand Out.

This is a tricky ceiling and my guess is most painters wouldn’t think twice about whether or not to paint out that angle. It goes to show how sometimes colour placement decisions (or in this case colour non-placement) are best made in progress. It can be hard to visualize what a space will look like until you have some colour.

Now this ceiling looks large and open and what you notice is the warm wall colour and big windows.

Final Painting of Home with Angled Ceiling, Adjacent Wall is White to Match the Ceiling.

Don’t you agree?



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