Paint your walls and ceiling the same color. You may be thinking, “Why would I do that? Wouldn’t it just look like one big, bland, monochromatic room?” But trust me, there are more than a few good reasons why this decorating trick has turned into a trend worth trying.
If you know me, then you know I have a thing about decorating the ceiling.
It’s usually the biggest empty canvas in the room. (Which is why it is often called the fifth wall.)
So decorating it is what can take an ordinary space to the next level. (If you read home décor magazines, you’ll see interior designers use this trick all the time).
And one of the easiest ways to decorate the ceiling is to paint it the same color as the walls.
I have been doing this in my rooms for years.
But I just recently found out that it is now very contemporary and has an official name in the design world. The monochromatic room trend.
And I think this is a trend that’s here to stay. Read on to find out why.
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1 | It makes a room look bigger
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The first reason is that it makes rooms look bigger.
Painting the walls and ceiling the same color gets rid of the obvious corner where the two meet. (If you have crown molding, it also needs to get painted the same color for this to work.)
So the eye doesn’t have a place to rest as you’re looking up the walls and around the room.
And that gives the illusion that the walls are taller.
Despite what a lot of people say, this trick works regardless of whether you are using dark colored paint or light.
The difference between the two is how the room feels. Which we’ll get to next.
Find out more tips for making a small room look bigger.
2 | Dark paint creates a cozy feeling
Painting a room head to toe in a single dark paint color makes the space feel cozy.
Like the room is giving you a big hug.
So if you like that warm and relaxing feeling, this might be the right option for you.
Pro tip: Using a shiny paint for dark colors (such as semi gloss or gloss) keeps the room from feeling too closed in by bouncing the light around.
3 | Light paint feels airy
Using the same light colored to paint the walls, ceiling and even the trim gives an open, airy feeling to the room.
Like you’re outside looking up at the sky.
This is why a lot of coastal-style rooms are decorated this way. To make you feel like you’re at the beach.
4 | It hides imperfections
Using a monochromatic paint scheme is a great way to disguise imperfections.
If you live in a house where the walls and ceilings aren’t straight, the moldings have gaps or the drywall wasn’t installed very well, this will hide them all.
I think it even makes popcorn ceilings less noticeable.
Pro tip: Since it doesn’t reflect a lot of light, matte paint does the best job of hiding bumps and other imperfections.
5 | Painting decisions are easier
If you have any rooms in your house with angled ceilings (like my bonus room) painting the ceiling and walls the same color really is the easiest way to go.
Otherwise, you have to decide what you’re going to paint the ceiling color. And what will be considered the walls.
With two different colors, there is no good answer.
You either end up with a narrow strip down the center of the room. Or walls that are 5 feet high.
And if you happen to have dormers or any other more complicated roofline, the decisions get even harder. Sticking to one color eliminates all of them!
6 | It creates a sense of continuity
With a monochromatic color scheme, you never have to worry that the room will look choppy or disjointed.
Since the biggest surfaces in the room are all the same tone, they automatically tie everything together. And make the space look cohesive.
7 | Choosing colors is simpler
This may be an obvious point. But you only have to choose one paint color.
It may still take some time to find the exact one you’re looking for.
But at least you don’t have to worry about finding a coordinating color with the correct undertones to go on the ceiling.
If you need some help with this, read our tips on choosing the right paint color.
8 | It’s sophistication on a budget
One color paint schemes almost always look elegant and sophisticated.
The simplicity makes it easier to create a design that looks pulled together.
And paint is one of the least expensive things you can add to a room. But has one of the biggest impacts.
Especially if you choose a color you love. And that makes a statement.
9 | Painting is easier
From a purely technical viewpoint, painting the walls, ceiling and trim the same color makes the job a lot easier.
There’s no taping around the moldings.
Or being extra careful not to get paint on the ceiling (or walls).
And you can paint them all at one time, rather than waiting for one surface to dry before starting the other one.
10 | Architectural details pop
If you have architectural details (like these beams) in your room that you really want to stand out, using one paint color for the walls and ceiling can help.
Paint the focal point details in a contrasting color and they will draw your attention immediately.
11 | Or blend in
Similarly, if there are some details that you don’t want to call attention to, paint them all the same color as the walls.
Then they provide depth and interest without being the star of the show.
12 | The Room will Feel Calmer
Monochromatic color schemes are the most serene color combinations you can create. That’s because they have no contrast to add tension.
So they are perfect for rooms where you want to relax, such as a bedroom or bathroom.
Or rooms where you want to stay calm under pressure (maybe your home office?).
13 | It really creates a 5th wall
If you’re wanting to get really creative with your room décor, painting the ceiling the same color as the walls will give you a larger background to work with.
While you see this most often in children’s bedrooms (like the solar system above), you don’t have to be limited to that.
A ceiling painting that comes down onto the walls could be a lot of fun in a game room or theater room.
14 | Love the color, love the room
This last reason depends on you choosing a paint color that you really love.
Because if you do, you will love the room even more when you have that color painted on the ceilings and the walls.
Tips for painting walls and ceiling the same color
- Using the same paint color and sheen all over is the easiest and fastest way to paint a room.
- To add more texture, try using different paint sheens in the same color on the different surfaces. For example, you could do eggshell on the walls, semi-gloss on the trim and flat on the ceiling.
- If you are trying to hide imperfections, use a paint without much gloss in it (flat or satin would work best).
- Dark colors often look best in semi-gloss or gloss finishes.
- To break up large expanses of flat walls, add panel moldings or other architectural details that are also painted in the same color.
Other similar options
If you like the idea of a monochromatic room color but aren’t sure that the all over look is for you, here are a few other similar options you can try.
1 | Paint different tones of the same color
For a slight variation of the monochromatic scheme, try using different tones of the same color.
A lighter version on the ceiling and a darker one on the walls often works quite well.
2 | Accent wall & ceiling
If you’re afraid that all over color will be too overwhelming, then another option is to paint an accent wall and the ceiling in the same color.
Then do the other walls in a neutral.
This definitely highlights the focal point in the room.
3 | Install contrasting wall panels
If a room feels a little too monotonous with everything painted the same color, I like to put up panel moldings.
Then hang wallpaper inside the moldings or paint it a different color to provide some extra interest.
4 | Mix paint with wallpaper
Or you could take the wall panels one step further and carry them up onto the ceiling.
Which definitely makes a statement!
5 | Paint the crown molding a different color
To make the most of a monochromatic room, you usually want to paint the walls, ceiling and trim all the same color.
However, sometimes you may want to make more of a statement out of your crown molding. Or make the room look a little cozier if you have high ceilings.
In these cases, you might want to keep the walls and ceiling the same color, but paint the moldings a contrasting one to really make it stand out.
Well that’s it for my reasons why painting the walls and ceiling the same color makes a lot of sense. Hopefully, you’ve found some inspiration to try your own monochromatic room design.
Other ceiling decor ideas you might like
- Creative ways to decorate the ceiling
- How to make a low ceiling look higher
- 5 ways to cover a popcorn ceiling
Other paint color ideas you might like
- The most common color decorating mistakes
- How to create a whole house color scheme
- Color psychology: How paint colors affect your mood
- Current paint color trends
- How to choose the best colors for your room
Have comments or questions on why you should paint your walls and ceiling the same color? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on June 26, 2022 but was updated with new content on May 19, 2023.