When I first told my contractor that he’d be painting the ceiling and walls the same dark green color in our powder room, he asked me a few times if I was sure.
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While this design choice may have been a faux pas a decade ago, it’s now a major interior design color trend, and one that I love.
The idea of painting the ceiling and walls (and trim) the same color is called color drenching, and although it’s a trend this year, it’s definitely not a new idea.
While white is the most traditional paint color for the ceilings, painting the ceiling and walls the same color is something that’s always been done here and there, especially in traditional/maximalist spaces. The look is also very British, which makes sense because all things English country are trending in design right now.
The color drenching look is also very versatile. It can be moody, if you choose a deeper paint color like I did for our powder bath, or it can make a room feel bright and expansive, if you go for a light or white color.
Either way, I love the look, and fully support anyone in giving it a go.
Painting Ceiling and Walls The Same Color – An Overview
The effect of color drenching really depends on the color and the space, but overall it creates a room that feels cozy and sophisticated. It can also makes your space feel grander, since you don’t get such an obvious visual distinction between the walls and the ceiling.
Painting the walls and ceiling the same color is also a popular choice among interior designers. Designers like Jake Arnold, Matthew Williamson, Park & Oak, Studio DB and many, many more are fans of color drenching.
Painting the ceiling and walls the same color: Where to do it
You can do the color drenching look in any space, really, so long as you choose the right color.
You have to be a little more careful with darker colors, because painting the ceiling a dark color in the wrong space can feel imposing. I’d say color-drenching with dark paint works in:
- Really small rooms, like powder rooms, a walk-in pantry or closet
- Larger spaces with lots of natural light
- Vaulted-ceiling rooms where you want to add drama
- Rooms where you want a masculine, moody vibe, like an office, library or cocktail room
Personally, I tried it out the color-drenching look with a dark wall color in a teeny tiny powder room. The room has no windows, so the look feels bold. BUT, it’s powder room, and it’s small, so despite the dark color all-around, it’s not overwhelming.
If you have your heart set on a darker wall color and want to try painting your ceiling a dark color, too, but are afraid it might be too dramatic, you can also try the color at 75% strength on the ceiling. This will give you the color-drenched effect without oversaturating the space.
If you’re going for a lighter paint color, or even a mid-tone paint color with an LRV of 40+, I think color-drenching really works anywhere.
Again, it’s a look I really love in powder rooms/bathrooms, but I’ve seen it done beautifully in kitchens, bedrooms, living spaces, etc.
Style-wise, I think color-drenching with deeper colors works best for spaces with traditional details, like crown molding or wall paneling, along with a decor sensibility that mixes in vintage or antiques. That’s because the whole-room-paint look is definitely maximalist so it’s suited to decor styles with detail and flair.
In modern spaces, I love the look with white or cream shades, since it just makes the space feel like a blank slate, as well as really expansive.
If you’ve never painted the ceiling and walls the same color before, here are some questions you may have about the details, along with my answers.
Should I paint the trim the same color as the walls and ceiling?
If you are painting your walls and ceiling the same color and you want a color-drenched look, then yes, paint the trim that color, too. See the photo above.
Unless….You’re painting the walls and ceiling a shade of white, and you want to do a contrast color for the trim. Then, paint the trim (and the interior doors!) in your accent trim color.
The look you don’t want is richly-colored walls and ceiling paired with white trim.
Should I paint the ceiling the same color white on my walls?
If you’re painting your walls white, then you may be wondering if you should paint your ceiling the same color.
Here’s how to decide.
If you plan to paint all your trim the same color as your walls, too, then paint the ceiling the same color.
However, if you’re going with a different white for the trim work, then use that white for the ceiling. This keeps things feeling cohesive.