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An Interior Designer Reveals Why You Should Stop Painting Your Ceiling White

White ceilings are classic, but these choices can boost your room to luxurious.

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Classic white

There are a few reasons white ceilings are classic, and they shouldn’t be discounted. First, they’re clean, bright, and airy, and a trusted way to open up your space. They’re also a blank canvas. “When you stick with classic white on the ceiling you create a backdrop that can take on almost any finish—you can put anything in the room,” says Karen Asprea, a New York City interior designer and director of Whitehall Interiors. “When you start to add color to the ceiling, the choices you make throughout the rest of the space need to be more thought through.” This is how to choose the best paint for your space.

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Luxuriously dark

While a dark ceiling might seem intimidating, it’s one of Asprea’s favorite ways to make a room feel luxurious. Tie the room together by matching the ceiling to a print on the wall. For example, if you use a dark chocolate color on the ceiling, try a wallpaper with a dark chocolate accent, she suggests. Another idea: Pair the ceiling with light-colored furniture that has black metal detailing or black rivets. “It adds a level of richness because now there is something very dynamic between the small little dark details at eye level playing with the dark ceiling above you,” she says. “Those are the rooms I find most often that people walk into and you get that ‘ahh’ feeling.” One thing to keep in mind: The trims and cover plates on any light fixtures. Order them in a color that matches your ceiling, otherwise, they’ll typically be white—and an eyesore. This is how to choose a color to paint your room.

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Wood pattern

Think luxury and richness with this one. “If you have a large space and you’re doing a lot of darker wood finishes with light fabrics, then you can usually do a wood ceiling,” says Asprea. Create a pattern with it, she suggests; grids, coffers, and beams all work.

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Bold black

Until her client’s see the final result, Asprea says they tend to be nervous about a black ceiling. But it’s not always as bold as you might imagine. “I actually think a black ceiling tends to disappear and brings all of the attention to the walls,” she says.

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Matching ceiling and walls

Matching your ceiling to your walls is a great idea if you’ve got a smaller space you’d like to brighten up. Plus, a white or light colored ceiling and matching wall can create a stunning backdrop for artwork. “If you have a really beautiful art collection, I would recommend going with a light colored ceiling and a light wall,” says Asprea. Try these tips for hanging artwork better.