How To Pick The Best Ceiling Paint

 best ceiling paint

Choosing the right ceiling paint color can be tricky. When I picked the colors for our ceilings in my home, I looked at probably hundreds of photos to find the best ceiling paint for the different rooms in my house. It was overwhelming how many choices there were!

I’m here to tell you you don’t need to look at a lot of different options and you don’t need to make yourself crazy over this.

So many of the questions I receive are concerns over wall paint colors, The next thing people want to know is “what color should we paint the ceiling?”


Is white the best ceiling paint color?

The easiest answer is to go ahead and paint the ceiling white. It should be in the same shade of white as the trim and walls. I’ve written before about my top white paint colors for walls.

My personal “go to” wall and ceiling color is Benjamin’s Moore’s Decorator’s White. In fact, we used this through out our whole house in Florida, including the ceilings!

Which is the best finish for ceiling paint?

The way the light hits your ceiling will create the illusion that the white you chose for the ceiling is a bit different. You should opt for a flat finish (which is sometimes called a matte finish) or an egg shell finish. In other words, the least glossy finish is best for most ceilings. Sometimes, in a smaller space, you can opt for a very high gloss ceiling. We’ve done it in a powder room and it looks great. A little ceiling drama can really lend itself to the overall style of a space.

white ceiling paint

How to choose the best ceiling paint color for your room.

But, maybe you don’t want to go with white. If you’re looking to paint your ceiling a color to make it really pop, I’m very partial to a light blue ceiling. Or, as it’s known in the south, Haint blue! This charming ceiling paint tradition looks so great in a living room or dining room.

haint blue ceiling paint

In fact, we went with this light blue look on my living room ceiling (seen above) our butler’s pantry ceiling (in a high gloss, because it’s a small space) and in my master bedroom. We knew we loved the look because we had done it once already in our old house in New York. We chose Benjamin Moore’s Morning Sky Blue.

The key to using colors on the ceiling (or anywhere really) is adding different amounts of white paint. This is a great tip I learned from working with professional designers on my own home.

Any paint store can mix a color with fifty percent white added to it (they call it “halfing” it.) You can even do less than half, it’s up to you. I strongly suggest playing around with different paint samples on the ceiling – using different amounts of white paint mixed in. You don’t need to use the paint exactly as it’s sold! So freeing!

This brings me to another great tip I got years ago for the ceiling paint in our Vermont condo. Because there’s a lot of wood paneling and the walls are painted a warm tan color, I knew white ceilings would look way too harsh in this space. I was told to add some of the tan paint wall color to the white paint for the ceiling. Sort of the opposite effect of adding white to a color. This was exactly what was needed in the space! The quarter tan added to the all white paint warmed it right up. Warm, white, coordinated perfection!

Less is more with ceiling paint colors

So, in conclusion, don’t make yourself too crazy when it comes to picking a ceiling color. When you’re facing design choices for your home – remember, less is always more.  Limit your options to the ones I discussed above and I promise it will look amazing!

We tend to use a lot Benjamin Moore paint colors in our house. They have a great reputation and so many beautiful colors.

If you’re still looking to add a bit more oomph to your ceilings, I highly suggest checking out this post I did on wallpapered ceilings!

I hope this was helpful! Tell me what ceiling paints you love in the comments. Good luck!

PS: Don’t miss this post on the three best white paints to use on trim and baseboards!

Leave a Comment


  1. Shirley wrote:

    I am interested in a very high gloss blue color on the ceiling of my powder room. How did you achieve the high gloss look on your powder room ceiling? Thanks so much!

    Published on 2.26.19 · Reply
    • Sue De Chiara wrote:

      Thanks! High gloss paints AND ceilings are both pretty tricky, so we hired a professional familiar with doing this!

      Published on 2.28.19 · Reply