Designers Are All in Favor of Painting This Overlooked Spot

Dining room with black ceiling

Reena Sotropa 

Trend alert: say goodbye to the accent wall and hello to the painted ceiling. According to design pros, a painted dining room ceiling can provide an unexpected pop of color while setting the mood for some fun entertaining. 

“Food is full of color, and so is great conversation,” Paige Gray, a partner and lead interior designer at Parker & Harlow, says. “I like to fuel both with a bold color choice on the ceiling.”

Ahead, the country’s top interior designers share why they’re loving a painted dining room ceiling. 

One thing to consider when choosing a color? A ceiling naturally casts its own shadow, so the color you choose will appear slightly darker on a ceiling than on a wall.

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Create Drama

Farmhouse-style dining room with black ceiling.

Timber Trails Homes

“A ceiling is your dining room’s fifth wall,” Kim Armstrong, the principal designer and owner of Kim Armstrong Interior Design, notes. “I love painting it a color, especially if the room doesn’t have a lot of interesting detail as it’s an easy way to elevate drama in a space.”

02 of 17

Enhance Your Room's Lighting

“Using a lacquer or high gloss sheen on a ceiling allows a chandelier to create a lighting display all around the room while also boosting the mood,” Mark Lavender, the principal designer at M. Lavender Interiors, says.

03 of 17

Create Impact On a Budget

Statement Ceilings — Black Paint

Black Lacquer Design

“Compared to other more expensive design options, painting a dining room ceiling in a color is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to make a big statement,” Jessica Davis, the principal designer of JL Design in Nashville, Tennessee, shares.

04 of 17

Hide Imperfections

“Standard white or beige colored ceilings run the risk of showing every stain and leak, while a colored ceiling can be more forgiving,” Kelsey MacDermaid, co-founder of The Sorry Girls, says.

05 of 17

Create Contrast

painted ceiling

Design: Studio Munroe; Photo: Thomas Kuoh

“The ceiling is the largest ‘wall’ in the dining room as it has no doors or windows, so painting it a color is a good way to liven things up and create contrast, especially when your walls are neutral,” Heather Smith, the senior designer and art director at CIRCA Interiors & Antiques, says.

06 of 17

Make Your Room Look Larger

Fun modern dining room with dark green walls and ceiling.

Design: Arlyn Hernandez; Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

“Painting a ceiling in a light color will instantly make the walls appear taller, while painting it in a dark color will create an intimate moody vibe,” Tara Miller, the owner of The Heartland Interior Design in Omaha, Nebraska, shares.

07 of 17

Craft an Intimate Setting

“Painting the ceiling, trim, and walls all the same color makes guests feel a bit encapsulated and immersed, bringing about an intimate dining experience,” Caroline Brackett, the principal and owner of Caroline Brackett Studio of Design, says. “Painting a ceiling in a pale blue against white walls creates a relaxing, soothing vibe.”

08 of 17

Change It Easily

“People often add wallpaper or texture to a ceiling, which can have show-stopping impact," Mary Maloney, the owner of Bee’s Knees Interior Design, says. "But, the beauty of paint is that it can be more easily changed out if you tire of the color over time."

09 of 17

Add Style in an Unexpected Way

Playful boho dining room with pink stripe from wall to ceiling.

Doing Up The Derbyshires

“Using paint in creative ways is the key to good design," Jennifer Markowitz, the president of JNR Designs, says. "I often use a shade of blue when painting a ceiling to replicate the sky—cliché maybe, but it always adds a nice design element to the space in an unexpected way. I also love to have fun with painted stripes, which takes the design from good to great."

10 of 17

Add Drama to Millwork

“I love to use dark colors on a ceiling to elevate scale when there’s millwork involved,” Becky Shea, the creative director and principal designer of Becky Shea Design, notes. “If the beam work is light and less grainy, I’ll lean towards a more ultra-bold color. If the beam work is darker and there’s more movement, I’ll typically choose a derivative of the darker hue.”

11 of 17

Take Risks

“I’m generally a ‘more is more’ type of designer, and I feel like the dining room is a perfect place to take risks with design choices as it’s not usually a high use room like a kitchen,” Nina Grauer, the founder and principal at Dekay & Tate, shares. “You can add so much excitement and impact by painting your ceiling, plus it’s a great way to bring other colors in the room to life, either by contrasting or complimenting them.”

12 of 17

Add a Bit of Sparkle

A dining room with dark blue walls and a copper statement ceiling

Tyler Karu

“A metallic paint on a ceiling looks elegant while creating a dramatic finish, plus most are water-based so they’re easy to apply,” Linda Granert, the owner of Linda Granert Interior Planning & Design, says.

13 of 17

Add Distinction to an Open Concept

“If your dining room is part of an open concept home, and has molding separating the ceilings in different rooms, painting the ceiling creates a subtle visual separation,” MacDermaid says.

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Start Conversation

Dining room with black ceiling

Reena Sotropa 

“A painted black ceiling is a great way to get the conversation started if you like to throw a lot of dinner parties!” Marie Cloud, owner and interior designer of Indigo Pruitt Design Studio in Charlotte, North Carolina, says.

15 of 17

Create a Harmonious Feel

“I like to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls because when you embrace a monochromatic palette that extends to the ceiling, you create a subtle cocoon," Shea explains. "There’s something soothing about not having the ceiling painted in a jarringly different color.”

16 of 17

Ground Your Space

“I love to play off the furniture color in the room when deciding on the ceiling color. For instance, I’ll pull black from a dining chair and pop it on the ceiling. When you bounce the color of the furniture from the floor to the ceiling it grounds the space with depth and can pull the room altogether in a unique way,” Heather Fujikawa, the principal designer of House Sprucing in Dallas, Texas, says.

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Add the Finishing Touch

splatter paint dining room wall mural

Tara Kantor

“A lot of times a ceiling can feel like an afterthought or not even a thought at all,” Jessica Kain Barton, the principal at J Kathryn Interiors, says. “But it’s actually one of the most important elements to making your room feel complete and there’s no better way to do this than painting it a color.”