White and off-white have been the default choices for ceilings for so long that most homeowners never give them a second thought. That's starting to change. To paraphrase a number of color experts, when you view a ceiling as a permanently blank canvas, you overlook an opportunity. Whether potent or subtle, a dose of color can alter the geometry of a room, changing the feeling of the space as it tricks the eye.
Colorful ceilings aren't new, points out Nan Kornfeld, an architectural color specialist in San Francisco. "In Victorian homes, ceilings often varied from room to room," she says. Back then, colorful ceilings played off the saturated patterns on oriental carpets and ornate wood furniture. Today, they work equally well in everything from traditional interiors to airy, clean-lined spaces. Read on for six ways to let color on top bring out the best in any room.
Create an Accent Wall
If the ceiling is the fifth wall, why not allow it to serve as the room's most dramatic accent? Deep shades like Behr's Delicious Berry, shown here, add warmth and drama—and, as Behr color director Erika Woelfel notes, "a splash of color can make small rooms seem larger."