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Can You Really Have a Black Ceiling? (These 16 Designs Will Help You Decide!) Plus Tips

    I think for many of us, the idea of a black ceiling seems…dangerous. For me it would certainly be a bit out of character, but I am somewhat of a design chicken at heart. (Thank younger, bolder me for that.)

    The more I see of this trend, the more it looks – dare I say – Elegant? Sophisticated? Classy?

    Graphic reads "Should I paint my ceilings black" and "16 sophisticated and classy designs" over a background of a white bedroom with a black shiplap ceiling

    Yes to all! Here you will see a number of really successful black ceiling looks, that will make you feel like you too, can dabble in the deep!

    This post may contain affiliate links. Should you choose to make a purchase through one of my links, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I only recommend products that I use.

    Pros and Cons of Black Ceilings

    Really quickly let’s talk about some of the good and bad things about black ceilings.

    Black Ceiling Pros

    • It’s a statement

    A black ceiling really says something about you. You’re cool, you take risks, you dive into design! The basics could never.

    • Your ceilings will look higher (and your room, bigger)

    This can actually go the other way too, but generally a black ceiling in a room with good light will look recessed, and therefore higher/further away. Sticking to light walls is a good way to make this the case.

    • It will highlight your fixtures

    Your light fixtures, beams, or other accessories will pop against the black surface much more than they do against white. This is especially true for chrome light fixtures that can get lost on a white ceiling.

    • They’re sexy

    I realize that’s sort of the same thing as making a statement, but black really does evoke a mood. Your ceilings will have that “je ne sais quois.”

    Graphic reads "Black Ceilings Pros & Cons" with the list of pros and cons from the article over a photo of an all black room

    Black Ceiling Cons

    • Some people won’t like it (And they’ll tell you all about it)

    I feel like that’s the nature of painting anything black. People will share their opinion and it won’t always be positive. Your Mom probably won’t like your black ceiling.

    • It will take light out of your space

    There are people who swear up and down that it doesn’t, but objectively, black paint colors absorb light. That doesn’t necessarily meant that your space will be a cave, but it eliminates a surface that would normally be bouncing light around.

    • It will be hard to go back

    I don’t just mean because you’ll love it!

    Ceilings are a pain to paint, period. So trying to go back to white after black will be a b-…journey. It will probably take two to three coats of paint after a primer. That means a lot of physical back-breaking work, in addition to increased paint and supply cost. Of course you might hire someone, but they will charge per coat as well.

    But enough of that negative nelly-ing! Let’s get onto the inspiration! (Stick around to the end for tips.)

    Black Shiplap Ceilings

    Quite a few of the black ceilings in this post will have shiplap, or wood of some sort, but here are a couple examples to get us started.

    This first black shiplap ceiling is in a small area of Jake and Candi’s home @bridlewoodacres:

    Greenblack on a shiplap ceiling with Pure White walls
    Photo Credit: @bridlewoodacres

    I love this one because black ceilings aren’t a theme in this house, and yet it works so well having this one feature tucked away.

    Don’t get it twisted though! These homeowners are not afraid of black. You can see this same color – Sherwin Williams Greenblack – throughout their home. (More in my post: The Better Black: Sherwin Williams Greenblack)

    The walls and trim here are Sherwin Williams Pure White.

    This next home also features pops of “black” throughout, but not on every ceiling:

    Sherwin Williams Peppercorn looks black on a shiplap ceiling in an entrance way, with same color on stair risers.
    Photo Credit: @in_vest_homes

    This design by Marissa (@in_vest_homes) features Sherwin Williams Peppercorn on the staircase, as well as on shiplap underneath, and up onto the ceiling in the entrance.

    I say “black” because Peppercorn is really a blue-gray, as you can see on the stairs. Many people do consider Peppercorn to be a soft black, and it does look dark enough on the ceiling, so we’ll let it slide.

    Peppercorn ceiling in the entrance of an otherwise white home, with matching Peppercorn office.
    Photo Credit: @in_vest_homes

    You can see a bit more about this color and it’s not-blackness in my post: Sherwin Williams Iron Ore vs Peppercorn (Full Comparison!)

    As I said, more shiplap to come, but these are just a couple of examples I wanted to highlight.

    Black Ceilings in the Bedroom

    You could make an argument that the bedroom is the best place to do a black ceiling. It doesn’t really matter if it turns out feeling a bit darker and cozier, because it is mostly used at night anyway!

    Cyberspace shiplap on bedroom ceiling with beams
    Photo Credit: @in_vest_homes

    This design is also by Marissa, but in a different flip house.

    This time she used the color Sherwin Williams Cyberspace, which again is not a true black, but it looks the part.

    Another angle of man bedroom with Cyberspace shiplap ceiling and natural wood beams
    Photo Credit: @in_vest_homes

    This next bedroom features a true inky black on the ceiling, in the form of Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black.

    Dorian Gray walls with white trim around large windows and a black wood ceiling
    Photo Credit: @highland.haven

    In the bedroom at Highland Haven, the walls are Dorian Gray. I have covered Sherwin Williams Acier here, which is one shade darker than Dorian Gray on the same color strip.

    Dorian Gray walls with white trim and a tricorn black ceiling.
    Photo Credit: @highland.haven

    Finally, here is a cute little boudoir with animal print wallpaper and a black ceiling by @verygoodpaintingllc.

    Black Ceiling in a bedroom with animal print wallpaper behind a black headboard
    Photo Credit: @verygoodpaintingllc

    So cute!

    Black Ceiling in the Nursery

    A nursery is an unexpected place for a black ceiling, but in this space it looks sophisticated and soothing:

    Cyberspace shiplap ceiling in creamy white nursery with mustard accents
    Photo Credit: @in_vest_homes

    I believe the wall color here is Sherwin Williams Alabaster.

    Black Ceiling in the Living Room

    This next living room brings moody to a whole new level!

    Black ceiling in a pink living room of a Victorian home with a large print of a roughly sketched cake on the wall.
    Photo Credit: @thejordansathome

    In this Victorian home, sultry pink beige walls are capped off with the high black ceiling.

    Salmon colored living room walls in a Victorian home with tall black ceilings, bay windows, and comfy looking furniture.
    Photo Credit: @thejordansathome

    Although Marianne is a fan of Farrow & Ball Sulking Room Pink, I think the color on the walls here is more similar to Sherwin Williams Sandbank. (Possibly Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster?)*

    * I have since taken another scroll and the color is indeed F&B Setting Plaster

    Farrow & Ball Setting Plaster on walls with black ceilings in a living room and playroom
    Photo Credit: @thejordansathome

    Black Ceiling with White Walls

    Here we have a few black ceilings in rooms with white walls, but where the black has been brought down onto the walls slightly. It’s almost a faux-Victorian effect.

    Behr Swiss Coffee in a games room with Behr Nightclub black on the ceiling and top 1/4 of the wall
    Photo Credit: @nest_on_nightingale

    I really love this first room by Lara (@nest_on_nightingale). She used Behr Swiss Coffee on the walls, and Behr Nightclub on the ceiling.

    Here is the room before the black ceiling:

    Behr Swiss coffee games room before the black ceiling
    Photo Credit: @nest_on_nightingale

    I think we can all agree that the black ceiling was a major upgrade!

    Behr Nightclub on the ceiling with Behr Swiss Coffee on the walls in a games room with a big pool table and pendant lights.
    Photo Credit: @nest_on_nightingale

    For more about this white, check out my post: Swiss Coffee Paint Colors Reviewed (Are They All the Same?)

    Here is another partial wall and black ceiling paint job, but where the ceiling is super fancy shmancy!

    White walls with a lit black ceiling in a living room with modern light fixture
    Photo Credit: residencedesignbuild

    This one looks like the true black of Tricorn Black to me. You can see that the walls are probably eggshell and the trim is a higher sheen like semi-gloss.

    Black Ceiling and partial wall in a white living room with gray sofa and red rug
    Photo Credit: @residencedesignbuild

    One more! :

    White board and batten walls with a black ceiling that runs down onto the walls partway, in a modern living room with a TV and black bar cabinets below.
    Photo Credit: @residencedesignbuild

    All Black Walls and Ceilings

    Why stop half way when you could do all black ere’thing? These designs feature black walls and ceilings:

    Two white chairs in the black forest green living room of a custom home
    Photo Credit: @archetypehomes

    This living room by Archetype Designs (@archetypehomes) is actually in a deep dark green. It is Benjamin Moore Black Forest Green.

    Black Forest Green in a cozy library with a christmas tree and two white lounge chairs
    Photo Credit: @archetypehomes

    You can see that this color is still black, but with strong green undertones.

    This moody room is giving Shakespeare and Downton Abbey with just a pinch of something akin to pop art.

    Next we have a funky black office with not just black walls and ceilings, but doors too!

    All black walls, ceiling, and doors in a home office
    Photo Credit: @johnaskewcustomhomes

    This living room by Chroma Custom Painting (@chromacustompainting) is another black monochromatic moment:

    Farrow and Ball off-black on walls and ceiling in a living room or office
    Photo Credit: @Chromacustompainting

    The color here is Farrow & Ball Off Black, which looks quite blue-ish here, but can have undertones ranging from super neutral charcoal, to blue, or even olive. It’s a bit like Sherwin Williams Iron Ore in it’s chameleon-like, almost black, qualities.

    Finally we have one last all-black walls and ceiling look in this study at The Nottinghome (@thenottinghome):

    A greenblack office with greenblack on all walls and ceiling. Dark and moody with rustic furnishings and wood french doors
    Photo credit: @thenottinghome

    The color here is Sherwin Williams Greenblack again.

    Black Hallway Ceiling

    I recently made a post about Black Interior Doors, and that is a great example of how you don’t necessarily need to be consistent with your accents. There are many people who have chosen to paint their doors black only in one part of their home, or only certain doors, and that’s totally okay!

    You could dip your toes into the black ceiling trend with only one space, such as a hallway, and not need to carry it through elsewhere.

    Black ceiling with white walls in a hallway. Side by side before and after of #1 all white, and then #2 white with the black ceiling.
    Photo Credit: @chromacustompainting

    The black ceiling here really emphasizes the unique shape of the hallway, which you wouldn’t have noticed before.

    Black Ceiling in the Kitchen

    I was surprised to not see black ceilings very often in the kitchen with all of my scrolling, but I did find one by John Askew Custom Homes (@johnaskewcustomhomes).

    Black shiplap ceiling in a two tone gray and white kitchen
    Photo Credit: @johnaskewcustomhomes

    Here the black ceiling is stained wood.

    Since we don’t have a lot of inspiration here, and I have zero photo shop qualifications, here is a mockup (emphasis on mock) of how I envision a black ceiling in a kitchen:

    A black beam ceiling in a white kitchen with light wood floors.

    Personally I would keep the floors in a lighter wood tone, and take white cabinets all the way to the ceiling. I would also keep the backsplash a mid-toned or lighter color, so as not to recess it too much.

    The bedrooms that Marissa did with Cyberspace are a great black ceiling example that I could envision in a kitchen.

    Black Porch Ceiling

    Finally we have an outdoor ceiling in black! This porch ceiling is stained wood:

    Taupe exterior doors on a neutral house with black porch ceiling and an outdoor fireplace
    Photo Credit: @johnaskewcustomhomes

    One more of the same space in warmer light:

    Taupe exterior doors on a neutral house with black porch ceiling
    Photo Credit: @johnaskewcustomhomes

    Tips for Painting Your Ceilings Black

    Of course the best tip of all is:

    • Paint your ceilings before the walls

    Wouldn’t that be lovely? If you decided to paint your ceilings black at the same time that your were painting your whole house? Yay you! Any little spillage or mess can easily be fixed when you paint your walls.

    For the rest of us, here’s a few more tips:

    • Use masking paper and poly

    Luckily I have actually painted just the ceiling quite a few times. The easiest way to do this is to purchase a masking “gun” that combines tape and paper.

    This is the kind that I have used before.

    It can be a little tricky to get it started, but after you’ve got the two dispensing properly, it is super easy to use.

    This looks like the paper that I’ve used before. For tape, I always get Scotch Blue. I just like that tape the best.

    Illustration of how to use blue tape and masking paper to line the ceiling

    Make sure you have a step ladder with a little table so you can set it down. Can you manage with just your thighs? Sure, but RIP your floors when you drop it a bazillion times.

    (I haven’t used this exact ladder before, but something like this. It’s a little taller and has a tray.)

    Mask tight to the ceiling with the tape, and the paper will hang down for an extra foot of coverage. Then tack poly drop sheets to the paper to cover the rest of the walls.

    Masking tape and paper with poly sheets tacked to the paper, set up to protect the walls for painting the ceiling black

    As I was finding the links for you, I saw that they do also sell poly sheets pre-attached to tape that you can put in your gun, but I haven’t personally tried those. I don’t think I would, because the poly is more likely to get yanked and pull the tape down (rather than rip the paper), but you could always try it.

    Anyway, that’s the coverage system for you.

    • Cut in carefully. Don’t rely on the tape!

    Quite often ceilings are not perfect 90 degree crisp corners from walls. They can have uneven textures, and even rounded corners. Cut carefully by hand and don’t rely on the tape to: #1 – Not bleed, and #2 – Get a nice looking line.

    The important thing is that the line looks straight from the ground. So glide with a steady hand and don’t worry if it follows exactly perfect while you’re up on the ladder.

    A strip of black paint along the top of the painters tape protecting walls
    • Use a microfiber roller and an extension poll

    I like microfiber rollers because they hold a lot of paint. Ceilings tend to soak it right up because they often haven’t had as many coats as your walls have.

    Don’t be the lady who breaks a broom handle over her head and takes a paint shower (me), and get a proper extension pole.

    • Have at least a small amount of wall paint on standby

    If you do make a little oops without realizing before it dries, have a small can of your wall color on hand for touch ups.

    Black Paint Colors to Use

    Let’s recap all of the black and soft black paint colors that we saw in this post:

    Sherwin Williams Greenblack

    Paint brush swipe of greenblack

    Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black

    Tricorn Black swatch

    Sherwin Williams Cyberspace

    A swipe of paint in Sherwin Williams Cyberspace

    Sherwin Williams Peppercorn

    Sherwin Williams Peppercorn paint swipe on a color card

    Farrow & Ball Off-Black

    Farrow & Ball Off Black paint swipe on a color card

    Benjamin Moore Black Forest Green

    Paint Swipe swatch of Benjamin moore Black Forest Green

    Behr Nightclub

    Behr Nightclub paint swipe on a color card

    Thanks so much for reading to the end! I hope this post helped you decide to take the leap into black ceilings! (Or at least one.)

    Not sure yet? Here are some other ideas:

    Graphic reads black interior doors
    Iron Ore Sherwin Williams color strip from Passive to Iron Ore. Features Quietude, Gray Matters, Cityscape, Grizzle Gray and Peppercorn over background of volcanic rock
    Graphic reads "Black Living Room Accent Walls" over a background photo of a Black accent wall living room with a neon sign in the center that reads "overflow"