My Kitchen Ceiling (and An Exercise In Democratic Decorating)

Last Updated on December 28, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

Happy Monday to you! I hope you had a fantastic weekend.

Mine was spent on a ladder…with my head leaning back…and my arms above my head. The good news? I got the ceiling finished (I think). The bad news? It’s really hard to photograph in a way that the color shows accurately!!! I mean, REALLY hard!! So let me show you what I have.

First, you’ll remember that I originally tried staining the boards. That was WAY too dark…

So after I applied the rest of the boards and stained them, I did a dry brush with white paint on the whole thing.  When it was finished, it looked like this…

I really liked the ceiling like this, but my kitchen is so tiny, I felt like it was still too dark.  So I dry brushed it once again.  You can see in this photo the difference that it made.  The six or so rows closest to the wall have the second coat of dry-brushing on them.

After doing the whole kitchen ceiling, it looked like this…

Here you can see the three different “stages”.  The boards closest to the top of the photo just have stain and black paint in the grooves, which also got onto the edges of the boards.  The second section has been dry-brushed once.  The third section has been dry-brushed twice.

And again, the section on the left has been dry-brushed twice, while the section on the right has been dry-brushed only once.

And here’s the finished kitchen ceiling (I think).  I didn’t get all of the trim up, and none of it is painted.

And here’s what it looks like in the breakfast room.  Interestingly, when the lights are on, the ceiling looks darker.  When the lights are off, it looks whiter.

That’s my ceiling…for now.  I’m really curious to get your feedback because I’m still a little unsure about it.  Sometimes I look at it and think, “Wow, I love it!”  Other times, I think, “I think I just need to paint it.”  I’m not sure if it just takes getting used to, or if it’s too dark, or if I’m just being wishy-washy. 

So I’d like to do a little democratic decorating here.  I’ve made it really easy for you to tell me what you think I should do with my ceiling. Seriously, majority rules on this one. I’m feeling really unsure, so I’m leaving it up to you!!

Thanks in advance for your input!!

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carol-Anne (Use the Good Dishes!)
    March 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I just love it! I think having it slightly darker in tone adds a bit more interest to the room. It may be just that you need time to get used to it? I hope you'll leave it as is, 'cause it looks beautiful! (and you must be exhausted!)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mrs. DeVore
    March 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I think it looks great! I love that chandelier too!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I just found your blog! I love, love, love that ceiling and think it's perfect the way it is! But I don't have to live with it. So, why don't you wait a bit before you decided? I have to say it again, what a unique and fascinating idea!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I think it needs to be lighter. It feels a little cavey to me. And maybe it looks a bit seventies-ish? Or old trailer faux paneling-ish? I'm sorry. But you asked. 🙂
    I think I would either paint it white, or another lighter color. I don't think I would be able to live with it that dark for very long. I think it would keep on bothering me. And I've learned through the years, if I don't love a paint job or stain job right away, I may "get used to it", but I will never love it.
    Good luck!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Kristi! You're making this soooo hard! I like it the way it is, the darker the better in my opinion, but white… Man, why can't you just make it a choice between this and something totally horrendous? I'm sure whatever you pick will look fabulous!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    The O's
    March 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I absolutely love it! White is what everybody does and I think this is very unique! Everyone is going to have a different opinion of course, but I LOVE IT!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I, personally, would paint it white. I would feel 'closed-in' with it dark. Either way you go, it will be beautiful!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Michelle R.
    March 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Nice, when I voted the "leave it as it is" and the "make it lighter" were tied. That should really help you decide. Good luck.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I like it (for use in another location) but think it looks dirty/dingy. Perhaps it is just the lighting/photo? I lean towards bright and white especially in a kitchen where you want things to look clean and crisp.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I think I'm of the "paint it white" crowd…

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I think it is too busy for this room. You already have so many things going on (all beautiful of course). But I think this dark ceiling is too much and leaves it too cave-like. Paint it white. Boy it looks like a lot of work though. I hope you're able to get some rest!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I think you should leave it as is, you can always paint it white later. I like how the boards on the ceiling pulls the color from the tree on the wall. You already have a lot of white in the kitchen, I think what you have now is beautiful and different, unexpected.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    The ceiling looks great! I like the lightened version a lot. I've always liked white ceilings but that's the expected and no one really pays any attention to the ceiling because of it. Your idea is not at all expected and adds so much interest to the room. You have so little space in your condo and it's great that you're being so creative with the space you do have. And, this new ceiling goes really well with the tree you painted. Keep it. Live with it for a while. You can always paint it if you grow tired of it. Violet

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I spent the weekend looking at my kitchen ceiling thanks you to! LOL
    I found some flooring panels at IKEA for not a lot $$ and I am thinking it will soon be on my ceiling, but I want white for sure. My kitchen like yours is small. I think the dark ceiling for you is just too dark and making the space darker! Good luck with what you decide!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Nancy U
    March 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Patience Grasshopper! Live with it for a while. Move on to something else. Let your mind rest and your subconscious mull it over. See how you feel in a month or two. It's not as if you don't have other projects that you'd like to try…

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Isn't your floor light? I think that if you show a picture with both ceiling and the floor showing, then the ceiling will look too heavy. If you could flip it over I think it would be good. 😉 I really think that with it dark it is a distraction from all the other pretty things you have done. What about painting it a very pale yellow or cream since the walls are yellow. But don't paint in the cracks. That way it will still look interesting just not dark. It is a beautiful ceiling but I don't think it goes well with everything else.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected]
    March 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Taken on its own, it looks great either as is or before you whitewashed it. But I don't feel it "makes sense" in your kitchen; it doesn't seem to relate to anything else in the room. I agree with beth, that if you're still unsure how you feel about it, you're never going to love it. I think it would have been fabulous stained the same as your countertops, but now that it's too late for that (without a heckuva lot more neck-straining), I think I'd paint it a shade or two lighter than your end wall or white.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim-A Creative Spirit
    March 8, 2011 at 1:27 am

    I liked it with the dry brush look but when you showed it done it really closed in that room!!!! OUCH. You are being so OK with all of it tho…… :o)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2011 at 4:33 am

    I'm in the "paint it white" crowd. It doesn't seem to fit well with the rest of your kitchen look. So even though I LOVE the effect, it just isn't really playing well with the rest of your space!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    You are a brave woman to put this up to your readers. Lucky for you, you have fabulous readers! Haha!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 9, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Like Anne above, I'm in the paint it white group. I don't know why, but I keep thinking "pirate" every time I look at the pictures…

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 10, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Kristi, of course I like your effort. My vote is "leave it just it is" it’s great. Be patient as it takes time to settle. You did a fantastic and fabulous work to bring a change in kitchen ceiling. You always decide what you like I think you’re gifted at coming with ideas and implementing them.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    PJ @ Home Decor Accents | Garden Accents | Outdoor Garden Decorations
    March 14, 2011 at 2:32 am

    Kristi, it is hard to give you my opinion. Maybe it would be easier on me if I could see it for real than just from the picture.
    When you started this project I really liked the idea of white dry brushing it but at that time you didn't have it all done yet. Now you have dry brushed it twice, you took a picture of almost the entire ceiling and it does not look as nice to me anymore as when it was a shade darker. I can see your point, it might have been a shade too dark for a small kitchen like yours and I for me it is hard to get the right idea just by looking at a picture.
    My suggestion is, give it some time and see if you grow tired of it or if you maybe will like it even better after a few days. It is your kitchen and no matter how we readers of your blog like it or don't like it – you are the one who will see it every single day.
    Paula Jo

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I love the ceiling but in that small space I agree with the 'paint it white' people. I like light bright rooms. It's such a shame because I think it's a beautiful ceiling.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I love the ceiling but in that small space I agree with the 'paint it white' people. I like light bright rooms. It's such a shame because I think it's a beautiful ceiling.