Should the ceiling and baseboards be the same color? Designers give their verdicts

Interiors professionals share their opinions on whether to match ceilings and baseboards

Should ceilings and the baseboard be the same color
(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

What should contrast and what should match is often an issue in interior design and that definitely goes for the question of whether the ceiling and baseboards in a room should be the same color.

Whether you’re painting a room yourself or calling in a contractor to do so, before the brush makes contact with the paint the colors of all its elements must be selected, including those of the walls, the ceiling, and the baseboards along with the room’s remaining millwork.

But whether the hue should be the same for both ceiling and baseboards is another question it’s important to ask and answer and so we asked interior designers to give us their opinions along with the reasons for their verdicts. Here’s what they said.

Should ceiling and baseboards be the same color?

Spoiler alert: both using the same color for ceiling and baseboards OR using different hues can be a good strategy, according to the professionals. The reason to pick between these options might be driven by the room itself or by the effect that’s sought. 

Below, our experts explain what to think about to make the right selection for all your rooms.

Reasons to match ceiling and baseboards

bedroom with cast iron bed and high ceilings with white walls

(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

There are some good reasons to choose the same color for the ceiling and baseboards in a room.

Ties the room together: ‘Unifying ceilings and base­boards makes a room feel smooth and connected,’ says interior designer Artem Kropovinsky. ‘A matching look ties it together.’

Creates consistency with other interiors: Choosing the same color for ceilings and baseboards doesn’t just tie the look together in one room. If you are opting to use white paint for both elements throughout your interiors, it brings a harmony that’s subtle but perceivable.

Makes small rooms feel bigger: ‘If you paint the ceiling and the baseboard the same color, it will visually make the space bigger and will help you create a sense of calm and flow,’ says Devin Shaffer, lead interior designer at Decorilla. ‘This can be of big help in small rooms or if the ceiling is too low.’ Bear in mind that we’re talking white or light colors to achieve this effect, of course.

It lets other elements stand out: ‘Matching colors contribute to a harmonious and tranquil atmosphere,’ says interior designer Nina Lichtenstein. ‘The lack of contrast fosters a sense of unity and serenity, allowing other design elements to take center stage without distraction.’

Suits minimalist interiors: ‘For minimalist or modern design, single-colored ceilings plus baseboards create clean lines without fuss,’ says Artem. ‘The room’s shape shines through, unfettered by distraction.’

Reasons to contrast ceiling and baseboards

Colorful living room with dark purple painted walls, light purple used on upper wall and ceiling, coving, glass chandelier, dark wooden sideboard, armchair and sofa, glass coffee table, large purple rug on light wooden flooring

(Image credit: Paint & Paper Library)

In some rooms contrasting colors for the ceiling and baseboards can enhance the interior.

Shows off architectural highlights: ‘Contrasting ceiling and baseboard colors gives spaces interesting depth,’ says Artem Kropovinsky. ‘High ceilings and ornate­ molding benefit from attention drawn to architectural highlights.’

Gives the illusion of height: ‘For rooms with lower ceilings, opting for a lighter color on the ceiling than the baseboards can give the illusion of height, making the room feel more spacious and airy,’ says Ricky Allen, director and designer of Ever Wallpaper. ‘This technique is particularly effective in smaller spaces or rooms with limited natural light.’

Defines a room’s proportions: The technique can work in a lofty room, too. ‘In case you have really high ceilings, using a contrasting color in the baseboard in a darker shade that is within the same family color as the walls, will ground the room visually, helping define the proportions,’ advises Devin Shaffer.

Creates individuality: ‘Spaces get character with color contrast,’ says Artem. ‘Expressing style becomes fun by picking the right hues. Rooms look richer thanks to creative color combos teamed with textures.’

Allows the creation of a feature ceiling: Living room ceiling ideas can include making the ceiling stand out with color. In that case, matching baseboards would detract from the room’s standout feature.


Does painting the ceiling the same color as the walls make the room look bigger?

Painting the ceiling the same color as the walls offers the possibility of making the room look bigger – but it’s important to opt for white or a pale neutral if this is the aim. The reason is that it maximizes light reflectance, which will create the illusion of a larger room. However, if you were to paint the ceiling and the walls in a dark color, this would have the opposite effect, making the room feel smaller. Bear in mind that the latter isn’t necessarily a problem. If your aim is to create a cozy atmosphere in a large room that doesn’t feel that way, then darker colors could be the way to go. 

Knowing how to paint baseboards will give them a pro-level finish despite their position, which does make the task more awkward. You’ll need the right tools and know-how to paint a ceiling, too, so that the finish is flawless. Be mindful that it’s worth painting walls as part of the same project since freshening up one area of the room can reveal other parts that need some attention.

Sarah Warwick
Contributing Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.