Flat paint goes on ceilings. Everyone knows that. I decided to buck the advice and NOT use flat paint on the ceilings in our new-to-us house.
When we first toured this place during an open house, I called it "the cave house." It felt dark and dirty. Part of that was the fact that the home had sat empty for over a year. The ceilings were also textured with swirls of plaster (not popcorn) and I think that made the ceilings feel lower than they were.
Once I attacked every surface I could find with diluted bleach, we had the ceilings sanded and refinished so they were smooth. I know some people would be horrified by removing them, but they just aren't our style. The rooms definitely felt a little better when that process was done. But the ceilings still felt low, which was odd since they are the same height as the rooms in the condo were.
I surfed the web for a little while and found the most lovely blog, For the Love of a House. Joan at FTLOAH (okay, that doesn't really work) has painted the ceilings in every room of her gorgeous home with pearl finish paint (from the Regal line). The effect is warm and beautiful. In a prior home, she had discovered that the slight sheen made her rooms appear two inches taller. She talked about being admonished by painters for her choice, but she sticks to her lovely pearl finish paint.
Joan's posts gave me the confidence I need to put some sheen on the ceilings. I started with her suggested Benjamin Moore Regal paint in the satin finish. By the third time I put my roller in the pan, I remembered why I switched to Benjamin Moore's Aura paint back in 2008. Painting with regular paint is tough. It's messy. It's not much fun.
I used the gallon on two bedrooms and while I wasn't thrilled with the coverage (I'm seriously considering doing them over with Aura in an eggshell finish), I absolutely LOVED the effect. It was hard for me to capture the slight glow in photos, but here are my best two shots.
At some point, I'll have to try again when there is more natural light in the guest room.
Like Joan, I think I'm sold on using a little sheen on the ceilings. I love the look and the two bedrooms definitely feel a little taller now that they are reflecting a little light.