The much-agreed-upon approach is to mix white paint with a few drops of whatever color you've used on the walls—and we support this formula, for those wanting an easy fix—but it isn't the only way. "I have been considering it the fifth wall for some time," says colorist and interiors consultant Martin Kesselman, who says that a ceiling should always be painted.
Kesselman points out that in a small space, where opportunities for design are limited, a ceiling presents itself as an additional canvas. A white paint ceiling in this Thom Filicia–decorated home on New York's Upper Saranac Lake reflects notes of Fray from the Benjamin Moore-painted walls.
Kesselman has become fond of painting ceilings the same color as the walls for an enveloping look, sometimes even coating the cornice and base skirting too if they have clean lines. "Sometimes clients are reluctant to go so dark for fear that it will enclose rather than open the room," Murray says, "but instead it almost gives a feeling of infinity—like outer space."