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Elegant Bathroom Makeover with Painted Ceiling; Brown, Cream, Turquoise

Updated on January 29, 2013
This was a dramatic change. This bathroom was all white.
This was a dramatic change. This bathroom was all white.

Scared of Color

I love home decorating and design. I am also a professional painter. Paint is the greatest way to change the atmosphere in your home. But when it comes to choosing color, it can be very intimidating and scary to go with something bold or different. If you are thinking of doing something unusual I am sure you know the feeling of hesitation.

On this project, I was not only nervous of how it turned out, I was also nervous of what my boss would think when she came home to see it. Yes, you read that right, my boss coming home. You see, I painted this bathroom at my boss's house while she was on vacation... without her knowledge. It was a Christmas present to her. But a very, very bold move for me. Nervous is an understatement really. I was scared she would hate it. But I did it anyway knowing I could change it to whatever she desired with about 2 days work. Good thing she loved it!

Making the Choice

Since this wasn't my home, it was a bit tricky to choose the color for someone else. Since her bathroom was white with accent colors, that is where I started. I browsed her towels, the other bathrooms in her home, her artwork, her bedspreads, throw pillows, curtains, and other home décor items to get a feel for her style and colors she likes. She had several items that were tan, brown, and turquoise. Most of these items were in this bathroom but were also in the adjacent master bedroom. I thought the combination would make a great feel for the bathroom.

Once I chose the colors I looked through magazines and online for room designs with those colors. I can honestly say I did not find anything that really had the elegant look I was going for. I remembered seeing a dark ceiling with light walls in a magazine a long time ago. I could not get it out of my mind. So I decided to try it out. The ceiling needed to be painted anyway and I thought it would really make the bath area pop out when you walked into the room.

Brown ceiling, cream wall, with turquoise accents was the final decision. I went to the paint store and picked up several paint samples. I laid them out on the tile floor and picked the best matches so the room would blend well. I ended up with a warm chocolate brown and a sandy cream color.

If you are considering doing a dark ceiling with lighter walls, keep in mind the paint finish. I used flat paint for the ceiling. The reason for this is the flat paint will absorb the light instead of reflect it. The flat paint will not draw your eyes to the ceiling and will not shine. It makes it look farther away. For the walls I chose semi-gloss. Normally I would put eggshell in a bathroom. But, since I did have the dark ceilings, I wanted to walls to reflect more light to brighten up the room. Therefore, I chose the glossier paint.

The Painting Process

I worked from top to bottom. Although my painting techniques told me to put on the light color first I am only 5'3" tall. I was sure to have some spatters and drips from being on a ladder. So I thought best for me to start with the ceiling. I took down all of the light and fan covers first. Next I did all of the trimming out with my paint brush. I have been painting a long time so I do not use tape or drop cloths. I recommend them to anyone who feels they need them.Next, I rolled the ceiling. It took 3 coats for the ceiling even though I purchased paint that was advertised as a one coat primer and paint. I am not sure if it was the dark color, or my painting ability, but I was not satisfied with the evenness of the paint until the 3rd coat was dry.

When the ceiling was done, I immediately went around and covered all of my brown mishaps that had dried before I got to them. Then trimmed out the walls. It took 2 coats of the cream to cover the walls well. I cleaned all of the light and vent covers while my paint dried. I was very happy with the outcome. Finally, I put it all back together and added some décor.

I added an additional towel rack, a make up board I found on Pinterest, and hanging baskets to hold items she doesn't use often. It took me 4 days total to do the entire project.

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When it all was complete I closed the doors and put a ribbon and sign saying Merry Christmas. When my boss came home from their vacation she called me almost in tears and her 8 year old granddaughter was screaming ecstatically! She loved the bathroom! I was so happy that she really liked it! She said she would have "never let me do such a thing if I had ever asked her first" because she had never seen anything like it. But she loves it, "It is the most elegant bathroom I have ever seen". I think it turned out great! I hope sharing it gives you some great decorating ideas!


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