This question has been asked frequently by homeowners, painters, interior decorators, and anyone else who has the privilege of making a room look and feel just right. Unfortunately, the answer does not fall on either the “yes” side or the “no” side 100% of the time. However, it would be a safe bet that most people would say that the ceiling should be a different color, preferably white.
This is the traditional color, it’s that simple. Ceilings are generally white or off-white because this light hue gives the appearance of more height and more space. If this is not your goal, you should use a color of medium darkness to give the room a cozier feel. Most people avoid using dark colors on ceilings that are only eight feet high or even nine feet high because this can make people feel as if they are closed in and cause them to feel uncomfortable.
When the ceiling in the room you are going to paint is 10 ft, 11 ft, or 12 ft high, you may have a situation which calls for a medium-dark or even dark color. Vast space inside a home can be intimidating to some people so darker ceilings can help make a room seem a bit more comfortable. If you are caught between the two and just can’t decide how to proceed, you can always use some tan or off-white to achieve something more in the middle of the color range.
With all of this in mind, you may think you have answered the question posed in the title. But you might want to give this some more thought. Some designers and decorators start by using light-colored paint on the walls, staying with an off-white or light tan, especially in smaller rooms.
The question then could be: “Does this mean it’s best to use the same color on the ceiling in this case?” Perhaps you should try using a slightly lighter hue of the same paint used on the wall. This preserves the roomier feeling but does something more pleasing to the eye by giving some contrast.
Windows and Flooring
Some decorators and painters prefer to break the rules when they are working for a specific client. In this case, breaking the rules means not having a white ceiling. For example, one ceiling was recently painted with a mid-range purple, the walls were white/off-white, and the purple was present in some of the furnishings and in pieces on the wall. The combination was quite striking.
It is also important to consider how much natural light comes into the room from the windows. Darker colors are more appealing in this situation. If your flooring is dark wood or tile, you have to give some additional thought to contrast, both on the walls and the ceiling. There is no doubt that the final answer to the question depends on personal tastes and your desire to remain within the traditional boundaries of your community. If you have doubts, start with lighter colors and change if you need to.