PaintingTips | Painting A Tray Ceiling

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Interesting… sometimes it’s like people are reading my mind. I have a kitchen that has an ugly old fluorescent light fixture and I can see that there is a lovely tray ceiling under all that old plastic.  I’ve been on the lookout for some tray ceiling lighting ideas.

My plan is to pull out all the old plastic and light fixtures. I’ll replace them with 4 can lights. The center of this tray ceiling holds a really ugly ceiling fan. I already have an old iron chandelier for that space… with amber mica shades. The light fixture keeps calling out my name from the attic… Need to get this done!

A newsletter subscriber wrote in asking a question about tips for painting a tray ceiling.  She writes about the same problem I have with my kitchen… and the burning question we all have:  What color do I paint that neat covered area?

Debra, I have a galley style kitchen, that’s getting a facelift!.

I’m eliminating a fluorescent light fixture and discovered a tray ceiling much to my delight. My color pallet is beige tan and gold.  I’m unsure what color to paint the top of the tray or sides? It’s not a large kitchen so would you recommend lighter/darker and where?


So, Catherine… we have the same question about choosing a color for the kitchen tray ceiling.

A while back… I had thought of painting it dark sky blue… like a night sky. Then adding tiny specks of what would look like dim stars… but it’s too much of a “boys room” look.  At least to me.

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I do have cobalt blue in my kitchen as an accent color, but that would just be over kill. The lighting must be taken in to consideration when painting the ceiling.  The tray ceiling will capture that light at night… so the paint color needs to look pretty in daylight and dramatic in the evening.

But… we are talking about a kitchen, not a dining area.   So what to do??

Anything in blue is going to turn green at night.  Hmmm…  And your colors are beige, tan and gold already…

My thought on this is to paint the top of the tray with a red and then skim over that with a faux glaze coat in burnished gold.  What happens when you do this is you’ll get a copper sheen.  Yeah…I know…This may not seem “light” and airy… but we are talking about a boxy area that we want to accentuate.

See the finish here: Gold Glaze on Coral Walls

If red isn’t in your accent color scheme at all… then fall back to your gold.  Still… think about using a gold color glaze over the gold paint. It would look pretty in the daylight and dramatic at night.

Now… what if you want to paint the sides and top of a tray ceiling?  Paint it all the same.  Don’t try to just do the top one color and leave the sides bare or another color. It will look like a tiny jewel box when you paint the entire tray ceiling top and sides.

Hey… these are just my tips for painting a tray ceiling. :)

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  1. Amy Guild says

    Thanks for the great tips of painting and arrangement ideas. It is really helpful me to rearrange my little home.

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