How to wallpaper or paint angled walls and sloped ceilings

painting angled walls and sloped ceilings

Choosing the right wallpaper or paint color is only one challenge in a room with angled walls and sloped ceilings. For many homeowners it’s confusing to know where the wall ends and the ceiling begins. A question I get asked over and over is “should I paint this wall or ceiling color?” Or, “where should the wallpaper end”?

Below are three different options to deal with wallpapering and painting angle walls and sloped ceilings. Choose the one that is best for you!

1. Paint everything wall color except the flat ceiling

One lesson has stayed with me from the very first color consulting class I ever took. The instructor said “everything should be treated as a wall except what is completely flat”. So that answers the wall vs.ceiling question. If it has any angle at all, it’s wall. If it’s flat, it’s ceiling.

 In the image below, my friend Kelly Rogers of Kelly Rogers Interiors painted the whole room a soft green grey and painted the ceiling white.

angled walls white ceiling

Painting the walls grey and the ceiling white, is a perfectly good option because there is plenty of flat ceiling in the room.Visually, the ceiling reads as “ceiling”. The same rule applies to wallpaper if you want a painted ceiling. Wallpaper all the angled walls, leaving the flat ceiling for paint.

wallpaper on angled walls white ceiling

In the photo below, designer Christine Morrison Kohut covered the angled wall with paper and painted the flat ceiling.  I love that Christine chose a light blue for the ceiling that blends into the wallpaper. This visually expands the bathroom as there is no jaring white ceiling.

When painting the ceiling a different color from the walls in an angled room, keep the walls and ceiling similar in color value. In other words, if you paint the walls in a dark color and paint the ceiling white, the high contrast between walls and ceiling will cause the room to feel even more choppy.

In the photo below, the dark walls and white ceiling act to accentuate the sharp angles in the room because of the large difference in color value.

Compare that image to the one below. By painting both the walls and ceiling all one color, the sharp angles and various shapes blend into one another.The room now feels less choppy and chaotic.

Another situation where a white ceiling might not be the right choice is if your room has a long narrow ceiling. You don’t want to end up with a room that looks like there is a white racing stripe or landing strip running down the center of the room. In the room below the “landing strip” feel would be even more pronounced had the walls been any darker.

This brings me to the second way to paint or wallpaper a room with angled walls and sloped ceilings.

2. Treat wall and ceiling as one and paint or wallpaper the entire space

Many designers like this option the best. As A-list Designer Jamie Drake says:

“If your space has odd angles dormers, or unsettling beams, wrap the entire room in color. Use the same paint or paper on every surface. It will make all the oddities disappear.”

Check out this room by designer Maia Roffey of Black Sheep Interior Design. The bedroom has deep angled walls yet by wrapping the whole room in one light color, the angles become less pronounced and the room expands.

Don’t assume you are limited to using white or a very light color to wrap the entire room. The master dressing room below, featured at the recent pasadena showhouse, was all wrapped in one deep, rich color.

Painting out all the angles, ceiling and walls in one rich color, the room has the feeling of a warm, cozy sanctuary. 

The final option is to…

3. Embrace the angles and slopes and make it the focal point of the room

Let’s face it, no matter how you choose to deal with wallpapering or painting angled walls and sloped ceilings, they are not going to go away. This attic bedroom was designed by Mark Sikes. He chose to embrace the odd shaped, angled room. Not only did he choose an eye popping checked wallpaper but he outlined all the angles with navy blue cording. I guess if you can’t hide it, accent it!