Decorating, DIY, Home, Home Decor, Interiors, Trends
comments 32

The 5th wall – In real life

I’ve mentioned before, I tend to experiment with our home, trying out design ideas, colours, layouts and living with them for a while to see if I like em, decide if they work for us and how they change the feel of the house as a whole. This way i’m in a much better position when it comes to me making suggestions for your home.

Example: when I went to have a consult about getting my eyes done with that fancy pants lazer surgery a few years ago, ALL of the opticians and technicians were wearing glasses. Erm… what’s that about? I’m still rocking the specs to this day.

I wrote a post well over a year ago all about the 5th wall and how painting the ceiling can completely transform a room. With this in mind, it was always the plan to paint our bedroom ceiling dark when I started it about a year ago (you can have a peep here to read about it). But I ended up leaving it white, deciding to wait and see if it annoyed me enough to want to paint it.

It did.

So, on Sunday morning, with the child at the g-parents, I whacked on my baggies, cracked open my paint pot, cranked up 6 Music and got started with the roller.


Being the forward planner that I am, **ahem** I ran out of paint half way through. I saw this as an opportunity however, an opportunity to reflect.

My initial thoughts:

  • Bloody hell, that’s dark.
  • Oh my god, i’m going to bang my head on the ceiling, it’s so low.
  • I can’t see.
  • I don’t like it.
  • Well i’m not painting it white again, I hate painting ceilings.
  • Maybe you need high ceilings for this to work? It worked for the Blue Bedroom.
  • Oh, actually that bits looks nice over there now, with the second coat on.
  • Hmmm… maybe I need to finish the ceiling before I actually decide on this…?

Let me show you some pictures of it half way through. It’s a bit patchy so yeah, use your imagination.


Goodbye white ceiling, hello Midtown Magic! (You can still see a bit of the white ceiling in the reflection in the mirror).


Bit of white ceiling again in the mirror.


I really like the dark colour continuing up above the wardrobes, you can’t see the corners of the room in the shadows. It all just blends away.


See what I mean?


Bit patchy like I said before, but again, you can get the overall effect.


So what do you think? I know I really need to finish it properly before I make my final decision on it. But after living with it half done for a bit, here are my mid-ceiling conclusions:

  • It works in a bedroom
  • It works better with higher ceilings. Mine are 2.4m. Projects where it’s worked amazingly well have had 2.6m and 3m high ceilings. Just click the links to have a peep.
  • I wouldn’t want this look in a living space, not with dark paint anyway.
  • I need to go to B&Q and get some more paint mixed. Again. Ffs.

Let me know your thoughts. Do you like? Hate? Would you? Have you? And if you have, how high are your ceilings?

Talk to me.



  1. I like it! Our upstairs has very low ceilings, not 7 feet – I can almost reach them, and I am about 5 foot 5. There are three rooms up there, all lighter colors than your luscious blue, but I painted the ceilings the same as the walls in each room, and I would not do it any other way. #1 it is SO MUCH easier to paint! #2 NO ONE notices unless I point it out. I feel like it makes the rooms seem taller, although with the dark color the effect seems to be the opposite.

  2. I totally understand your reasoning, it totally changes the feel of the room so takes some getting used to, but it looks really really good, very cocooning which is lovely in a bedroom! xx

    • So you think it’s changed the feel of the room then? Hmmm… Interesting. I’ve got the rest of the paint today so will get cracking with part 2 soon enough. Cheers for the feedback!!x

      • Yes, I do. Even though personally I can’t do cavelike rooms (I suffer from SAD so need as much light in my home as possible), I really get the appeal of a cocooning room (they look stunning in photos!), especially in a bedroom. Hope the painting goes well and you love it! If you find it’s not gelling with you, hey it’s only paint! 🙂 xx

  3. I think it looks awesome! Especially in such a bold colour like that amazing blue I really do love it. I’ve done my hallway which is a dark Aubergine colour and it changed the feel of the hallway a lot but in a good well, just feels more cohesive. I’ve also done it in my dining/kitchen which I painting like a mid caramel colour and it was so transformative it made me want to the rest of the house! Although for traditional rooms do quite like a white ceiling especially if it’s ornate. My bedroom is navy blue with a ornate white ceiling and it’s the lowest light room in the house, if I painted that the same I’m pretty sure hubby would divorce me! Looking forward to seeing what your conclusion is in the end 🙂

  4. Harps says

    Live with a little and see how you feel. A slightly lighter shade of the same colour might work better. When you photograph a room each surface looks a slightly different shade depending on the amount of light hitting it, which gives it depth/3Dness. A slightly lighter shade would appear like the same colour but with more daylight on it, which may lift the ceiling back up to a happy medium xx

    • Hmmm… I did think about this and if it would highlight or hinder the problem. I’m going to paint the rest of it dark and see if it helps raise the ceiling back up again (visually obviously). Other option is to sack off our loft extension and have a double height ceiling. Ha. Can you imagine Pete’s face!?xx

  5. Just signed up to your blog – really like the practical advice from someone that has been there and done it – not just perused pinterest or houzz etc!
    Looks good! We’ve gone for a similar colour in our lounge (only on 2 walls though) i always wondered about the ceiling… but i think it’s too low and quite a large expanse so would drop it down too much. It’s a dark lounge as it has a small window and french doors to one aspect. These lead onto a conservatory – so natural light is an issue. The main problem with new build houses! I’m relieved that using a dark colour hasn’t effected the light levels – as in it is actually no darker during the day, reading for example is no harder than it was before – but i like the drama that a rich, deep, dark colour gives, especially at night with a few of my side lights on.

  6. Hi Karen,

    We all think it looks amazing here at the Cloudberry Living office. Sultry and restful and really envelops you and the other colours you have and mix of the natural wood really play well off each other, we say…. Go for it !

  7. I like your spontaneity! I do think a high ceiling does help carry this look off well. It’s a lovely colour on your walls, but I’d perhaps go a couple of shades lighter for the ceiling. Or maybe even a contrasting colour that’s not so ‘enveloping’ IYSWIM. I’m liking gold ceilings at the moment.

    • Now a gold ceiling might be great in here. Although my experience of metallic paint is not good (so far). I reckon I will live with it like this for a while…. then completely re-do it in a year or so (sssh, don’t tell Pete)

  8. My bedroom is a similar colour to yours and I did wonder if this would work here. But in the end I decided it would be too much. I think it looks nice in the dark corners and does help elevate the ceiling or at least blur the line. But when the light hits the walls and ceiling I think it highlights it. I think your theory about ceiling height could be right. Would like to see it finished though.

    • I’m just going to live with it for a few weeks… well prob months as I hate painting ceilings. It’s been super dark and dingy for the last few days here so it’s been really cave like in there. More pics coming soon!

  9. I was watching with interest on Instagram when I saw you starting to paint the ceiling and I have to say, I wouldn’t be brave enough but it does actually really work. I definitely think it looks better than the white ceiling with the blue walls and the colour is so rich and velvety. I’m kind of intrigued to try, safe in the knowledge that I could always repaint it. We turned our smallest 4th bedroom into an office with dark grey walls all round but it does have a picture rail and we painted white above it. I was surprised how much bigger the room felt in dark colour. Looking forward to the extra pics!

    • I think you’re right in saying you “could always repaint it”. It’s been on my mind for so long I just had to get on with it so I could decide one way or the other. Photos of the finished room coming v soon! 🙂

  10. I think it looks fab – love dark colours in the bedroom, so restful for the evening! What might help set it off (or look really, really naff – hard to tell!) might be to have a border in a contrasting colour around the top of the wall.. that may even help with the illusion of extra height.

    • Thanks Kate. I’ve been pondering a border or something. There is actually so much you could experiment with for your ceiling. I can foresee loads more ideas getting plonked up there just before I paint the whole room white or something!x

  11. Great blog! I’m jealous that you dare do this and I’m still fannying around with feature walls. I have however made the decision to paint my ‘snug’ black – bit of an extreme I know. But can this possibly work with white patio doors? They’re PVC *sound a lot worse than they are* I can’t paint them too, can I?!

    • I do know of people that have painted their UPVC windows with black Annie Sloan paint and then sealed them with wax. It’s a mammoth job though and i’m not sure how robust they’d be. Alternatively, you can get companies that come and professionally spray your UPVC windows another colour. Final option is obviously looking to upgrade your door to black UPVC or aluminium. That’s what we’re doing as and when we can afford it. Good luck!

  12. Hannah says

    Never thought inky blue would look so good especially on all the walls, I love it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *