Painting interior dormers can be a design and color challenge. Not only are there unusual angles and sloped ceilings, but deciding which planes to paint a wall color and which to paint a ceiling color can be tricky. No hard and fast rules exist, but some tips and ideas can help you decide how to paint a gable- fronted dormer.
Consider Color and Light
Because most dormers include a gable window on the home's facade, the interior walls are sometimes visible from the street. Painting a bright or vivid color can give your home a Halloween effect at night when the dormer room is lit from inside. Similarly, light that enters a dormer window is "bent" and influenced by strong colors on the interior dormer walls. Painting them warm yellow or apricot will cast a warmer light into the room. Cool greens and blues will cool down the natural light. For the most neutral effect, use white, off-white or pale taupes and beiges.
Don't forget paint sheen. If there's sunlight coming in the window, it can create a lot of unpleasant glare on glossy dormer walls. Unless you like this idea, stick to a washable flat or eggshell-finish paint.
Which is Ceiling and Which is Wall?
A standard, horizontal flat ceiling is easy to identify. However, in many dormer rooms, the sloped walls and ceilings can lead to some confusion over whether they should be painted the color of the walls or the ceilings. This is not a concern if your walls and ceilings are the same color, or if your ceiling is a color other than plain white. However, if a sloping wall in the dormer gable extends fairly low to the floor, consider whether you really want it to be flat ceiling white. Typically sloping and dormer ceilings look better with a painted color, even if it's a pale neutral. If the dormer is in a child's room, remember that it's almost impossible to wipe fingerprints from flat ceiling white paint.
Accentuate interesting dormer angles by using a contrasting color. Consider surrounding design elements like your window treatments, carpeting, wall art or upholstery, and pick a color that both complements these and the paint color on the rest of the walls.
For even more impact, think about a faux finish in the dormer. This can be as light and whimsical as pale blue sky and fluffy clouds or as dramatic as a marble effect. Use faux to bring together elements in the room--leather-look dormer walls for a study or a sun-washed stucco glaze in a kitchen or dining room.
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