bright white ceiling & pearly white walls

by | Oct 13, 2014 | Decorating, Dining Room, Living Room | 43 comments

Today the boys are off school for the Columbus Day holiday.  Three day weekends like these always catch me by surprise, but we always find a way to just roll with it.  Jeff was out for the day, so it was just me and the boys.  We took this day to hang out in our jammies at the house.  I was planning on being in the studio today, pricing my weekend finds and working on things for the Chapel Market, but that wasn’t going to work with a day off school.  The boys were playing really well, so I decided to hop into a project at home that I didn’t think I would get to until after the market – painting the living and dining rooms.

Remember this plan?

I first needed to paint the ceilings.  What joy is mine.  I don’t think anyone enjoys painting ceilings.  (Except Michelangelo.  He was obviously a glutton for punishment.)  I talked myself into it, though.  I hadn’t painted the ceilings in the front of the house since we moved in and I painted them in an off white, so they looked a little dingy.  They were also marked up a bit from when I hung things from the ceiling with tape.  So, it was time for a fresh coat of bright white flat ceiling paint and it’s best to do it before refinishing the floors.   The ceiling is the kind of thing that isn’t very noticeable when it looks nice, but it sticks out when it looks off.  Despite the sore shoulders and paint speckled hair, it was worth it.

You can see the difference from the off white to the bright white…

…and how sharp it looks compared to the cream wall color now…

…and how dingy things that are still off white look against it!

That ceiling medallion needs a fresh coat of paint, too!  The painting went quickly, so I decided to paint the ceiling in the home office as well, which was the same off white.  It looks so much better!

After lunch, I gave the boys a treat and let them play some games on the iPad.  I started out surfing Pinterest, but then I decided to make the most of the time and paint the dining room walls…

It’s sort of funny, because they look almost exactly the same!  I painted the walls another off white called “Pearly White” by Sherwin Williams.  It’s similar to the Aria Ivory that was on the walls, but it has less yellow and more gray in it.  It wasn’t a dramatic change, but the room looks so much fresher with new paint on the ceiling and walls.  I’ll paint the trim in a bright white next and then we’ll refinish the floors.

Right now the room is pretty sparse and I’m going to leave it that way until we finish the floors.  I am still thinking through my options and what I want to do.  I’m trying to balance out the desire to freshen up these rooms a bit with the fact that we hope to move in the not-so-distant future.  I would love to do amazing trim, bead board and beam ceilings, the works, but that’s a lot of customization for a house we’re not planning to stay in long term.  When I start getting that “look” or throw out a “maybe we could…” he just looks at me lovingly and says, “Let’s save that idea for the next house.”  And he’s right.  There are a few more things we want to do to this house (upstairs bathroom, boy’s room, fresh paint in the stairwell and waterproof the basement) and then we’re done with the big DIY home projects.  For this house.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see the bright white trim framing out the windows and the wall color.  Eulalie (the cow) looks good on Pearly White, which is very important, but I’m going to hang her up a bit higher now that I’ve removed the piece of salvage wood that was above her.

You may have noticed that I also removed the blinds.  I have grown to really dislike blinds.  Hate seemed like too strong of a word given that we’re only talking about window treatments.  They are so hard to clean and when I look at them I just see fuzz and cobwebs and tangled strings and things that block beautiful natural light.  We really aren’t in these rooms at night, so privacy just isn’t an issue and down they came.  I’m keeping them in the attic in case the next owner of this home wants to put them up again.

And while I’m at all of this painting and refreshing, I think I might treat those corner cabinets to some milk paint.  I’m thinking Bergere would do nicely…


  1. Betty

    Hi Miss Mustard Seed,
    I love your paint colors. We are planning to paint our living room and Master Bedroom and I think I will pick up those paint chips at the paint store. Well, on another matter. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for the photo tips yesterday. I think I’m a lazy blogger. Today I set my light up, put the camera on the tripod and set my camera on AV f2.8 and put the timer on for 2 sec. Oh my gosh…What sharp photos. Some days a little angel speaks and I listen.
    P.S. Love the photo tips.

  2. Kelly Orr

    We must be on the same paint wavelength. I just repainted our family room last week, too. I went from antique white to “Dusting of Snow”. In other words, white. With just a hint of gray undertones. I love it. The rest of the family can’t tell a difference! Ha! The week before that, I painted the baseboard trim white. They were stained dark. Our 164 year old house has some very pretty stained trim in the family room. My husband loves it and I am somewhat less enthusiastic. But he is so kind and good to let me do almost anything I like around here, that I want to honor him in this preference of his. So the baseboard is now, finally, white, but I left the pocket doors and window trim stained. No pictures yet, but just making the walls whiter makes me appreciate the stained window trim a little more. Everywhere else here….white trim. Including our dining room, which has no window treatments at all. So your removal of the window blinds in your dining room makes me smile. They look very pretty, Marian. How about that for a long-winded attempt to be brief?!

    • Shelly

      What kind of paint did you use on your stained base boards? Did you use a white paint that had polyurethane in it, or did you go flat. I would love any information, as I am hoping to paint our brown stained woodwork this winter. Did you have to do any sanding?

      Thank you so much,

      • Kelly Orr

        Hi Shelly,
        Yes I sanded the trim first, and then again just a little lighter in between the 3 coats of primer. I used Zinsser water based primer. (I did 3 coats of primer so I could do fewer paint coats.). Then I did 2 coats of semi gloss paint. We have lived here for 2 1/2 years, and I did the other baseboards in the house the same way. They have held up very well. It is more time consuming to sand, but I have found it helpful. I don’t try to get it completely, evenly sanded, but instead I just try to get enough roughness for the paint to grab onto. I have found it easier to do the trim one room, or hallway, at a time, so I’m not overwhelmed. The results are so gratifying to me though. Brighter and cleaner and crisper looking rooms. I hope that helps!

  3. lizanne mckay

    Hi, Can you tell me where you got your dining room rug?

  4. marian

    Joss & Main

    • Teresa

      Thank you…. I was going to ask the same question. I just bought a farmhouse table and need a new rug and really love yours.

      The new paint color looks so fresh and bright. Isn’t it amazing how a new coat of paint gives us so much bang for our buck.

  5. mary

    LOVE THE PAINT COLOR.I just don’t know how you get it all done.So impressed.You have beautiful taste.

  6. Jan

    A slurry of drywall compound brushed onto the plastic ceiling medallion will make it look more like a vintage plaster medallion.

  7. Sulia

    Michelangelo was forced to paint the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel by the Pope, just fyi. He didn’t want to do it, as it nearly killed him.

    • marian

      I never knew that! Well, he certainly did a good job.

  8. sandi m

    I can’t believe how FAST you painted all of that today!! Did you just do one coat?
    Oh, could I fly you in for one day to help me paint mine??!! I think of the prep I need to do and decide to just wait….. it has now been tooo long of a wait!! I need to just open the can and start!

    • marian

      Yes, it did only take one coat, but I am a fast painter. Comes from lots and lots of practice!

  9. Leah

    I despise blinds too. Growing up my job was to dust the mini blinds once a month. Not surprising that I have never had them in my own house.

  10. Alexia

    Wow, did you whip into a phone booth to change into your SuperMarian cape in the morning? I’ve seen professional house painters who couldn’t finish that much in a day, let alone mostly before lunch, in their jammies….

    • Patti

      I was thinking the same thing lol – and with two boys home with Mom for a day off no less! 🙂

  11. Cindy

    Oh wow… I really do like the new paint color on the walls. I can see the difference… and it’s subtle but much cleaner looking, really goes with everything. Wish i had tried that color when we were repainting my living room. I agree with the whole blinds thing too, we have to have some on the front of our house for privacy because we are right on a corner lot where everyone walks by… but it’s hard to resist taking them down and flinging them out the back door!


  12. Maria Y

    Hi Marian, could you please share the name of the fabric you intended to use for the room? Thank you.

  13. Kara

    I have been putting off this specific task, but after seeing how beautiful they look all fresh and white, I’m afraid I will now have to dive in. Or rather up, as it is a cathedral ceiling. Ew.

  14. beverlee

    I love it being more sparce…It just looks fresh and uncluttered. I love the staging, but this is really nice.

    • beverlee

      sparse, not sparce…sorry

  15. Judy H.

    Marian, the first thing I noticed as I scrolled through your photographs was Eulalie. She has become a real favorite of mine. I thought she looked as though she might be holding her chin up a bit and feeling quite the center of attention in her newly dressed surroundings. She does look beautiful! I love the wall and ceiling colors you used. I’ve always thought flat ceiling white was de rigueur, even though I always thought it looked a bit dingy even when newly painted. I love the color you chose for your ceilings and walls. The rooms look so fresh and airy. Can’t wait to see the curtains against those gorgeous walls!

  16. Lindsay Eidahl

    Holy cow! You go girl! What a productive day/weekend! I always feels so good to check things off your list. The rooms look beautiful (they were beautiful before too).

  17. beth

    That looks great!! I don’t like blinds, either. One of the very first things we did when we moved into our current house was remove all of the cheap mini blinds. And we hadn’t even signed the papers yet!! I don’t worry about the privacy thing that much, and I would much rather people be able to see into my home than have icky mini blinds on all of the windows!

  18. Scribbler

    Holy cow, I am going to put a cape on you and call you SuperWoman! It would take me a month to get all those things done, even without two little boys calling me Mommy.

    The DR is very pretty and fresh.

  19. Colleen

    Looks great! Did you know that Michaelangelo actually didn’t want to paint the Sistine Chapel? It took several years of convincing before he decided to do it! So, don’t feel bad, haha. I share your newly found hatred of blinds. I’d like to banish all of mine too, but they do serve a purpose for now 🙂

  20. Yelena

    Room looks amazing. Can u tell me where that piece
    of fabric is from (in the first picture) and the name of it? It’s exactly what
    I want for my bedroom curtains.

  21. Lynn Osborne

    i echo the other comments about your productive day. If I understand this correctly, you painted two ceilings plus the walls in another room before lunch. Please, please do a post on your speed tips coming from all of that practice. I’m astounded and amazed!

  22. Chris

    “Hate” is not too strong a word to use about blinds. Like toilets, they were obviously invented by a man who doesn’t do the cleaning. And they look so… sterile and modern. Our house had blinds when we bought it 12 years ago and I’ve been gradually getting rid of them. I took the last one down this summer (Yeah, me!). They were never really necessary since we live on five acres with plenty of privacy.

    Did you paint with everything in place?! Wonder Woman!

  23. Barbara Bussey

    Noooo! Don’t paint the corner cabinets! Oh well, I guess they’re yours and you can do as you like, but….!

  24. Carol Herter

    I love your blog! Thank you for being a normal person with a normal budget who isn’t wined and dined by big sponsors so that you have to mention their products like my former favorite blogger. Please also I am interested in the curtain fabric in the dining room….it has been over 20 years since my last dining room redo and that is my winter project. I can’t wait…keep up the great job!

  25. Lee

    White can really lift a place if it is a warm sunny room. I love white on a ceiling and would never use anything else. I don’t think you will regret taking down the blinds, I am gradually replacing my roman blinds with white shutters but it costs and arm and a leg! I had a mad moment last week and turfed everything out of my tiny laundry room and painted everything white too 🙂 It now looks so fresh and pretty, before it was a pinky shade of white the previous owners had painted it. i took down the black blind which like you say was covered in dust. I do have to put something back up as it is on our driveway side, however I will probably put a wide, white wooden blind to co-ordinate with our kitchen shutter.

    Your photos are always just so pretty, love Eulilie against the white.


  26. Bronwyne Telpuk

    Hi Marian, I was just wondering what you use to refinish your floors. Just love the colours that you chose for your room. Thanks,

  27. linda

    Those sublte differences and fresh paint can make such a difference! I remember the days when I could do a room in a day! A bad shoulder really slows me down so I employ my 2 teen girls. Someday hope they are as fast as you!!

  28. Lynn Dumouchel

    where do you get the energy 🙂

  29. MaryLisa Noyes

    the fresh paint looks great! I totally agree about the blinds.

  30. Alicia

    Hello Marian,

    Yeah! You got rid of the blinds! I’ve seen my mother’s house switch from blinds to honeycomb blinds and what’s great about them is you can move them from the bottom up or from the top down to just the height you choose depending on your need for privacy or need to let the light in. They do require vacuuming occasionally but it’s easy to do. And you can push them all the way up and out of sight as well. Home Depot carries them. They also come with a cord or remote control.

  31. meryll

    Where are those ruffled chair seat covers from?

  32. Mary Condon

    Also wondering the source for the fabric in your first picture….Can you share?

    • Marian Parsons

      It is from French General

  33. Joan

    Where do you get those corner cabinets?! Nice work!

  34. Lauren

    Hi Marian, what sheen did you use for the walls in Pearly White ?


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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