Interior Design Masters finalist Siobhan's simple ceiling paint hack creates instant atmosphere

If ever there was a case for not painting the ceiling white, this is it

The Interior Design Masters semi-final took the final four to Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire. Here, they were tasked with transforming two restaurants, and Siobhan pulled a clever ceiling paint hack out of the bag.

Related: Paint trends 2021 – the colours setting the tone in our homes this year

The series 2 runner-up painted the ceiling and the top part of three of the walls in an earthy burgundy tone. The dark colour distracted from the old Artex finish on the ceiling and made it feel lower - in turn giving the space a new, intimate feel.

Siobhan's ceiling paint hack

wooden flooring with lighting and cushions

(Image credit: Interior Design Master with Alan Carr / BBC)

While the bold ceiling split opinion among the judges, we thought it was a really smart design trick for creating atmosphere. 'As a design choice, contrast ceilings take the crown for creating drama,' says Rob Abrahams, co-founder of Coat Paints.

'Paler walls with a much darker contrast ceiling draw the eyes upwards and focus them on height - which feels dramatic,' he explains. This was a great idea for a restaurant, a place we visit on special occasions where we want to feel like we're experiencing something different - otherwise, we'd just make dinner at home.

Restauranteur Nisha Katona joined series judge Michell Ogundehin to scrutinise the semi-finalists' designs. When it came to Siobhan's restaurant scheme, Nisha admits, 'I can't say I love the deep red ceiling.

'I think it could have almost been whited out and it would've made it slightly airier,' Nisha adds.

wooden table with lighting and stool

(Image credit: Interior Design Master with Alan Carr / BBC)

'It's unusual, but I think it really works,' counters Michelle. She also notes that the filigree lighting Siobhan used worked well with the dark ceiling. It certainly gives the dining room more of an evening vibe by bringing the ceiling down.

Painted ceilings also got a mention in the final episode of the show. Colour expert Sophie Robinson commented that if you choose to decorate with darker colours, it's best to embrace it and paint the ceiling too.

woman with men and sofa

(Image credit: Interior Design Masters, BBC Two)

In our own homes, this ceiling paint hack would work in smaller, north-facing rooms that don't get much natural light anyway. You can often make small rooms feel bigger with dark paint, too.

Pick a dark tone you love for the ceiling and you'll make a bold, confident design statement.

Millie Hurst
Senior Content Editor

Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.