bulkhead in bedroom

The Bulkhead and Odd-Angled Walls

I went to a previous clients home the other day and I was stuck, again, by the architecture of the home and the wonderful colors.  The home has two predominant colors and there are a lot of angled walls.

When we were planning the paint colors we had a dickens of a time deciding  what color to put where until we  hit on the plan of  “all horizontal and angled planes are this color; all vertical planes are the other color.” 

Seeing the home again, after several years, I was struck by how clever we were.  Without this consistency, the home would have been a jumble; a disjointed  crayon-box of colors that would have detracted from the fantastic bones of the building. 

Is it part of the ceiling or a focal point?

If you are not careful, the bulkhead could take on the visual importance of a focal point. Do you remember the ceiling-height wallpaper borders of the early ’90’s? Everywhere we went, our eyes would dash up the wall to glaze over at the sunflowers, or ducks, or books, running around the room. If you don’t stand back, look at the bulkhead and think ahead a bit, you could end up with the same result.

Then, just the other day, I was asked what color to paint the bulkhead: the same as the wall or the same as the ceiling. So I thought this would be a good topic for today’s dilemma.

How to deal with a bulkhead

If the bulkhead is more than 6 inches deep, and the wall is 8 feet tall or more, paint it the same color as the wall on which it resides, if less than 6 inches, paint it the same color as the ceiling.

If the wall is less than 8 feet high, painting the bulkhead the color of the ceiling may make the walls appear shorter; so paint any bulkhead on short walls the color of the wall. 

Paint the underside of the bulkhead the color of the ceiling. If you don’t believe me on this one, lay on the floor and look up. Horizontal plane equals ceiling. 

If you have a handy-man handy, you could consider the bulkhead on one wall as the start of a tray or coffered ceiling and  have the bulkhead replicated on the three remaining walls.  If you want to have fun, paint a sky mural on the ceiling, or apply some faux tin vinyl wallpaper.  If you do, just remember focal point.

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