Good Questions: Insufferable Soffits?

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Hello AT,

Insufferable soffits. I have soffits in my 80’s condo with eight foot ceilings.

Here are my questions: What color do you paint the bottom of the soffit — match the wall or match the ceiling? I picked white to match the ceiling and reflect a little light. I get asked when I am going to finish painting. Next, those air conditioning ducts — leave ’em alone or paint then to match the walls? Should you ever place decorative objects on the soffit? See picture of my kitchen with plates on soffit — does this work?… [more below]

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Finally, I have a sliding glass door, the casing of which comes to within 1″ of the jutting out of the soffit. On one side of the door, the casing comes to within 1″ of the corner of the wall. How does one hang curtain rods in such space?

Thanks for any ideas. Margaret

Dear Margaret,

We agree. Soffits can be nerdzswaddlingly difficult to figure out.

Some of this is subjective and some is not. Here’s what we think.

1. with such a small soffit in such close quarters paint it the same as the wall. It is clearly attracting attention to itself the way it is and it doesn’t deserve the attention. It is just confusing people. If you really want to highlight an architectural feature, then you should paint the underside the same as the ceiling.

2. The vent covers should be painted the same as the wall for the same reason: you want them to visually disappear, not stand out.

3. The plates? Geesh, we would take them down as they seem to clutter the space rather than bring beauty to it. It is not “wrong” to hang them, however, as they are very nicely displayed. We consider this more a matter of style.

When it comes to style no one is ever right and no one is ever wrong.

Anyone else??