You have purchased or built the home of your dreams. You have pondered over which style and feeling you want to create in each room and with which furnishings you would like to fill it. You have put a lot of thought into the colors you would like to use for your furnishings and accessories as well as for the paint on the walls. Let’s not forget about the ceilings! We love putting the unexpected on a ceiling!
In fact, the ceiling can be considered the fifth wall in a room. It is a big part of any room and needs to be as important as its vertical counterparts. If you forget about the ceiling or think it’s just not that important, you are missing out on an excellent opportunity to create a more exciting and visually interesting space.
There are so many, different applications that are now readily available that can make your ceilings as attractive as the rest of your room. Should you just paint it white? Maybe not. Painting your ceilings a beautiful color or adding an architectural feature can add so much to a room. Now, I know some of you are hesitant on this topic. A white ceiling is fine and is expected, but think of the possibilities a color above could bring to your space. We usually entertain this idea with children’s rooms or nurseries because it is a bit easier than in our living spaces, but painting your ceiling a beautiful bold color like black or deep eggplant or a soft soothing blue or gray can add so much character. There are also opportunities to create an interesting ceiling architecturally. Your ceiling is an opportunity to create drama. It can also make a room feel cozy and inviting. With so many types of ceiling treatments, let’s study a few to consider in your next home project.
Paint – The easiest and most economical treatment is, of course, paint. Painting the ceiling a different color than the walls can help define a room. For instance, using a dark color on your ceiling with white walls can be very dramatic. This technique can also help bring high ceilings down visually to create the illusion that the ceiling is lower. If you are a little weary about taking the plunge on dark ceiling paint, a lighter color that complements the wall color is also a great idea. In contrast to a dark ceiling, a light colored one can help visually raise the ceiling, if it is used in a smaller scale room. This is a good option for many older homes with traditional eight-foot ceilings. We love this room using Powder Pink 2009-70 paint by Benjamin Moore on its ceiling for a warm, playful touch to an otherwise formal setting.
Wallpaper – Another popular ceiling treatment is wallpaper. We use wallpaper on walls and behind bookshelves regularly for our clients’ homes, but a decorative wallpaper on the ceiling can add whimsy and flair. (You may also be interested in reading “Exploring Art,” where we discuss adding antique mirror glass to the back of Pamela’s shelves for a brighter feel.) With wallpaper, you can use very large patterns or very small and both will look great. For instance, a great floral print or a geometric design is a fun way to bring a room to life. We have also installed grass cloth on a ceiling in a client’s home spa, introducing a timeless and earthy feel to the space. Powder rooms are also a great place to use wallpaper on a ceiling for an element of surprise. Of special note, wallpaper can also hide uneven ceilings in an older home or those with an awkward shape. For more wallpaper tips, read “Tips and Tricks for the Best of Beautiful Wallpaper.”
Ceiling Trays and Beams – Ceilings can also be enhanced architecturally. Ceiling trays, coffered ceilings, beams or wood slats are often used in today’s modern homes and can either be painted, stained or distressed to add to the room’s décor. Ceiling trays, also referred to as inverted or recessed ceilings, are sections of the ceiling that are several inches or several feet higher than the main portion of the ceiling itself and offer a focal point in the room. A coffered ceiling has many “trays,” whereas a tray ceiling has one main focal point. With a coffered ceiling you can even add another element of texture in each of the individual trays themselves. Wallpaper, accent paint, wood slats or even tin can be installed to create a very unique look.
We recently completed a home for a client that had a very large tray ceiling. It was a great way to create a focal point to a room with very tall ceilings, so we painted it a rich teal color to coordinate with the same rich teal we painted on the bookshelves. The home was recently featured in the June issue of Houston House and Home.
Beams have become very popular as another creative ceiling texture. Ceiling beams originated as a more rustic design but are now being incorporated into just about any space you desire. They are normally made from wood, either distressed or painted, but can be made from other materials as well. They can be left untreated for a more natural look that will warm up the décor of a stark-looking room or they can be made with a combination of trims and painted to match the ceiling color to achieve a more formal look. Either treatment or style is a timeless and classic look for your space.
When selecting the colors and furnishings for your new or remodeled space, treat the ceiling with the same tender loving care (TLC) that the rest of the home garners. Allow your ceiling to make a statement about your personality and how you envision using each room. After all, don’t you want to love walking into each room of your home? The sky, or in this case the ceiling, is the limit!
Would you hesitate to paint a ceiling? Which ceiling statement described above would you be most excited to incorporate into your home? To get your creative juices flowing, read “The Art of Painted Ceilings” and then start a plan to paint yours.