Interior Design A-Z: ‘C’ is For Ceilings

If asked, “How many walls do you have in a room?”, most would answer without a second thought “Four”.    After reading this article, you might re-think your answer.   In fact, the ceiling should be considered the fifth wall in a room, and should always be considered when developing an interior design plan.


Just like the other four walls, the quickest least expensive way to change your ceiling design is by painting it.  Even if your walls are white, your ceiling doesn’t have to be.  Color on the ceiling will give the room dimension and personality.  Soft colors will make the room open up and evoke feelings of the outdoors.  Imagine painting your bedroom ceiling a soft blue, sunset peach or mellow yellow.  If you have a dark room, you can paint the ceiling in a high-gloss finish that will capitalize on the room’s available light (Caution: high gloss paint will highlight flaws in a surface).  If you have high ceilings and you want to ‘bring the ceiling down’, you can paint the ceiling a dark color such as chocolate-brown.  If your ceilings are low or average height, consider painting the ceiling a lighter shade of the wall color (mix one part of the wall color with two or three parts of pure white).

Another option when using paint on the ceiling is not to paint the entire ceiling in a color, but to paint large squares, circles or diamond patterns.  The paint colors can be monochromatic, or a mix of different complementary colors.  This approach is particularly good for modern/contemporary design plans.  You can hire a professional artist to paint a mural on your ceiling.  It doesn’t need to be a complicated design; it needs to flow with the other design elements in your space.

Of course there are other options for ceiling design besides paint.   Wallpaper on the ceiling is another way to complete a room.  (Note: Just like when you wallpaper your vertical walls, the ceiling texture needs to be smooth prior to application.)  You can use patterned wallpapers, or a textured paper such as grass cloth.  You can tile your ceiling in small mosaic glass tiles.  This approach is a great option for powder rooms.  The sparkle of the tiles will add great color and dimension to a small space.    Wood can be used in many ways too.  Here in Arizona, a popular way to dress a ceiling is with wood beams.  If you have an Old World, Rustic or Southwestern design scheme, this is an excellent way to add dimension to a room.  You can take it further by using wood planks on the ceiling.   Armstrong Building Products offers Woodhaven Planks that come in ten different pre-finished styles and install with a clip system.  Armstrong also offers Tin Look Paintable Ceilings that include shapes such as triangles, squares, circles and even tin tiles.  Think of how much fun you can have with the ceilings in a game room or a child’s room!   Fabric treatments can also be used on the ceiling.  Options here include a padded upholstered look, or a gathered, tent effect.

In summary, ceilings should not be boring or ignored.  Use the ceiling to emphasize and enhance the décor of a room.  Have fun and make your ceilings something pleasant to look at that will compliment your home and give it unique style.



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