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Things are Looking Up! Great Design Tips for the Ceiling

Often Overlooked, Your Ceiling can Make or Break Your Interior Decorating Project

© 2012 by Jessica Ackerman All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

Red oak crown molding adds bling to your living room, photo courtesy of Kelly Smith

We always think about the four walls of a room when we start to plan colors and design ideas for a space. However, every room has a fifth, typically overlooked wall: It’s called the ceiling.

Most people just paint the ceiling a shade of white and call it good, but a ceiling offers a great opportunity to add style, color and drama to any space. What you do with the ceiling can actually transform a space and you can create looks that range from sophisticated to whimsical.

You can also use ceiling color to affect the spatial interpretation of a room. Here are some ideas to bring some oomph to that neglected space overhead.

Adding Drama, Elegance and Sophistication

  • Rather than go with standard white or off-white, try something that is tied in to the color scheme of the room and create monochromatic elegance. For example, if the walls of a dining space are painted in a warm shade of taupe, paint the ceiling in a milk chocolate color.

    Crisp white crown molding will provide architectural interest especially when used in combination with other wall moldings.

  • A very sophisticated look can also be created by contrasting an accent color with a creamy shade of white. For example, you can create a spacious, breezy effect by using white beaded board on the walls, leaving some space above the bead board that is simply covered with regular wall board or dry wall.

    Paint this upper area and the ceiling in a gorgeous shade of pale watery blue and then used this blue again in chair cushions, wall art and other accents. Other furnishings and accessories should be white or neutral in tone. The restrained inclusion of blue accents in the living space and on the ceiling creates a wonderfully coordinated look that is as airy as it is unexpected.

  • Add a little bling to a bedroom. Frame the area behind and above the bed with molding, creating a virtual canopy. The ceiling and the walls should be painted in the same or nearly same pale color. Then apply a metallic glaze over the painted area inside the molding and hang a gorgeous chandelier within the metallic painted area.

    The reflection of the light will create unmistakable glamour. The same concept can be applied to an entry with or without the molding depending on the size and configuration of the space.

Other Ideas with Paint, Molding and Creativity

Crown molding on a cathedral ceiling, photo courtesy Kelly Smith

  • Bring some fun and excitement to a child’s room. A bed with a built-in headboard and built-in shelving around most of the room looks clean and crisp in white. Then paint the wall area above the shelving in a bold shade like deep purple. A contrasting chartreuse hue on the ceiling makes this space kid-friendly and colorful.

  • Paint the ceiling and the walls in a small room the same color. It may be hard to believe, but the lack of contrast will actually make the space seem larger.

  • Use regular molding, crown molding, or beaded board on a ceiling to create architectural interest; ceiling medallions are also great for this purpose and they draw attention to a beautiful lighting fixture.

    Stripes on a ceiling, particularly a sloped or tray ceiling can also be used to create a whimsical or softly sophisticated look depending on colors and widths chosen for the stripes.

About the author:

Professional designer Jessica Ackerman, writes for, and specializes in decorating with wooden art and metal wall hangings.

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Website © 2012 All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

Article © 2012 Jessica Ackerman All rights reserved.