Looking up isn’t usually one’s first instinct as you walk into a room, unless you’ve just entered the Sistine Chapel. But ceilings in homes are getting more attention as designers take what they call “the fifth wall” to new heights.
For decades the ceiling was under-appreciated. Sure there may have been crown molding, but most ceilings were left white, without much more thought. Today, ceilings are no longer viewed as just a way to hide insulation, wires or attics. In fact, some industrial modern lofts actually embrace ceilings that expose these mechanical pieces. Other ceilings are being elevated to add personality to a room and to draw the eye upwards.
Creating more visually appealing ceilings can make a small room look larger, or make a cavernous space look cozier. Ceilings also speak to a house’s character, whether that’s playing up an ultra-modern design or old-world charm.
Three dimensional designs are classic, from the modern tray ceilings to old world coffered ceilings, to the rough-hewn exposed beams. These geometric designs tend to draw the eye upwards.
The growing popularity of tray designs in a ceiling can hold a light fixture or a simple fan and frame it, giving the room an overall pop. Tray ceilings can be elaborate to simple in design. They are also known as an inverted or recessed ceiling, which features a section that is several inches to several feet higher than the center section, which creates a focal point.
You’ve heard of painting an accent wall, why not an accent ceiling? It doesn’t have to be expensive to add personality to a ceiling. Something as simple as a coat of contrasting paint can change the atmosphere of a room. For example, in a child’s bedroom, you could paint that ceiling black or dark blue, and attach adhesive glow-in-the dark star stickers, to create a night sky.
Other fun painting projects on ceilings could include stripes or polka dots. Perhaps, if you have lots of patience, you might erect a scaffold to lie down on while you paint your own masterpiece on the ceiling, much like Michelangelo did painting the Sistine Chapel.
Designers also point out that tin ceiling tiles and mirrored tile ceilings are another way to add personality to a room, without a huge structural cost. The shine and light from the mirrors or the tin is an easy way to add some glittery reflection in a darker room that has little natural light.
What’s old, is new again. New modern designs of wallpaper are making a resurgence, and with the newer pre-pasted wallpaper, hanging has never been easier. The fresh designs on modern wallpapers can give a dramatic ceiling to any bedroom or hallway, and it’s faster than lying on your back painting your masterpiece.
To create a warmer space, or bring down a ceiling, some designers suggest hanging billowing drapery or fabric across the ceiling, giving texture, color and movement above.
If it’s personality that you seek in your home, the fifth wall is not to be ignored or forgotten. Whether it’s something cosmetic like painting, or structural like a tray ceiling, remember a ceiling will have a lot more character if it’s not plain white.