Decorating Ideas for Ceilings

Learn 3 ways to decorate your ceilings and transform the look of your rooms.

Most people don’t give a lot of thought to their ceilings when they’re redecorating.   After choosing their wall colors, they opt for white or off-white paint as an afterthought.  But, by doing that, you draw attention upward without giving the eye much to look at.   A wasted design opportunity.   Applying color, sheen, pattern, and texture on the ceiling can transform the entire look and feel of a room.   Here are some ideas we hope will inspire you to have a little fun with the “5th wall”.

Think About Your Goals

  • Do you want to highlight the ceiling?  If your ceiling features interesting architectural details, like stained wood beams or beautiful moulding, you definitely want to focus on those.    Tray and dome ceilings also beg for attention.
  • Do you want to make the room look bigger or feel cozier?  Using color strategically can help achieve that.
  • If your ceiling is unusually shaped or just unremarkable, then maybe you just want to direct attention away from it.

ceiling1Create a Focal Point/Add Drama

Faux finishes and decorative painting techniques add a WOW factor and drama to any decor, but especially when applied to such “unexpected” places as ceilings.  You can use glazing, Venetian plaster, stencils and wallcovering to achieve this look.  The kitchen ceiling pictured was painted with a Benjamin Moore Metallic Specialty Finish .

ceiling2Make Your Room Feel Cozier

A large room with high ceilings can feel impersonal or unbalanced sometimes when furnishings, floor coverings and accessories visually occupy the bottom half of a room, leaving the top bare.   Experiment with a deeper color on the ceiling in this case. A rich cocoa in a soft sheen such as eggshell or pearl immediately cozies up and balances a large open space with style.

ceiling3Make Your Room Feel More Open

Make a small room or room with a low ceiling feel larger by keeping the color contrast between the walls and ceilings to a minimum. The pale yellow ceiling over wheat-colored walls in this room allows your eyes to gently travel upward without the stark demarcation created by a bright white ceiling (think of how the sky naturally lightens in an ombre effect as it approaches the sun).  Use a flat sheen paint for the best effect – it absorbs light and hides imperfections, leaving you nothing but pure, beautiful color overhead.

ceiling4Draw Attention Away from Your Ceiling

If you are dealing with a room with angled ceilings (like the one shown here) I always suggest painting the entire room the same color.  You don’t want to draw attention to this type of ceiling.  If the room is small and square with lower ceilings and you opt for a darker color on the walls, then I suggest painting the ceiling a lighter color which will suggest a higher ceiling.

So Don’t Forget Your “Fifth Wall”

Ceilings truly are a blank canvas for your creative expression, and as a bonus, you don’t have to worry about smudgy fingerprints or furniture nicks. And decorating your ceiling is a budget-friendly way to give any room in your home a new, inviting look. With a stunning ceiling to look at, it’ll be easy to keep your chin up even in a tight economy!

Key Takeaway:  Sometimes referred to as the “fifth wall,” ceilings need to be included in your overall decorating plans.  Applying color, sheen, pattern, and texture on the ceiling can transform the entire look and feel of your room.

We would love to see pics of what you’ve done with your ceilings.  Send them to and we’ll post them in a future blog.

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