By Lucy E. Halse
These days, the ceiling is considered a "fifth wall." With plenty of room to decorate, it's a canvas for color, texture, and interesting elements in all shapes and sizes. Here are some decorating ideas to make your ceilings stand out:
If you're redesigning an older home, adding a rustic beam (or several) works wonders. In addition to giving the room a warm and intimate feel, it also adds architectural interest and can even provide structural reinforcement if you're opening the walls and need extra support. Beams also fit nicely in modern spaces. If weight and price are a concern, look for faux beams or reclaimed beams, which are usually hollow and easier to install. For a stunning visual effect, choose beams in a color that's darker than the walls and ceiling.
Painting your ceiling is an easy and effective way to make a dramatic difference. Painting the fifth wall with dark colors works equally well in small and large rooms. In small spaces, it brings intimacy and comfort to the room, especially when paired with a white fixture like a low-hanging paper lantern. Dark ceilings give large rooms definition. Black or other dark paints also showcase high-end features, which makes them hot color choices for kitchens. Light colors, like white, give rooms a classic rustic-country look. A light-colored ceiling is also a good choice if you plan to decorate the ceiling or walls with other standout objects.
Moldings are perfect for large rooms without much architectural detail. Decorative moldings come in many styles and easily dress up any type of home. Crown moldings, or cornice moldings, feature intricate silhouettes and create a picturesque transition between the walls and ceiling. Cove molding is crown molding's subdued cousin. It's also used to demarcate the space between the walls and ceiling. If you have an older home, consider dentil molding, which contains small, evenly placed blocks in a repeating pattern. This type of Classical-themed molding is common in historic homes. For a grand room, consider adding egg-and-dart molding, which is Greek-inspired look consisting of oval eggs with alternating V-shaped darts.
Ceiling medallions can spruce up a ceiling alone or in conjunction with another type of improvement, such as new paint or moldings. In fact, the combination of a medallion and intricate moldings can give your room a whole new look. Medallions, which range in size from under 4 inches to 33 inches and more, work well in rooms of all sizes. Keep it simple with a classic Maria Round medallion or a white, square-shaped Leandros or Dover. If you want an ornate medallion, try an intricate floral pattern like an Artis or Sellek. Look for medallions specifically made for wood ceilings, and consider a two-piece medallion for easy installation. For a really simple alternative, you can paint a medallion onto the ceiling with a stencil and metallic paint.
You might naturally think of the walls when you want to wallpaper, but the ceiling is an excellent place for wallpaper too. Ceiling wallpaper is a powerful way to enhance the room's personality. Wallpaper with a cheerful design brings warmth and color to a calm space like a home office. To make a bold statement, consider wallpaper with stripes, geometric motifs, or dramatic floral prints. For a smaller room like a nursery, decorate the ceiling with wallpaper in a soft color. Floor-to-ceiling wallpaper gives the room a glamorous look. If you go this route, however, stay away from bold, bright, or overly patterned wallpaper, which can be overpowering. You can illuminate the space via a monochromatic paper with a dark background and light geometric pattern. Accent the ceiling with a statement pendant light for a dazzling look.
Artwork, like wallpaper, traditionally goes on the walls. But it works wonders on ceilings too! A celestial design with a moon and stars gives an office, study, or bedroom a calm and serene feel. Show off your passion for the arts with Van Gogh's Starry Night painted onto the ceiling of your living room or dining room. For a contemporary twist, you can fix words onto the ceiling featuring a favorite quote or line from a book. Decorative painting looks grand on a coffered ceiling, as does a simple but elegant design like a flock of flying birds. With stencil painting, you can get as creative as your heart desires, and either paint the whole ceiling or focus on a small design in the center.
For a unique idea, try adding a glossy finish to your ceilings. This technique creates a reflective surface, which gives the room a classy, elegant look. It catches the eye and adds interest to the space while retaining the room's sleek and modern character. Before you add a touch of gloss, however, consider that gloss can magnify any existing imperfections. Gloss white looks stunning, but it can show every nick and scratch. Consider a darker, bolder tone if you're worried about those small dents showing up.
From simple gloss to ornate medallions and molding, you have many new techniques to try out on your ceilings. This is a great way to enhance the personality of each room, and to give your home the new look it's been lacking. The great thing about making statement ceilings is that you can do most, if not all, of the work yourself!
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