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Treating Your Ceiling as a 5th Wall

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

Ceilings are definitely the most neglected surface of your home, but they don't have to be. Think of them as a 5th wall where you can design them in almost any way that you can design a wall. You can...


1. Paint them

This music room in @chrislovesjulia's Idaho home gives me so much inspiration! You would think that adding color to the ceiling would make the room seem confining and the ceiling to seem lower, but in fact, it can do just the opposite. By painting the ceiling of a room, it gives it visual interest and draws the eye upward. Plus, it's an inexpensive way to add huge impact.

Photo Credit: @chrislovesjulia


2. Coffer them

What exactly is a coffered ceiling? It's a sectioning off of your ceiling into quadrant by using beams as dividers. This ceiling design adds so much dimension to a room and takes a two-dimensional ceiling and brings it to life. You can add moulding to the beams, add recesses or, keep them simple with exposed wood to act as the decoration. The sky's the limit, or the coffer is the limit (insert laugh / cry emoji).

Photo Credit: @andreozzi_architecture


3. Shiplap them

Ah, what Joanna Gaines put on the map... shiplap! We've all seen it on walls, but it's not as often used on ceilings. What's great about shiplap is that it's more D.I.Y accessible. All you need are a couple of tools and some free time (this is probably harder to come by than the tools), and you can create an amazing design feature with your own two hands! Shiplap is commonly associated with farmhouse style, but if that isn't the style you are looking for, try painting it or orienting it in different ways on your ceiling. This ceiling feature helps a room feel bigger due to the repetition of the planks. It can be as subtle or focalized as you want it to be.

Photo Credit: @timbertrailshomes


4. Add a Tray Ceiling

A common question is, are tray ceilings out of style? Not necessarily. Many people are adding them to newly built homes to give a sense of grandeur to owner's suites, studies and family rooms. But, tray ceilings can date a room if they aren't styled properly. Adding a tray ceiling to a room can provide that high-end feel and can be in practically any shape you imagine. Rectangle, ellipse, octagon, the list goes on.

I would recommend a contractor or well-versed handy-man if you are looking to add a tray ceiling to your home since it requires many disciplines (wood-worker, drywaller, or painter to either paint or potentially wallpaper) to complete. But hey, I don't know your life. It's your home and your skills and if you feel confident in your abilities, who am I to stop you.

This tray ceiling by @tinascarselliinteriors is a chef's kiss. I'm pretty partial to a dark and moody room, especially an office, but this one just takes the cake. The double tray ceiling with the moulding painted the same color makes the room seem even bigger and becomes the main focal point of the room with that fabulous starburst pendant. This is also a simple way to modernize a tray ceiling by painting both the moulding and the tray ceiling itself the same color.


5. Add Wallpaper to Them

I mean, can we just stop and 'ooo' and 'ahhh' at this amazing wallpaper ceiling by Mysha @remingtonavenue!?!? Rather than a feature wall, she is using her ceiling which is the perfect example for how you can use a neutral color on your walls and still make a major and unexpected impact. Yes, this wallpaper is bold, but you can go as bold or as minimal as your creativity allows. What is great about wallpaper is there are so many wallpapers that are easily removable, so if you don't fall in love with a wallpaper ceiling, you can painlessly remove it without damaging your drywall. Just like with paint, a wallpapered ceiling doesn't mean your ceilings will suddenly feel lower or your room will feel cramped. The wallpaper aids to draw your eye up so that you see the whole space rather than just ignoring the ceiling.

Photo Credit: @remingtonavenue


6. Add a Medallion

This last one may be a little old fashioned, but hear me out. I'm convinced ceiling medallions are making a comeback. Medallions add so much dimension to a room and give a ceiling character with just one little touch. Just take this medallion by @hydeparkmouldings. Even though everything in this room is painted a neutral color, the pendant still is the focal point of the room. The great thing about ceiling medallions is that they can be modern or traditional with Lowes, Home Depot and Wayfair all having various medallion style options.

Photo Credit: @hydeparkmouldings


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