Ceilings are probably the most neglected surfaces in a home, not only do they never receive care (not that they need to) but their potential for value addition to your home décor is rarely considered.
Plain white smooth flat ceilings are the norm in most homes and anything else is more often than not a feature that came with the house.
Very few people go out of their way to ensure that their ceiling has as much pizzazz as the rest of the home and yet the possibilities to turn it into something worth looking at are endless.
Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing, and who knows, you could be inspired to do something unique.
This is probably the simplest and easiest way to spruce up your ceiling; a coat of anything but white is a step in the right direction.
If you have a high ceiling that gives rooms a cold feel, then consider treating it to a warm colour to create the illusion of an advancing ceiling and thus give an inviting and cosy ambience.
This will work especially well in a living room or bedroom (a standard ceiling height is about 2.7 metres).
White gives the illusion of a receding ceiling; the illusion of height that it gives is probably the reason for its popularity (or maybe it’s just because it is what is considered “usual”), but it is definitely not the only colour that has this effect.
Cool colours will give you the same effect and are definitely more visually appealing.
If whether your ceiling appears to recede or not is not something you are bothered about, then go for contrast.
If your walls are muted go for a bold colour on your ceiling and vice versa if your walls are bold.
Painting your ceiling the same colour as your walls can be a rather bold move, especially if the colour on your walls is strong, but the result is striking and definitely worth it.
Wallpaper is a great and out of the ordinary way of adding visual interest to your ceiling; anyone who looks up will definitely think that it’s an ingenious way of utilising a material outside its original use.
Use small prints for small rooms, large prints for large rooms, stripes to create the illusion of length (great for corridors) and dots for a quirky look.
Textured ceilings come in a close second (in terms of popularity) to smooth white wash ceilings but are great because they add visual variety to a room.
Textured ceilings can be easily achieved, with a wide range of possibilities available.
If you’re not particularly keen on DIY (Do-It-Yourself) get someone who is trained in creating textured effects so that you’re not disappointed with the results.
Although technically not a texture, wood ceiling panels create great visual texture and add warmth and beauty to any interior they are installed in.
The simplest style for a tray ceiling has a slightly raised (one step) centre portion but depending on the level of grandeur you’re going for you can go for anything from a dual step to a multi-step (within reason of course) to add interest to your ceiling.
Painting the centre of the tray a lighter colour will give additional dimension and make the room feel bigger.
This ceiling design works great in classic interiors but it’s not written in stone that you can’t work it into any other style.
Drop ceilings (also called suspended ceilings) are commonly found in houses and apartments with a contemporary design.
This type of ceiling is lower in height as compared to other ceilings, thus giving the illusion that your house is smaller than it really is.
If you’re going for cosy, this will work to your advantage. Because it’s a feature in its own right, it also works great to draw attention to beautiful lighting fixtures.
Painting it in a contrasting colour from the rest of the room is a great way to draw attention to it, but if you do, keep the lighting fixtures on it simple; recessed lights will do just fine.
If you’re building, these are both great ways to add space and interest. Cathedral ceilings angle to a point upward from the walls (perfect for installing skylights) adding a dramatic flair.
Vaulted ceilings, on the other hand, come in tunnel, barrel or angled designs, all of which have a wow factor.
Apart from lighting fixtures that draw the eye upwards (doesn’t it just make sense to have a beautiful ceiling if your eyes are going to be drawn to it?)
Ceiling medallions are great additions to what would otherwise be just a plain ceiling.
They are a great choice for those whose budget might not allow for features such as tray, drop or vaulted ceilings and they create a focal point from which you can hang a stunning lighting fixture.
1 If you’re not too keen on stepping out of your comfort zone (read flat and white) consider creating a border around your ceiling about 15 cm from where it meets the wall; something as simple as two parallel lines in a contrasting colour like black will do the trick.
2 High ceilings work well in formal areas like dining rooms while lower ceilings work great for informal rooms where you just want to wind down.