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Architects and designers often refer to the ceiling as the fifth wall. You may give it little thought, but how you decorate the ceiling can completely change your home’s atmosphere.
Ideas for Decorating the Ceiling
Does your home need a refresh? From decals to DIY overhauls, here are some ideas for revamping your overhead space.
1. Hanging Plants
Hanging baskets are a classic for a reason. Pots overflowing with lush foliage immediately brighten up a room and lend it a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. You can decorate the ceiling with real or convincing artificial plants.
Don’t think you’re limited to just baskets — there are several other ways to turn the ceiling into a green space. Vintage light bulb planters with individual air plants add bohemian charm. Long, trailing pothos plants can be trained to stretch across the ceiling or even form a canopy. Keep in mind that this works best for outdoor spaces, like enclosed porches, because you’ll have to sweep up leaves on occasion.
2. Bold Colors
Who says the ceiling has to be white? Repaint the ceiling a bold, bright color to create a centerpiece without having to decorate. Or, paint it the same color as the walls to draw your eye upward and make the room feel bigger.
You can also use painter’s tape to create geometric patterns on the ceiling. If you’re feeling creative, channel your inner Michelangelo and paint freeform designs on the ceiling, Sistine-Chapel-style.
3. String Lights
One of the easiest ways to decorate the ceiling is to add string lights. There are several varieties of string lights, ranging from classic rainbow Christmas lights to delicate, twinkling fairy lights and vintage Edison bulbs. They can add charm and personality to a room with very little effort required during installation.
4. Tapestries and Lace
No, this isn’t the name of an upscale bridal boutique! It’s just another great way to decorate the ceiling. Hang thin, wispy drapes of lace across the ceiling for a boudoir-style bedroom. Or, use a large, lightweight tapestry with printed designs, like a mandala or flowers, to cover the whole ceiling. Put string lights behind the tapestries to create a diffuse amber glow.
Are you decorating a kid’s room? You can’t go wrong with classic stick-on, glow-in-the-dark stars on a dark ceiling. Alternatively, you can paint the stars on directly or use a projector to display them on the ceiling when the mood strikes. There are also string lights and origami ceiling lamps in the shape of stars.
6. Hanging Decorations
You don’t have to go full DIY to revamp a room. With a few hooks, you can decorate the ceiling with paper lanterns, beads, wind chimes and even delicate pocket watches. String prayer flags or picado banners along the ceiling’s border for a pop of color.
7. Decals and Wallpaper
Contrary to what the name implies, wallpaper isn’t just for walls. Use it on the ceiling to instantly transform a room. You can make it match the walls or let it stand on its own.
Peel-and-stick decals also make short work of decorating the ceiling, especially in kids’ rooms. You can find whole-ceiling decals of space, ocean scenes, world maps and more. There are also subtler decals that form patterns around your existing light fixtures.
Another way to use decals is to let them slightly overlap the ceiling. For example, if you’re adding a decal of leaves or trees to the wall, let the plants poke up just beyond the border of the walls to add visual interest to the ceiling.
Strategically placed mirrors can make a room feel much larger, but don’t go overboard! Use mirrors cut into different shapes or with interesting frames to decorate the ceiling. Place them in uncluttered areas that will reflect light.
Tin ceiling tiles are all the rage right now. They come in different colors and a variety of embossed designs, lending the ceiling a vintage look. If you’re on a budget, you can use faux metal tiles made of PVC. They’re lighter and easier to cut than metal tiles but still look realistic. Or, use mineral fiber tiles made of starch, mineral wool and recycled newspapers for the same type of look.
Another bold way to decorate the ceiling is with subway tiles. You can use them in a small area — like between the rafters or in an inset space — to add visual interest to the room.
10. A Unique Ceiling Fan
Renovate your home by replacing outdated ceiling fans. There are designs to suit every decorating style — rustic, caged ceiling fans with built-in lights for a farmhouse look, 12-blade fans that look more like windmills and ultra-contemporary models made of sleek metal. You can find fans in almost any color to complement your home. Plus, the right design might help you save on cooling costs.
11. Wooden Planks
Wooden ceilings feel homey and traditional. They’re perfect for rustic living rooms, bathrooms and spaces that transition to the outdoors, like sunrooms, mudrooms and enclosed porches. The richness and warmth of a wooden ceiling can make your home feel like a cabin with modern comforts. Use it to complement other wood tones, like the cabinets and countertops, in the room.
Adding wooden planks to the ceiling can be a DIY project, especially if you use vinyl, faux-wood planks. You could spend as little as $30 for the materials depending on the size of your room. However, some people opt for professional help with this renovation.
12. Light Fixtures
Another great way to renovate is to update your lighting. In addition to brightening up a space, light fixtures can stand as decorations in their own right. Luxe chandeliers dripping with glass, bronze Mason jar lamps and quirky green pendant lights will make three very different statements. You can use light fixtures to dramatically alter the mood in a living area.
Transforming Your House
Decorating the ceiling can turn an ordinary room into a lively, serene or festive space. By using different colors and textures to your advantage, you can make your home as one-of-a-kind as you are.