We’ve all heard it said — the ceiling is the fifth wall of the room, and yet most of us keep them plain, paint them white, and forget about them. I really don’t want to overlook my ceilings in my house. I don’t need them all to have extravagant designs, but they’re a great opportunity to add some interest, color, and customization to a house. Truth be told, I love my bathroom ceiling so much that I’d do it in every room of my house if I thought it would look good.
Unfortunately, I think it would be too much (although I do wonder if maybe I can repeat it in just one more room…the music room, or perhaps the hallway?), so I’ve been trying to find some other ideas that I can use in other rooms in my house. I’ve come across so many amazing ceiling decorating ideas in the process. A lot of these wouldn’t work in my house, but I thought I’d pass them a long to you in case these get your creative juices flowing for your own home.
Stained Plywood Slat Ceiling
Since I mentioned my bathroom ceiling, let’s start off with it. This is, hands down, my favorite ceiling I’ve ever done. I thought it might make the room feel dark and cave-like. It has had the opposite effect, in my opinion. The ceiling in this room always feels higher than eight feet to me. I really want to do this in every single room. I won’t, but I want to.
Tongue & Groove Slat Ceiling
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of cutting strips of plywood like I did, there are ready-to-install tongue-and-groove planks available at any big box home improvement store. This will end up costing a bit more, but the tongue-and-groove makes it easier and more precise to install. I generally see these ceilings painted white, but I really love this white pickled finish.
Herringbone Wood Ceiling
I love a herringbone design, and the ceiling is the perfect place for it. This looks complicated, but a herringbone design is one of those design that is quite easy to install after you get the first row or two on just right. Those first two or three rows are the trickiest, though. I think a ceiling like this would look fantastic painted as well, so that you see more of a subtle texture of the wood design.
I’ve always wanted to try wallpapering a ceiling, but I honestly don’t know if I have the patience for it. I’ve never done it before, but I would imagine the paper might have to be temporarily tacked to the ceiling while the glue dries. Anyone know? Either way, if you’ve got the patience (and neck and arm strength) for it, it can look pretty amazing.
Anaglypta Wallpaper Ceiling
Anaglypta is wallpaper, but the design is in the raised texture rather than a printed design. It comes in probably 100 different designs, and it can turn a boring ceiling into something quite amazing. You can use layers of colors on it to bring out the design, or just paint it all one color for a more subtle look.
Decorative (Tin) Ceiling Tiles
Ceiling tiles are another product that come in many different designs, and these days you can also choose between metal or plastic.
Silver Leaf (or Gold Leaf) Ceiling
This is another thing I’ve wanted to try for years now — silver leafing a ceiling. Silver leafing isn’t difficult at all, but it has to be done in a room with absolutely no air movement. I can’t even imagine the patience and time it would take to do an entire ceiling, but I think it’s stunning. One problem for me is that metallic leaf needs to be applied to ceilings that are perfectly flat, and since my ceiling drywall skills are a bit lacking, I doubt I’ll ever have the perfect ceiling to try this on.
Lattice Design On Ceiling
This design can be achieved by using pieces of 1″ x 4″ lumber or even strips of 1/2-inch or 1/4-inch plywood or MDF, attached to the ceiling with construction adhesive and finishing nails.
Shallow “Tray” Ceiling
I absolutely love the look of this ceiling. The borders create the look of a tray ceiling in the center, but the material isn’t so thick that it takes up too much ceiling height. Something like this can easily be created by adding layers of 1″ lumber around the perimeter of a room, and since three layers would only take up 2.25 inches of ceiling height, and only around the perimeter, this design could easily be used in a house with only eight-foot ceilings.
Bold Stenciled Ceiling
Granted, the architecture of this ceiling probably isn’t a DIY project 😀 , but the stenciled design certainly can be. The solid color borders painted on the ridges and around the edges of the ceiling could easily be replicated on a flat ceiling by just taping off a similar “X” design and painting it a solid color. Or you could even use 1″ x 4″ lumber to create an “X” design and border to be painted a solid color, with a bold, graphic stenciled design in between.
Subtle Stenciled Ceiling
While I always love a bold look, I also really like this more subtle stenciled look. This could be achieved by using two sheens (i.e., a flat and a semi-gloss) of the same paint color.
Painted Ceiling Border Design
Allover designs can be nice, but if it’s too much for you, you can just add a border design all around the perimeter of the room. It can be as simple or as fancy as you like.
Painted Ceiling Medallion
An actual ceiling medallion is nice, but I tend to prefer a painted one myself. There are stencils available specifically for painting medallions, or you can give it a try freehand or with a projector.
Painted Ceiling (Solid Accent Color)
Of course, the easiest way to spruce up your ceiling is to simply paint it one solid accent color. This will forever and always be my favorite example of how a solid color painted ceiling can impact a room. (And this particular ceiling medallion trumps any painted medallion design I’ve ever seen.)
Nailhead Trim Ceiling Design
This probably looks much more difficult than it is since nailhead strips were used to create the design, but the result is stunning and looks like it took weeks to accomplish.
Simple Painted Ceiling Border
This very simple border just goes to show that even the smallest design details on a ceiling can make a big impact.
Simple Trim Ceiling Design
Rather than paint, a decorative moulding can be used to create a simple design to give the ceiling interest. Again, it doesn’t take much.
If you have a tray ceiling, you can turn it into a gorgeous coffered ceiling with some lumber and lots of elbow grease.
There really are so many great ceiling ideas out there that can be accomplished by DIYers. What ideas have I left out? What have you tried (or what do you plan to try) in your home?