Ceiling Decoration Ideas (DIY Ideas To Add Interest To Your Ceiling)

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.  Ceiling decorations are usually the last thing on our minds when remodeling a room, but 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 ceiling decoration ideas that I can use in other rooms in my house.  I’ve come across so many amazing ceiling decorations in the process.  A lot of these wouldn’t work in my house, but I thought I’d pass them along 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 of all the ceiling decorations 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.

Stained Plywood Slat Ceiling - my favorite of all the ceiling decorations I've ever done.

Stained ceiling make from plywood

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.

ceiling decorating ideas - planked ceiling with white pickling finish from Edith & Evelyn Vintage

via Edith & Evelyn Vintage

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.

ceiling decorating ideas - reclaimed wood herringbone design on ceiling, via Make Me Pretty Again blog

via Make Me Pretty Again

Wallpapered Ceiling

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.

Wallpapered ceiling decorations

Transitional Living Room by Elizabeth Gordon

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.

ceiling decorating ideas - Anaglypta wallpaper on ceiling, from Craig Getty Painting

by Craig Getty Decorative Painting, via Facebook

Decorative (Tin) Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling tiles are another product that comes in many different designs, and these days you can also choose between metal or plastic.

ceiling decorating ideas - ceiling tiles on kitchen ceiling, from Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes

via Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes

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.

Beautiful silver leaf ceiling with heavy crown molding trim

Traditional Dining Room by New York Photographers CM Glover

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.

Latticed ceiling trim

Traditional Kitchen by Carla Aston | Interior Designer

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.

Contemporary Entry by The L&C Company

Bold Stenciled Ceiling

Granted, the architecture of this ceiling probably isn’t a DIY project :-D, 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.

Bold stenciled ceiling

Mediterranean Home Office by Sinclair Associates Architects

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.

A more subtle stenciled ceiling

Traditional Entry by In Site Designs

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 with a border design

Eclectic Powder Room by Fabulous Finishes Inc

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.

Traditional Kitchen by Ingrained Wood Studios

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.)

Transitional Dining Room by McGill Design Group Inc.

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.

ceiling decorating ideas - nail head trim ceiling design, via Design Sponge

via Design Sponge

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.

ceiling decorating ideas - simple painted border, from Unexpected Elegance blog

via Unexpected Elegance

Simple Trim Ceiling Design

Rather than paint, a decorative molding can be used to create a simple design to give the ceiling interest.  Again, it doesn’t take much.

ceiling decorating ideas - simple trim design, via The Kim Six Fix

via The Kim Six Fix

Coffered Ceiling

If you have a tray ceiling, you can turn it into a gorgeous coffered ceiling with some lumber and lots of elbow grease.

ceiling decorating ideas - coffered ceiling via OUr Small Town Idaho Life

via Our Small-Town Idaho Life

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?



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  1. Still love your bathroom ceiling. I think it’s the texture and variance in color that keeps it from feeling so heavy.

    Of the others, it was the lattice ceiling that really caught my eye – so cool!

  2. My ceilings are all white and I’m okay with that. I do love your bathroom ceiling and the example of the pickled slat ceiling was great. My mother (many years ago) wallpapered an entire bathroom. It made me feel like I was in a tiny box with no air! I think that made me VERY afraid of wallpapered ceilings? LOL

    Can’t wait to see what you try.

  3. I have bead board(painted white and stenciled with flowers around the edges) in my bedroom. Am putting a tin ceiling in my great room and corrugated tin in my lower level.I so agree with you about doing something to your ceilings!

  4. I love the lattice ceiling! Especially the design painted behind it. Would make it feel like you were outside on a beautiful day no matter what the weather!!

    1. That lattice ceiling might be just the thing in your music room Kristi.

      It’s a contained space so stops and starts aren’t an issue – and I think it would go well with the botanical mural you’re planning for the walls.

  5. From 1989-2003, my husband and I restored a two story home built in 1916. We papered all the ceilings upstairs with textured wallpaper similar to Anaglypta but not as heavy. It was prepasted and paintable (still available today). I applied it to the ceiling, walking along a 2×12 between two ladders, while Charles assisted. The rooms were about 12×15 with a standard 8 ft height. After we moved, we did the same thing in the bathrooms and utility rooms of two other houses; I want to do it here in this utility room but my knees don’t work like they used to. We had a sleeping porch also upstairs that we put lattice on the ceiling. We painted it (the ceiling) blue (a Southern tradition) then installed lattice sheets over, painted in the same white as the trim. I loved it.

      1. We’ve also papered ceilings. You do not need to tack it in place. The wallpaper paste holds it there perfectly. We papered our dining room, that is where we put the predominate pattern for that room. It’s one of my favorite rooms 🙂

  6. No more opinions from me. Too may too choose and without seeing the house, and everything else put together it is too hard from a distance. I will wait till you choose, then change your mind, then change your mind again and again, LOL Blessings

  7. I think your bathroom ceiling would be wonderful in the family room. But I love the shallow tray in the entrance and dining room! Putting up a narrow one in the entrance and then a wider tray in the dining room would give the feeling of separation without having another set of pony walls for Matt to navigate!

      1. Is there any way to hang pictures flat on your ceiling or is this just a dumb idea. I have so many family photos going back many generations that are all frame and I would like to display but do not have the wall space. I live in a 500 soft contemporary/modern condo. Trying to think out of the box. If I can t find a way then does of pics remain in storage! Thanks if anyone can help!

  8. So many gorgeous ceiling treatments. My personal favorite for your ‘front rooms’ would be the shallow tray ceilings or the painted ceiling/solid accent color. Both are really stunning and would really suit all the gorgeous wainscoting you are doing. I also really like the white pickled finish tongue and groove, the lattice design and the decorative tin ceiling tiles, which all three would look equally gorgeous in your breakfast room.

  9. Kristi,
    Thank you SO much for this blog. Your bathroom ceiling is…well, perfect.
    I love the silver leaf but, like you, my ceilings are not smooth. I lived for a time in the northeast where it is common to have a plasterer apply a “skim coat” over the drywall in order to achieve a professional finish (super hard and perfectly smooth). I cannot afford that for the whole house…but maybe for just one room.

  10. My friend, an interior designer, has had many ceilings installed with wallpaper in various places (Dining Rooms being her most favorite). You do not have to tack up the paper to allow the glue to set up; just put it up and you’re done.

    Ceilings that I did in my decorative painting years included murals that I did on canvas first and then glued up, River Rock paint with little gold glitter mixed in, and venetian plaster. And then there is the perennial favorite: clouds and skies!

  11. In the first two houses my husband and I lived in the ceilings where popcorn. I hated those. In our current house we have three types of ceilngs: scraped popcorn leaving a slight texture, skim coated flat because we redid the ceilings, and textured by the previous owners. All of them are painted a very pale blue. We have dark crown molding in most rooms, along with wood floors, and I didn’t want to compete with that and my hub would kill me if I painted it, so the ceilings are blue. Because of all the warm colors the blue helps balance the tone a bit.

    I say start with painting, you can always add items if you want. However, if you wanted to add a post about adding beams to ceilings with stained crown molding I am all eyes and ears!!!

  12. I love the subtle stenciled look and the ceiling medallion ideas for your dining room!!! I love so many of these ceiling deco ideas, I’d never thought of doing anything by paint my ceilings. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I painted my dining room ceiling on the advice of my friend and decorator, Anna. I love it and gave gotten numerous compliments on it. (It’s a darker red)

  14. The tongue and grove (pickled or otherwise) is always a great choice. But I was knocked out by the lattice ceiling. I’ve never seen that before.

  15. Kristi, A great collections of ceilings. I never knew there were so many. I love love love the Carla Aston tray ceiling. But then I am crazy about lattice of any kind.

    I love getting your blog and admire your creativity and tenaciousness.


  16. I love your slatted ceiling in the bathroom, too. I do not think it looks cave like or dark, either. I think it’s very classy. I really like the blue wallpaper with gold colored leaves in the Transitional Living Room by Elizabeth Gordon.

  17. I LOVE your bathroom ceiling and think it would be great for your family room. I agree that it shouldn’t be in every room . . . and further, I don’t think any of your other rooms need a ceiling treatment. Your music room, foyer, dining room and kitchen are sooooo detailed – beautifully, I might add – that I believe a ceiling treatment would compete with what you’ve so masterfully created so far. 🙂

  18. so I love your bathroom ceiling (and I admit, I didn’t think I would – I was wrong!) and some coffered ceilings are amazing. But as a general rule, I’m not a decorative ceiling person. I like to look at the room, not the ceiling. Plain white ceilings suit me just fine. Whatever you end of choosing, I’m sure I’ll end up agreeing that you did a terrific job 🙂

  19. I liked so many of the ceiling treatments that you’ve shown. Anything you do will be top notch, Kristi. One idea that came to my mind was a lattice design replicating your beautiful doors that you made for your music room. Can’t wait to see what you decide.

  20. I attempted textured paintable wallpaper on my kitchen ceiling to resemble tin….it was like an I Love Lucy episode! I’d start at one end and work my way across, holding up the paper with my hands, head, anything else I could spare. Just as I’d get a piece up, it would start coming down from the first side. I could not get it to stay up. After several attempts, I finally called the hubs home from work to help. With two of us, it was a piece of cake, but by myself I found it impossible. Something to keep in mind if you decide to attempt this, although I’m sure your skills are far more advanced than mine!

  21. I love them all. I think it would look great it you blocked off a section of your ceiling at the front door to define it as a foyer separate from your dining room. It wouldn’t take any space away from the room but would give it a foyer feeling.

  22. In the UK, many houses have wallpapered ceilings. I’ve done a few myself. Provided the paper is properly pasted and left to ‘soak’ for the correct amount of time (it varies depending on the type of paper and weight), then the paper stays up perfectly well. There are a number of special papers such as Anaglyta and Lincrusta that are still made to original historic designs suitable for period/historic home renovations.

  23. Honestly, as someone who lives in a house full of ceiling tiles and ceiling tiles covered with popcorn (don’t know what possessed them, because the outline of the tiles is still obvious????), I think a smooth, white, dry walled ceiling is a very beautiful sight.???? My second choice would be the tongue and groove/planked option.

  24. I’m so glad you introduced this subject because too many people neglect all the creative options available for ceilings. They’re also afraid of color on the ceiling and don’t realize that darker colors, such as your bathroom ceiling, actually make the ceiling recede from view rather than bringing it down as a white ceiling does.

    My own home is exotically eclectic, and the guest bath has been nicknamed the “Casbahth.” A brass Moroccan lantern hangs from a painted medallion on the ceiling. We have a curtained alcove which is part of the living room, and that ceiling is a dark terra cotta which extends down on the walls as a kind of border in an exotic design. In the center of that ceiling, I’ve used a carved wood arm from an old sofa which forms a medallion for another Moroccan lantern. The arm, from the world’s ugliest sofa found at an estate sale, became a beautiful medallion once painted.

    In the past, I’ve also wallpapered a bathroom ceiling and had a dropped ceiling made of garden lattice in a kitchen. Shelves ran around the walls, and vining plants grew on the lattice.

    My personal style is represented above in the vaulted ceiling done in stencils in the Mediterranean home office.

    So, everybody, have fun with your ceilings!

  25. My husband and I own a house built in 1900 in East Tennessee. The bedroom (or what we’re calling the bedroom) actually has a turquoise milk painted or glazed (we can’t tell) ceiling that is original to the house. It’s completely entrancing– almost every color of blue or green is in that ceiling. We’ve got plans to renovate the room, but we’re leaving that ceiling and the white walls that highlight it so well.

    I don’t think I can post a pic of it here, but if you go here ( https://worthdoingblog.wordpress.com/tour-the-r-o-huffaker-house/ ) and scroll down, you can see it. It’s just my itty bitty blog where I chronicle our historic home’s changes, but it has a few pictures!

  26. All of those are so beautiful! We’ve been working on scraping off the popcorn from ours and leaving a slight orange peel like texture to them. We found that if we scraped too much, you could see the drywall tape and seams. I don’t mind the slight texture at all. I absolutely hate white painted ceiling and have never understood why you would paint your walls but leave the ceiling white so this time, we’ve painted the ceilings the same color as the rooms. I want to do some type of other treatment in a couple of places, maybe planked or the tin look, but will decide when we get to those areas. I think you could get away with doing at least one or two other ceilings in your home with no problem and can see some of those ideas you pictured. Whatever you decide, it will be beautiful, I’m sure!

  27. I always wanted to do something with the ceiling of my home. This is exactly the inspiration I needed. You have made my day. I would love to implement the idea of “Subtle Stenciled Ceiling” with a big star.

  28. Wow, I love your bathroom ceilings, and pretty much all of the ceilings you included. I think the tin tiled ceiling has to be my favorite. I have white walls in my bedroom so I would love to spice it up with a unique ceiling. Thanks for the inspiration overload, I’m going to have to do more research and see what I can find!