Looking Up: 5 ceiling design tricks to transform your spaces

Is your home leaving you a little uninspired? You may need a dose of texture, a pop of color or a blast of bold pattern — but not on the walls. Look up: It’s time to think outside the box.

Changing up your ceilings is an innovative way to transform any space. From your kitchen to your bedroom to your guest bathroom, try using these tips and tricks throughout your home to help give your rooms a refresh.

1. Wallpaper

Though wallpaper is almost exclusively used for walls, that doesn’t mean you can’t think more creatively. Use your favorite wallpaper pattern on your ceiling for an unexpected pop of overhead pattern. Whether you choose a subtle seagrass wallpaper to add barely-there texture or opt for a bold and colorful pattern — think paisley or oversized floral — there are infinite ways to incorporate wallpaper into your space. For a less permanent solution, you can even opt to use peel-and-stick wallpaper (it’s perfect for renters, too) that is both easier to install and easier to remove.

2. Paint 

An easy and low-cost way to update your ceiling is to change its color. If you have neutral walls, opt for a bright shade that provides a bold contrast. Dark hues such as charcoal or navy give the space a more moody look — and make the ceiling seem higher — while lighter hues such as pale blue or light green offer a bright and airy alternative perfect for smaller spaces. You can even play with different patterns, such as stripes, or add a stenciled motif for a more unique ceiling look. But the options with paint don’t stop there. Consider changing up the finish you choose to deliver even more contrast. If your walls are matte or semi-gloss, opt for a high-gloss finish on the ceiling to create a more upscale and design-forward look. If your walls are glossier, a matte ceiling delivers a nice counterpoint to give the room a more multidimensional feel.

wooden beam ceiling design

3. Exposed beams and wooden planks

To add some charm to your room, consider finishing your ceiling with wooden beams or wooden planks. These farmhouse- or lakehouse-inspired looks will give your space a hint of rustic charm.

Adding wooden beams to your ceilings can help give your rooms a look that’s equally rustic and refined. They’re especially elegant for vaulted ceilings, to help highlight the height and add some architectural interest. Beams can give rooms with lower ceilings a more cozy feel, creating a cabin-like atmosphere that is perfect for relaxing.

For a more impactful change, wooden planks will give your space a bespoke, custom feel. Choose from different plank widths and different stains to totally customize the overall look, creating a final product that perfectly complements your existing space. Install the planks parallel to one another for a classic, streamlined look, or create a herringbone pattern for a more striking statement piece. You can even mix different finishes to create a more dynamic ceiling design.

4. Tin ceiling tiles

Tin ceiling tiles are an ideal way to infuse your home with a vintage or loft-like feel. Originally popular in the 1880s, these ceiling tiles are a timeless look that is relatively easy to install. Most modern tiles are easily affixed to your existing ceiling using adhesive, making it a low-maintenance and high-impact option. Choose from nearly endless ornate tile designs or more streamlined graphic designs, all in a wide range of finishes. The best part? These tin tiles will infuse your space with a lot of personality, so you can keep the rest of your furniture and finishes simple and streamlined.

crown molding ceiling design

5. Crown molding 

If you aren’t ready for a total ceiling overhaul, crown molding could be the perfect middle ground. This elegant accent will help to draw the eye up, making your rooms seem taller while adding a sophisticated touch that gives them a classic look. From ornate plaster moldings to more versatile synthetic variations, there are almost endless types to choose from. Polyurethane designs are likely the most affordable and durable options, while wood moldings offer the most traditional look and feel.

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