Decorating a Room? Don’t Forget the Ceiling.

When you’re decorating a room, it’s easy to obsess over what’s covering the floor and the walls. But what about the ceiling?

It rarely gets much attention — beyond a coat of flat, white paint. And that’s a missed opportunity.

“To leave the ceiling behind — when you’ve resolved the other surfaces in a room — seems not only unfortunate, but also throws off the balance,” said the New York designer Steven Gambrel. “If I’ve got texture on the walls or material on the floor that has character, I’m trying to give that top surface the same level of patina — or massive contrast.”

When Mr. Gambrel wants a statement ceiling, he sometimes gives it a mirror-like finish of high-gloss paint. “That, of course, brings in a ton of light, meaning that light begins to bounce across the ceiling,” he said. “It adds a little polish.”

“Gold leaf is just a beautiful way to do a ceiling,” she said. “It reflects light, but it’s so soft. It’s not in your face or too glam.”

“We could have just painted it white, and it would have been so boring,” she said. “This is another layer that makes the room so interesting.”

Sometimes a room calls for something a bit more understated. Then the best approach to take may be paneling a ceiling in wood, which adds visual interest without stealing the show.

Mr. Wright has designed many types of paneled wood ceilings, both painted and unfinished. For a cozy library in Connecticut, he covered the ceiling with wide boards painted a deep purple. “They’re just wood boards, butt-jointed and painted,” he said. “It creates a striped pattern similar to the wood floor.”

For the lounge of a house in Short Hills, N.J., where the goal was to make the room light and bright, he added V-groove paneling to the ceiling and painted it glossy white, creating a more pronounced pattern that still has plenty of reflectivity.

If the wood won’t be painted, the variety and character of the raw material makes a big difference.

For a primary suite in the barnlike addition to one house, Mr. Wright chose barn board with knots, to create rustic-looking ceilings. But when he was designing a modern house in Atlantic Beach, N.Y., he chose clear cedar for a more refined look.

“We wanted a warm, soft feeling,” he said, that maintained the home’s sense of elegance. “If every surface had just been white, I think it would have been soulless.”

You don’t have to cover the entire ceiling with wood to give it personality. Another option is to use molding in wood or plaster to add architectural detail. Crown molding that runs around the edge of the ceiling is the most common choice, but there are other options, as well.

When Mr. Jenkins designed a new house in Ann Arbor, Mich., he used thin MDF molding to create shapes above the open living-and-dining area, defining the seating areas and setting off the light fixtures. “I designed this geometric trim on the ceiling,” he said. “But it’s all flat stock and very inexpensive.”

Sahred From Source link Real Estate

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