Ceilings: From Basic to Extraordinary

By Lindsey Walta, December 5, 2008 | In Home Design |

Ceilings can be one of two things: something that is forgotten and serves only the purpose of putting a barrier above your head; or it can be something that is awe-inspiring and makes you say, “Wow!” – I’d rather have the latter.

It’s important to know that there are all different types of treatments that you can do to your ceiling during the planning process to create a beautiful effect that will be well worth the effort.

Ceiling Treatment Options:

Vaulted, Arched or Domed Ceilings: are beautiful to create drama in places like master bedrooms, master baths, foyers, dining rooms, etc.

Pitched Ceilings: It is often difficult on slanted ceilings to apply any type of crown treatment. Consider installing beams or applied moldings to the ceiling to add interest. It is possible to create a long decorative corner bracket, which provides a place for crown molding of different widths to butt into for a finished effect. This is necessary since molding installed on a slant will have a longer cut edge at the corner, than molding installed on the straight wall it must join into.

Coffered or Fir-Down Ceilings: As a relatively inexpensive option to add during the development of a project, fir-downs provide dramatic effects, especially when the area is also treated with crown moldings and contrasting finishes. Coffered ceilings are constructed with, typically, multiple, rectilinear, recessed panels.

Tray Ceilings: A ceiling constructed with a step up to another flat ceiling.

Decorative Trim, Crown Moldings, and Ceiling Medallions: Trim is one of the simplest additions in an existing structure and makes a huge impact on the quality of the ceiling. Even low ceilings can be treated with molding or lattice strips and contrasting paint to provide interest and visually increase the ceiling height. For exceptionally high ceilings add crown molding where the wall meets the ceiling and then, approximately one foot below add a small decorative trim. Then, paint a strong color between the two for a dramatic effect. Ceiling medallions add interest, while highlighting decorative light fixtures.

Wood Beamed Ceilings: Wood offers a rich, luxurious feeling to any room and often is used in libraries or casual spaces to add warmth.

Iron Canopy Ceilings: Iron grillwork can be suspended or applied directly to the ceiling to provide interest, shadows, accentuate a chandelier and provide contrast to smooth surfaces. Faux painting iron on a ceiling is also an alternative.

Skylights: Skylights, in general, are often not attractive, unless you are in a solarium and a pattern has been created with a metal and glass structure. Back-lighting decorative glass panels can become interesting and unusual alternatives. Make sure you strategically place your skylights to accentuate the floorplan.

Tin Ceilings: Embossed tin-plated steel is available for suspended ceilings and crown to crown applications. It has excellent paint retention for oil-based paint and cornice treatments are also available. Patterns range from Art Deco to Victorian styles.

Embossed Wall Paper: These patterns often emulate tin ceiling details. They are easy to install and can be painted with ease.

Stucco Textures: Carrying texture up to the ceiling provides an interesting play of light and draws your eye upwards. Combined with faux painting techniques, textures provide richness and interest.

Trompe L’Oeil: Hand-painted techniques to fool the eye, can be any image and style appropriate to your interior space. Mastering the perspective is the key.

Painted Ceilings: Simply painting a ceiling can make a difference. If you use a dark color, consider going one shade lighter on the ceiling to keep the ceiling from looking dark and low. Colors on the ceiling always look darker than on the wall.

Courtesy Dezignare

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