Interior Design Dilemma: Look up! What to do about your Ceilings

Have you ever considered that ceilings take up as much space in a room as floors?  While we spend much time, energy, and money on finding just the right material for our floors, we pay very little attention to our ceilings.  I am not sure why this is, but I am a designer who does the opposite!  I consider ceilings a valuable design element of the room. In fact, without treating the ceiling, I feel that a room often looks incomplete.

Here are some ceiling solutions that I have had great success with:

Painting the ceiling anything but ceiling white. This solution is best for anyone out there who just cannot fathom adding too much drama to a ceiling.  I also prescribe this treatment when a room is calm and simple.  Instead of using ceiling white, I simply select a color that is in keeping with the wall and trim color of the room.  For example, if the trim is some sort of cream, then I will select a color a shade or two lighter for the ceiling.  Notice that I did not say “dilute the paint by half-strength”.  While I have done this in the past (and many still do), I do not think it produces the purest and best colors.  The manipulated colors often turn out far different than what you think they might.

SherrillCanet- painted ceiling

A lovely yellow ceiling that compliments the decor of this Sherrill Canet room.

Turquoise room with white ceiling

Here is another example of a ceiling idea… Paint the ceiling color the same shade as the trim. This technique is a fabulous solution for “raising” the look of lower ceilings.

Wallpaper the ceiling. This effect is very dramatic.  I recently papered each coffer in a coffered ceiling, and it is truly fabulous!  Grasscloth on a ceiling is absolutely amazing!  Just make sure that when selecting a paper for a ceiling that the paper’s “repeat” is conducive to a continual pattern and does not have directional endings.  In other words, the direction will stop and often end up looking odd.  I love a stripe on a ceiling. It is directional, but it doesn’t have “endings”, which allows the stripe to do its job of adding interest.

suzanne kasler foyer

Here is a room designed by Suzanne Kasler, in which she wallpapers the ceiling with a lovely coral paper.

coffered ceiling

This photo shows an example of a coffered ceiling with wallpaper.

Paint a canvas and add it to the ceiling like wallpaper. So lovely! However, it takes a skilled eye and the help of an artist to create the effect.  Do not attempt this without a professional!  The look is beyond magnificent!

Here is an example of a beautiful hand-painted ceiling.

Select a lovely shade for the ceiling that is used as an accent in a room. This treatment breathes new life into a room.  It is “fun” and “wow” all at the same time!

Amanda Nisbet- painted ceiling

Amanda Nisbet uses a bright purple to accent the ceiling in this space.

ceiling - doesn't cost the earth

The contrast of the walls and ceiling in this photo have a fabulously dramatic effect. Photo from Doesn’t Cost the Earth.

Choose blue! Blue is the color of the sky and looks fabulous in any setting.

In nearby Charleston, South Carolina, it is not unusual to find front porch ceilings painted a color often referred to here in the south as “haint blue.” Many of the superstitious once believed that doing so would prevent the haints, or restless ghosts and bad spirits, from entering into their home. Why? Well, silly, don’t you know that haints can’t cross water?! The blue paint would clearly trick the haints into thinking there was water on the ceiling, which of course, would thwart any thoughts of them becoming unwelcome guests in the home. Um, naturally!

Okay, okay, although I am certainly not a superstitious kind of person, I STILL absolutely love blue on ceilings!

ceiling picture veranda

What a lovely shade of blue on this living room ceiling. Photo from Veranda.

Photo from Traditional Home.

Photo from Traditional Home.

Photo from Traditional Home.

Photo from Traditional Home.


If you need help dressing up your ceilings, please contact me for an online or in-home consultation a

Now, go have an” It’s So Fabulous!” Day!

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Stylish, sophisticated and dramatic, Kimberly Grigg brings her unique talents to client’s homes across the country and to her retail boutique, Knotting Hill Interiors. An award winning retail boutique and an award winning full service design firm, Knotting Hill offers luxury interior design, renovation and remodeling services, custom design, childrens rooms and nurseries and accessorizing. The retail boutique sells fabric, home furnishings, retail design, lamps, accessories, art, upscale furniture consignment, gifts, fashion and jewelry. Voted “Best on the Beach” in both retail and design, our customers say that this place and this process is truly “enchanted”! Knotting Hill Interiors is based in Myrtle Beach South Carolina and is located at 7751 North Kings Hwy.