Don't forget to include the ceiling in your decorating plans.

Don't forget the ceiling when you make your decorating plans. After all, it's probably the largest chunk of uninterrupted square footage in the room. This great area of decorative potential is so often white or some version of pale beige, and there's nothing really wrong with that, except it doesn't do much to contribute to a decorating scheme.

You could paint it something other than white, if that's an option for you. The general guidelines for color over your head are:

  • If you want to visually lower the area, paint it a darker color than the walls;
  • You can change the perceived height of the walls by painting the top foot or so of the wall a different color and carrying this color on to and across the ceiling. The walls will seem shorter and the ceiling lower, if the color used is darker or brighter. Make the walls the darker hue and the ceiling is visually "pushed up" and raised.
  • If you paint all the surfaces the same color, depending on whether the color is dark or bright or pale, the ceiling becomes part of the background of the room. Other items in the room such as the furniture or accessories will draw the eye and be more visually apparent.

Other choices include decorative panels which are suspended from a grid about 6 inches below the existing surface. Or you can opt for wood-look planks or tiles in many styles and patterns. For something a bit different, consider some other products manufacturers have come up with.

For instance, the American Tin Ceiling Company makes tin plated steel panels that look like pressed tin tiles and are remarkably affordable for the quality. They offer an interlocking installation system that snaps into place and doesn't require plywood, furring or caulking. This is a perfect look if you have a Victorian or historic era home and is quite striking as an accent in a contemporary room.

A similar look is available from Home Solutions, a North Carolina-based company that holds U.S. rights to a British product that simulates the look of pressed or embossed tin tiles.

Their product, called Creative Ceilings, is made of lightweight polystyrene and is applied with a special adhesive. Creative Ceilings can be installed in a suspended grid or over popcorn ceilings. These tile squares come in 80 different patterns with several coloring choices. You can also choose to paint the installed surface.

You want more options? You could wallpaper to match or contrast with the walls. You could investigate some of the architectural medallions, domes and moldings available in plaster, urethane, wood or fiberglass.

The idea here is to do something with that large expanse of room above your head. Don't let a decorative opportunity so important go to waste.

For some additional information, check these pages:

Ceiling Fans | Planning It | Lighting | Popcorn Ceilings