Dezignare Interior Design Collective Vol. 2.9

With A Ceiling The Sky is the Limit


Ceilings comprise approximately one-sixth of all interior space, and yet often are neglected in the majority of interiors. From quiet dining areas to more public spaces they can provide acoustic value, effectively help to define functions between various spaces and when properly addressed become an integral part of a room. Ceilings in public spaces are often given more attention than residential areas, perhaps it is because the volume of space has such a large an effect on the overall experience.

Currently the most common ceiling treatment used in residential applications is the textured "popcorn" effect. The use of this texture has become a standard over the past 40 years, often because it is less expensive and masks imperfections. In commercial spaces, acoustical ceiling tiles are commonly used. These have a slightly more redeeming value since they offer some sound control properties and create a grid pattern on the ceiling. Neither choice adds much ambiance to a room.

Ranging from simple paint applications to elaborate architectural embellishments, the sky is the limit when choosing a ceiling treatment. Whether you are in an existing structure or considering building new, there are many ceiling options to consider that will enhance the experience of all who enter the space.


Vaulted, Arched or Domed Ceilings

These options, of course, require advanced planning during the architectural development of your space, but they are well worth the effort and provide dramatic results.

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 and pizzazz. 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 Ceiling: A ceiling constructed with, typically, multiple, rectilinear, recessed panels.

Tray ceiling: A ceiling constructed with the sides angling at approximately 45% or curving 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 and interesting relief.

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 an alternative too.


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 floor plan.

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 Wallpaper

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 and technique is the key.

Painted Ceilings

Simply painting a ceiling can make a difference. Metallic paints are the rage and applying several layers of color with various brush techniques will make any ceiling come alive.

All Images Courtesy of JEIDesign, Inc,
2309 Bee Cave Rd, Austin TX 78746
Tel: Fax:

- Dezignaré

"With a little planning, a ceiling can become another vista for the eye
and accentuate the investment on the other five surfaces.
It really takes very little to give your ceiling personality."

Dezignaré Interior Design Collective, Inc.

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