You've lavished attention on your walls, stockpiling so many paint samples you could open your own store. And you debated limestone vs. linoleum for months. Yet there sits the ceiling, the neglected middle child of decor, overlooked and underappreciated. Here are five fashionable ideas to lend your ceiling a personality and a little much-needed love.
Unless you're in the great outdoors, you don't fall asleep gazing up at the heavens and you won't ever see your name spelled out in the stars. One lucky boy, however, dozes off to just that every night, thanks to the artistry of Zolten Wood Design in Cleveland. "Ceiling murals just make things so open and airy," says Linda Zolten Wood, creator of everything from clusters of clouds set against a serene blue sky to hues of violet and burnt orange mimicking twilight. Prices range from $500 to $2,000, depending on room size.
Sure, your chandelier looks great. But its brilliance can be doubled when paired with a ceiling medallion. "It enhances and balances out the fixture and adds detail to the ceiling," says Kitty Gildner of KG Design Accessories in Rocky River. Handy homeowners can install one themselves, removing the fixture and applying the medallion with caulking and countersinking nails. Instead of a pricey carved-wood piece, Gildner suggests a prefabricated medallion from Home Depot ($7 to $50, depending on size).
Resembling an overturned tray with its raised center and angled, bordering chamfer, tray ceilings provide height while subtly enhancing a room's mood. Whether traditionally placed in a dining area or set with recessed lighting in the bedroom for a romantic touch, tray ceilings "really add drama to a room," says Pam Waysack, marketing director for Kingdom Development in Solon. While creating a tray ceiling can be cost prohibitive in an existing home, Waysack says the average treatment costs about $650 when added to a new home during the blueprint stage.
The standard stark white ceiling has been the kiss of death for the mood of many homes. But simply painting it a darker shade than the walls lends atmosphere to any surrounding, says Bettyann Helms, past president of the Ohio North Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers. "Clients are always surprised when I suggest it," she says. "They just assume you should paint the ceiling white." Having a painter darken your dining-room ceiling (which will cost about $150 to $200) also makes the area appear more spacious, with the deeper shade creating "an illusion of lifting," according to Helms.
The cross beams and recessed waffle pattern of a coffered ceiling offer an interesting alternative to flat ceilings. From wood to plaster construction, to various designs and shapes, coffering is versatile enough to oblige both your imagination and your wallet, says David Payne of Payne and Payne Builders Inc. in Chardon. He warns, though, that while a basic coffering treatment can start at $300 (including framing, labor and materials), elaborate detailing can quickly elevate the price, as it did in one $1,100 project that included seven-piece crown molding, 2-foot coffering and recessed rope lighting in the master bathroom.