Remember the ceiling when decorating a room

By Sarah Wolfe

For The Associated Press

Ceilings are the Rodney Dangerfield of homes. They get no respect.

But there are plenty of easy ways to make over this oft-overlooked area, from the quirky charm of Victorian-era, pressed-tin tiles and beadboard to a simple splash of color.

“Historically, ceilings were highly decorated, but it seems as houses have become more modern they have been forgotten,” says San Francisco-based interior designer Cecilie Starlin. “Once again, though, ceilings are starting to get the attention they deserve.”

Here are some suggestions — from the simple to the complex — to transform your ceilings from drab white squares into the focal point of a room.

Probably the easiest way to bring the eye upward in a room is with a ceiling medallion, a white or colored decorative disk typically mounted around a lighting fixture.

The pieces come in a variety of styles and can be found in any home improvement store. Another bonus? Today’s lighter polyurethane models are much simpler to install and easier on the wallet than those from decades past, says Alex Bandon, online editor of Thisoldhouse.com.

“I personally like that look in the bedroom,” she says. “It’s a really unusual thing, but it makes a simple bedroom much more romantic and exciting.”

If you have tall ceilings or want a cozy feel, extend the wall color onto the ceiling, or go bold and throw a darker or contrasting color up above to make the area appear smaller.

“Color on the ceiling is not forbidden,” Bandon says. It’s “something you can play around with a bit.”

Go with a flat paint on ceilings to minimize light reflection and mask imperfections, says Puji Sherer of the eco-paint manufacturer YOLO Color House in Portland, Ore.

“Since ceilings are not in danger of greasy fingerprints and the regular wear and tear that walls receive, higher gloss finishes are not necessary,” he says.

For a classic New England cottage look, you can’t beat the charm of wood paneling such as beadboard on the ceiling.

Amy Matthews, a contractor and host of the DIY Network’s “Sweat Equity,” prefers the ease of gluing and nailing larger beadboard sheet panels to the ceiling rather than tacking up individual tongue-and-groove pieces.


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