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The ceiling may be treated as a 'fifth wall' in a room design

May 17, 2013

Most homeowners concentrate their decorating efforts between the ceiling and hardwood floors like Anderson's Haversham collection. But while floors gets attention for beautiful woods, decorative tiles and stylish rugs, the ceiling is often overlooked.

Instead, home decorators should look to their homes' ceilings as "fifth walls," which are part of the color scheme used for its companion walls and room design. Including the ceiling by choosing a coordinating color or continuing a motif used elsewhere in the room will give a room a finished look that doesn't have to end at ground level.

"When designing spaces, think of the entire room three-dimensionally. If left untreated or ignored, then the emphasis will be on the ceiling … it will become the big white elephant," Nashville interior designer Beth Haley told HGTV. "[But] the ceiling should be the icing on the cake."

Connect wall and ceiling color
Generally, a bright white ceiling works well in a room with modern architecture or when used to match white doors and window trims. But in other cases, many interior designers agree that brightness draws attention to the ceiling in a way that doesn't meld naturally with the rest of the room.

Continuing the wall color onto the ceiling is especially effective where there is no crown molding installed to act as a transition, reports

Home design consultant Cindy Lee Bergersen told the website that painting the walls and ceiling the same color eliminates the distraction of a color shift. The result is that the walls will seem higher in what she calls "a seamless room without borders."

A simple stencil design on the ceiling and walls where they meet is another way to bring the two together.

Tie in windows
Another ceiling-related decor element are the windows closest to it, particularly in cathedral-style rooms. In such cases, homeowners may want to add some architectural interest, and no window treatment is better for that than wood cornices and valances, which may match the wood floors beneath them.

They can be paired with shades and a variety of curtain styles and painted to complement these window treatments.

In a room where there are high walls with several windows with varying dimensions, Bergerson suggests that custom drapery can correct this imbalance by making the drapery panel lengths consistent. Using the same fabric on windows that are too small or inconveniently located also works to tie window treatments together in a unified look.