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How can I make my ceiling more interesting?

Firing up the fifth wall

From the starry depictions of ancient Egyptians and divine murals of the Greeks to the intricate storytelling of Renaissance frescos, ceiling design has undergone dramatic changes through the ages. Historically, ceilings served as the crowning glory of interior spaces. However, with the passage of time and ever-evolving trends, enthusiasm for celebrating this surface has waned. Perhaps it was the unsightly popping, swirling, or stippling of ceilings in the 1970s that finally dimmed interest in the ceiling as a worthy focal point. Today, ceilings are often overlooked and undercelebrated.

In this blog, we aim to reignite a love for the humble ceiling and showcase the potential of the fifth wall to elevate any interior scheme. Drawing the eye upward naturally adds a sense of proportion and height to a space. From the ornate cornices and floral-themed ceiling roses of the Georgian and Victorian eras to today’s innovative designs, the ceiling has always been a canvas for adding grandeur and creating a visual feast that commands attention.

Read on to discover our favourite tips for transforming your ceiling game. When it comes to ceiling design, the only way is up!

Ceilings don’t have to be white

There, we said it – It is certainly time to rethink the slick of white paint habitually administered to ceilings the nation over. And here is where we suggest beginning.

Expanding space with colour 

To increase the sense of height and space in a small or narrow room, carry the wall colour up and across the ceiling. By naturally drawing the eye line and extending the view upwards, the space will feel larger and more expansive.

Creating cosy environments

For a cosy environment, use darker shades and ‘colour drench’ all surfaces in the same hue. This technique works particularly well in spaces designed for relaxation, like the bedroom. Alternatively, elevate the drama in an east-facing room by introducing strong, bright hues that come alive with the morning sunlight. As the light shifts towards evening, enhance the feeling of enveloping the space with soft, warm lighting. Choose warm white bulbs and a selection of strategically placed table lamps to wash the room with a gentle glow.

Adding Interest with colour contrasts

Add interest by painting the ceiling a different colour. This could be a neutral for added depth or a complementary shade of equal intensity. In the office of our St Johns Wood project, we used a soft pistachio on the ceiling to bind the calming scheme together. But if subtle isn’t your style, embrace drama with a bold hue and a high gloss finish for an unexpected pop of contrast.

By exploring these creative approaches, you can transform your ceiling into a standout feature that enhances the overall aesthetic of your space.

Light it up

Adorning the ceiling with a grand lighting design as a focal point is an excellent way to bring a touch of glamour and grandeur to a room. For example, in the formal dining room of our Harrogate project, we commissioned a sculptural chandelier featuring antique brass and hand-blown glass.

Spanning a vast three meters in length, this stunning fixture elegantly sits above the expansive banquet table, the softly undulating form provides a welcome contrast to the bold architectural backdrop of this traditional setting, in a harmonious blend of modern artistry and classic elegance.

Whether you’re aiming to create a dramatic focal point or simply wish to elevate the ambience, a well-chosen lighting design can transform your ceiling into a captivating element of your interior design.

Raise the roof

Clever ceiling designs incorporating coffer details and recessed lighting circuits are a great remedy for low ceilings or particularly narrow spaces. Not only enhancing the visual appeal but also improving the functionality of the room.

In the master dressing room of our Carlton Hill project, we implemented a coffered ceiling with recessed LED lighting. This design choice enhanced the feeling of height and expanded the light in the space. The gentle LED lighting washed the room with a soft glow, adding both interest and elegance.

Make a statement

Transform your space with a showstopping ceiling that captures attention and enhances the overall design.

In the elegant sanctuary bathroom of our Carlton Hill project, we drew inspiration from the gentle curves of the walls alongside the oval bath design which led to the creation of an elliptical coffered ceiling above the bath. Inside the elliptical coffer, we embedded LED lighting to cast a gentle wash of light over the fluted edges. This bespoke lighting feature creates a soothing ambience, elevating the space into a unique and tranquil retreat.

Restore unique architectural elements

In today’s world of contemporary décor and furnishings, restoring architectural detailing might seem out of place.

However, the delicate intricacies of original architectural features have an enduring appeal. Whenever possible, we recommend restoring period features rather than replacing them. Cornicing and ceiling roses should be replaced with identical designs, rather than removed, and then incorporated into any new extensions or reconfigured rooms. For fireplaces and radiators, consider replacing them with originals, which can be found in reclamation or salvage yards.

At our Belsize Park project, we worked closely with English Heritage, experts in championing and protecting historic places, to restore the striking ceiling rose and ornate cornicing in the living room of this stucco-fronted duplex apartment in North-West London. The perfect balance between old and new was achieved with the addition of a contemporary modular chandelier by Lindsey Adelman.

For expert advice on any aspect of your interior redesign, or further information on how our team can support your home renovation plans, contact us or call us at 0203 371 1779.

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