Don't Forget the Fifth Wall! Ceiling Design Ideas to Inspire

Every room has one, so why not dress it up?
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Do me a favor and look up at your ceiling. Thanks. Now let me politely ask, “Why the hell did you just leave your drywall ceiling blank but paint your drywalled walls a color?" No, I’m not yelling; I just don’t really understand. White drywall ceilings are fantastic under very specific circumstances: A: They’re part of an all-white-aesthetic. B: The ceilings are coffered or clad with beadboard or tongue-and-groove wood painted white. C: You’re broke and can’t afford another gallon of $26 paint.

Wood Plank Ceiling After

Wood Plank Ceiling After

Photo by: Marian Parsons

Marian Parsons

Sure, this is totally subjective. However, as someone who gets paid to improve people’s homes, I can attest firsthand that it’s an easy way to give a room new identity, play up its assets or tone down its shortcomings. Here are a few ceiling design ideas for different DIY skill sets. Hey, you spend hours picking paint colors, taping off trim, then rolling eggshell enamel on your walls; it’s only fair you pay some attention to their upstairs neighbor. Right?

Ceiling Tiles  

Lantern Pendants Light Hanging From Tin-Tiled Ceiling

Lantern Pendants Light Hanging From Tin-Tiled Ceiling

Thick white architectural beams are accented with silver, patterned tin tiles in this white kitchen. Over the kitchen island, large glass lantern pendants form the perfect balance between traditional and transitional.

Photo by: Nar Fine Carpentry, Inc. ©PhotographerLink

Nar Fine Carpentry, Inc., PhotographerLink

Armstrong Residential Ceilings offers a huge assortment of ceiling tiles for spaces with unfortunate but necessary drop-ceilings. In basements, or as I like to call them, “terrace levels,” drop-ceilings allow instant access to leaky pipes or damaged wiring. Sure, the grids can be torn out, and drywall can go up; however, that’s a major headache. And if you can’t do it yourself, it’s also a major cost. Simply swap out unsightly foam tiles for raised panel tiles which can be left in their matte white finish to help bounce light around, or they can be customized with paint. This is a great project for people with beginner DIY skills. Often, the only tool needed is a utility knife to cut the end pieces to size. Once installed, simply spray the ceiling and walls in the same shade for a major improvement.  

Beadboard

Beadboard Ceiling 02:10

An uneven plaster ceiling is lowered slightly and covered with beadboard.

Beadboard is an affordable way to go directly over unsightly popcorn or stippled ceilings. You can add a layer of architectural interest to boring, new construction, drywall ceilings with Armstrong Residential Ceilings “WoodHaven Beadboard." What’s so great about using this product is that it’s engineered specifically for ceilings, and it comes in thin planks which are much easier to install than basic beadboard, which comes in 8X4 sheets. Since this involves cuts with a chopsaw, I’d recommend this ceiling style for homeowners with medium DIY skills.

Wooden Planks

Green and Brown Rustic Bedroom With Wood Beam Ceiling

Green and Brown Rustic Bedroom With Wood Beam Ceiling

An elegant wood beam ceiling sets the rustic tone in this green and brown bedroom. A fun twist on the bedside lamp? Graceful metal chandeliers!

Photo by: Eric

Eric

Woodhaven plank systems are my go-to products for complete ceiling overhauls. You’ll need advanced DIY skills to complete them yourself: be able to make cuts with a chop saw, measure meticulously for proper line-up, and attach furring strips to the studs with a nail gun. Once installed, they give the look of a custom, stained wood ceiling.  

Painted Stripes  

Dramatic Striped Ceiling

Dramatic Striped Ceiling

The ceiling is a room's fifth wall. Give this often-overlooked area a big dose of personality with an easier-than-it-looks graphic paint treatment.

Here’s a painted ceiling project for medium-skilled DIYers with steady hands. Add graphic impact to boring, white drywall with a taped-off, painted pattern. In this neutral boy’s room, I revved up the energy with a few bursts of pea green and brown. To create perfect stripes, I simply measured, taped off 14-inch alternating stripes, and then painted them using a roller. This cost less than $100 and took a weekend. Small price to pay to escape the hell of a neglected drywall ceiling, don’t you think?  

More Stylish Ceiling Ideas

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Sophisticated Coffered Ceiling

Make a statement with a grand coffered ceiling. This design incorporates recessed lighting within the grid for an elegant ambiance. Photo courtesy of CEDIA

Photo By: HOWARD TUCKER 216-696-4616

Bold Use of Color

For a midcentury modern style, don't be afraid to play with color. A cheerful burst of yellow brightens this living room design and white beams appropriately break up the bold hue.

Floor-to-Ceiling Design

Instead of using wood on the floor, this master bedroom flips the design. When applying wood to your ceiling consider a unique pattern to add interest.

Arched Approach

Consider an arched ceiling to create architectural appeal. Black detail is a stylish solution that adds distinction and complexity. Photo courtesy of Design Tec

Panels and Beams

If you can't decide on paneling or beams for your ceiling then use them both. This ceiling design adds rustic texture and welcoming warmth to a formal family room. Keep in mind that darker ceilings work better in larger rooms.

Fifth-Wall Patterns

An easy way to transform the look of a room is to apply fun patterns on your ceiling. This bathroom uses yellow to break up the tile design and ceiling pattern.

Italian-Inspired Design

This intimate space highlights a low, cove-vaulted brick ceiling, while celebrating luxury living. Inspired by the Tuscan countryside, Designer Troy Beasley uses rich textures and dramatic wrought iron to deliver natural warmth in the heart of this home.

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