6 Ways to Perk Up Your Ceiling

Reinvent your fifth wall with one of these do-it-yourself ceiling makeovers and transform the whole look and feel of a space.


Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Designer Brian Patrick Flynn adds wow factor to the walls and ceiling with a bold, purple wallpaper.

By: Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien
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It's easy to focus simply on what's straight in front of you and forget to look up. So when you're decorating your home, remember there are five walls in a room. Sure, you can leave every ceiling painted plain-Jane white. But imagine the possibilities if you add color, pattern, texture or dimension to your ceiling. Treat the fifth wall like a blank canvas, and you can really create a wow factor in a room's design. As a bonus, a room will look bigger when you draw attention up.

Check out these six dramatic ceiling makeovers and start noticing the pretty view above — like remembering to look up at the starry night sky.

Be Playful With Wallpaper

Wallpaper is going through a renaissance. Patterns with a fresh, modern feel have exploded on the decorating scene. A cheerful wallpaper design brings personality and color to a serene space, like a home office. The fifth wall can act as an accent wall in a room.



Photography by Charlotte Jenks Lewis

Wallpaper Buying Tips

Removable wallpaper tiles are certainly a modern invention — just ask any homeowner who's spent hours peeling off dated wallpaper from the '50s. There are three general types of wallpaper — non-pasted paper, pre-pasted paper and paste-the-wall paper.

  • Non-pasted paper is easy to find but it requires more work. Before you hang the wallpaper, you must brush each strip of paper with wallpaper paste, let it sit for a few minutes and then apply to the wall.
  • Pre-pasted wallpaper is easy to apply and remove. The paper is backed with a paste that’s activated by water.
  • Paste-the-wall wallpaper is a DIY-friendly choice. Use a brush or paint roller to paste the wall. This type of wallpaper is less mess and a quicker application.

How to Wallpaper a Ceiling

Clear Skies Above Head

Materials List

Get Started: Prep, Plan and Apply

Flatten Your Tiles

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Measure and Plan

Mount the Tiles

Smooth the Seams

Add Personality With a Pattern

Stenciling a ceiling with an intricate pattern is an affordable way to add a real wow factor to a room. If you're using an intricate stencil, enlist a friend as a second set of hands (one person paints each color) to make it go faster.

If you want to make your own stencil design, use contact paper from your local hardware store. Contact paper is a great material for stencil-making because it has a tacky adhesive side that will stick to the ceiling, but can be removed without leaving a residue. Another option is Mylar, a sturdy, transparent polyester film you can find at art supply stores. If you're using Mylar, you'll need a spray adhesive to stick the stencil to the wall. Mylar stencils have the advantage of being reusable over and over again.



Photography by Charlotte Jenks Lewis

Stencil a Fun Pattern on Your Ceiling

The Scoop on Stenciling

Oriental Flair

Materials List

Get Started: Prep, Stick and Paint

Prepare the Surface

Stick Up the Stencil

Paint the Edges

Fill In With Paint

Tape, Paint, Repeat

Bag Your Roller

Stick Polka Dots Up Top

Polka dots will never go out of style, and it seems neither will our love affair for metallics. This budget-friendly ceiling makeover is the perfect pick-me-up for a tranquil room. The small-scale polka dots look grownup and chic, since large-scale polka dots can appear more kid-appropriate. By using copper contact paper, the polka dots translate to rose gold dots on the ceiling. This ceiling makeover idea is great for renters, as contact paper is easy to remove.



Photography by Charlotte Jenks Lewis

Add Playful Polka Dots on Your Ceiling

Personalize Your Polka Dots

Materials List

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Get Started: Cut, Measure and Apply

Map Out the Polka Dots

Apply Polka Dots

Paint an Eye-Catching Focal Point

The fifth wall can be the perfect place for a splash of color. Feeling uneasy about painting an entire room in your favorite green? Leave your walls neutral as a flexible backdrop. Then, play with vivid pops of color in your furnishings, accessories and ceiling. Think of it this way: You just have one wall to paint. And a painted ceiling feels less expected than an accent wall, which is often based around the location of a fireplace or flat-screen TV. Like an accent wall, a painted ceiling adds personality to the space.



Photo by: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Photography by Charlotte Jenks Lewis

Paint a Bold Color on Your Ceiling

Go Green

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Materials List

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Get Started: Clean, Tape and Paint

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Trim It Out

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Brush the Edges

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Use the W Technique

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Try Out Stripes

The rules for fashion apply in the home, too: Stripes can make a space appear wider or taller (depending on the direction of your stripes). And in a narrow kitchen, fooling the eye to think the space looks wider is a great solution. Stripes on the ceiling also draw attention away from less-than-stellar cabinets, counters or appliances, if you're not ready to renovate for a while. Stripes are one of those classic patterns that couples can agree on, too.

To make perfect stripes running across your ceiling, try this painting tip we learned from HGTV Star contestant Anne Rue. Tape off your lines using painter's tape. Over the blue tape, rub a dab of caulk along the edge, which fills any gaps (especially with an uneven textured ceiling.) Then you're ready to paint your stripes.



Photography by Charlotte Jenks Lewis

Paint Stripes on Your Ceiling

Simple Stripe Solution

Materials List

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-lewis

Get Started: Prep, Plan and Paint

Tape the Trim

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Plan the Stripes

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-lewis

Measure the Ceiling

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-lewis

Tape It

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-lewis

Cut In With Paint

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Paint It

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Finish Up

Hang Floral Fabric

Think out of the box if you want to add drama to the bedroom — and this DIY canopy is cheaper than getting a four-poster bed. You can create a beautiful fabric canopy that feels modern, romantic and cozy. It's easier than making your own headboard, too. The drapey look of a fabric canopy adds dimension, and the texture feels charming and bohemian. Don’t be afraid to go big and choose a spectacular fabric with scale and drama.



Photography by Charlotte Jenks Lewis

Hang Floral Fabric on Your Ceiling

Bright and Cheerful

Materials List

Measure the Fabric

Sew the Edges

Add Grommets at the Corners

Hang It

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