One of the core tenets of interior design is the concept of emphasis, or the act of creating visual interest using a focal point within a room. You see this all the time, even if you don’t realize it – the beautifully tiled fireplace at the center of a living room, the oversized piece of art hung above a dining room credenza, or the charming accent wallpaper in your kiddo’s nursery. All of these design details are leaning into the principle of emphasis. But have you ever considered that the focal point of a room might not be on the walls, or even the floor?
Look up! Statement ceilings are a trend that seems to be sticking around, and for good reason. Using the ceiling as focal point adds unique character to a home and can help you space feel more expansive, drawing your eye upward and around the room. (Just notice how in the photo above, your eye likely lands on the fireplace and then is naturally drawn up to the stunning slatted ceiling.) A statement ceiling can be bold or neutral, traditional or contemporary – it all depends on the style of your home and what you’re hoping to achieve. Read on for some of our favorite ways to make your ceilings pop!
Apply Wood Paneling
Wood paneling need not be reserved for only farmhouse-style homes… just look at the different vibes in the photos above. Wood is a versatile material that can work within almost any style, depending on the species, finish, and design details – like the use of beams, angle of the ceiling, and accent lighting. A well-designed wood ceiling can fit into nearly any home, from a rustic mountain cabin to a mid-century modern rambler. We especially love the way wood adds texture and warmth to a space, bringing a little bit of the outdoors in. Bonus points: it’s also a sustainable material to consider for your renovation!
Create a Coffered Ceiling
A coffered ceiling is made through the use of intersecting beams, creating the look of a paneled, recessed ceiling. Though simple and symmetrical, the coffered ceiling adds a bit of architectural flair that can totally transform the feel of a room. The look is often associated with more formal and traditional design styles, but it can also work well in a modern home. With more streamlined millwork and less intricately detailed molding, a coffered ceiling can create a soothing sense of balance in a more contemporary space. One caveat: coffered ceilings are best installed in rooms with ample ceiling height, as you’ll lose a little bit of headspace with the dropped beams. What you lose in inches, though, you gain in aesthetics – a coffered ceiling will help your space feel more open and spacious.
Add Wall Covering or Paint
If you’re feeling adventurous, covering your ceiling in a patterned wallpaper or a contrasting paint color can really bring the wow factor! We love wall covering on the ceilings in a small space like a powder room, where you can have a little extra fun with the design. Or in the case of the wine cellar shown above, carrying paint up from walls onto the ceiling can create a seamless look. Keep in mind that a darker ceiling color will make the room feel smaller and cozier, whereas painting the ceiling lighter than your walls can help open up the space. And if you plan to use a patterned wallpaper on your ceiling, keep things simple on the walls and floors – too much visual interest can make a space feel chaotic, and you’ll lose the emphasis on your primary focal point (the ceiling!).
Let the Light In
One of our favorite ways to accent a ceiling is to add skylights. This design solution works double duty, creating a beautiful ceiling detail that attracts the eye, while also bringing more natural light into your space. Even better, all that extra sunlight will help you save on energy usage and potentially even increase the value of your home. A no-brainer statement ceiling if you live in a single-story home!