Don’t Forget Your Fifth Wall

To many homeowners, a ceiling is just a ceiling – a large, flat, boring, surface that all too often is ignored, receiving nothing more than a coat of flat, white paint. However, a ceiling, sometimes called “The Fifth Wall” is an opportunity to create a unique and dramatic element in your home.

As part of a designing a remodeling project, keep in mind that the architectural details of a ceiling make their way into our consciousness when we take in the view of an entire room. Pattern, color, and texture on the ceiling can transform the look and feel of a room.

Below are four stylistic details that add architectural interest and pull the entire room together: crown molding, ceiling paint color, medallions and other material coverings.

Crown Molding
Crown molding can be installed at the top of the wall, where it meets the ceiling. In addition, it can be installed in a pattern to create faux beams and a more formal feeling to a vaulted ceiling, as in the photo above. As with other trim items, the choice of profile and size are almost unlimited.

Paint Color
For years, white has been considered not only the safest but also the best choice for ceilings. Although this may be the perfect solution, you may be missing the opportunity to add excitement and drama to a room. According to Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, a white ceiling also offsets intense wall color; boldly colored walls look crisp and sharp, and the ceiling feels higher. If the walls are pale and therefore space-expanding, a white ceiling opens the space even more.

Benjamin Moore offers examples of how ceiling color can enhance the look of your room. To warm up a large room, with high ceilings, which can often feel impersonal or unbalanced when furnishings and accessories visually occupy the bottom half of a room, choosing a deeper color such as the rich cocoa in a soft sheen, such as eggshell or pearl, will cozy up and balance the space.

Ceiling Medallions
A distinctive and elegant chandelier provides a beautiful focal point in a dining room. And, installing the chandelier with a ceiling medallion can transform a plain ceiling into an architectural marvel.

Medallions come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and designs to coordinate with any decorating scheme. For more dramatic contrast, consider painting the medallion in a color that contrasts with the ceiling color.

And, hand-painted ceiling medallions can add a whimsical or elegant feel to a child’s bedroom. Artist, Marie Ricci, offers a collection of hand-cast medallions in lightweight resin that are perfect for wall décor as well. Style At Home Magazine, referred to Marie Ricci’s ceiling medallions as, “Jewelry for the Fifth Wall”.

Other Materials
Color need not come only from paint. Houzz offers examples of various materials used on the ceiling to create interest.

Domiteaux + Baggett Architects used 4×8 sheets of birch-veneered plywood on the ceiling for a dramatic effect.

Gardner Mohr Architect incorporated bamboo flooring as the kitchen ceiling. Not only did they pair their design goals with environmentally-sound choices, the ceiling ties in with the bamboo baseboards, kitchen countertop and flooring.

Kariouk Associates designed this entryway/kitchen with a combination of copper and zinc printing plates and rusted metal plates

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