So I talked recently about painting the ceiling of a room. (A pain in the neck literally!)

In the course of looking for pictures, I ran across a collection of ceiling pictures on a post at When Regarding Ruffles (note I didn’t include them over here because I seriously don’t think she’s using them legally and I don’t want to be violating copyrights as well). It got me thinking about all the different ways you can decorate the ceiling, so here are eight I came up with just for you.

Solid Paint

Yawn. I know. But even just giving the ceiling a lick of paint is a step farther than most people take it. Which makes it an unexpected touch no matter how simple you keep it. A dark color will bring the ceiling down and make the room feel cosier. A light color will send it up visually and make the room feel bigger.


Given how I feel about wallpaper and the work involved in doing anything on the ceiling, I can’t believe I’m even suggesting this. But, it is a good way to get a pattern on the ceiling. I’d actually say it’s probably easier to hang the wallpaper shown in the picture below than to take the time to actually paint all those flowers around the edges.

You’ll definitely need a smooth (and clean!) surface to try this out. And enough know-how to get the light fixture off to get the paper underneath the edges.

Photo Credit: erin williamson on flickr. CC 2.0


This is a big trend at the moment. I see them everywhere! You’re going to need boo-coos of tape and a ton of patience to make it happen. (Unless you do it with wallpaper, I suppose … .)

High contrast colors like the yellow and white in the picture can be quite dramatic and draw the eye immediately. A subtler effect can be nice, but if you’re going to all the work to do this, you might want to stick with something that stands out.

A great idea for a theme where stripes make sense as one of the elements. A red and white circus tent, for example. You wouldn’t have to worry about bringing the stripes down the walls (sides of the tent) or even drawing them out from the center. Just the striping itself is enough to evoke the idea.

Photo Credit: ooh_food on flickr. CC 2.0


Well, I say wood, but you could just call this “attach something”, I suppose. I’ve seen quite a few pictures where large beams of wood have been added to create a rustic look, but also small strips of batting to make a boxed 3D style.

The big idea here is dimension more than texture or color. Think about all the other things you could attach to the ceiling to add dimension – tin tiles, wooden rosettes, round disks. Just keep them light so they are easy to affix and won’t hurt anything if they come off.


Hey – we’re on to something very obvious now. I’ve done a few of these in my time, painted the ceiling a sky blue color then added swirls of clouds. The big choices here are how dark a sky to do and what style of clouds.

You can do a wash of white – swirling watered down white paint around in a section – to create wispy clouds or paint in a solid bubble-style cloud that looks a bit more cartoony. Or get some cloud decals to put on once you’ve done the initial paint job.

Night Sky

Is it cheating to count the sky twice? Ha! Another easy option, just a night version. You’re looking for a darker blue in this case or even a gray if you prefer. The stars could be painted or affixed; I’ve had to scrape off a few of those stick-on glow-in-the-dark ones before. Go with a glittery five-point star stenciled on like in the picture below or tiny dots done in clusters or constellations.

Photo Credit: Marie Richie on flickr. CC 2.0

Tree Foliage

When you think about other things we naturally see overhead, tree branches definitely come to mind. You can think of the foliage as green clouds in a way because they can be just that easy to paint. In fact, you can paint a green space, then paint some individually defined leaves on top of the solid green to make it clear it’s leaves and not a tornado sky.


Wasn’t entirely sure just what to call this, actually. But I absolutely love the ceiling in the pictures below. It’s kind of a mix between solid and stripes in that it requires some of the same kind of work, but you can make it whatever you like.

In the case of this office space, there is some rhyme and reason to the design, although it doesn’t play any role in designating area use. You could use it that way, though, painting one color over the bed, another over the reading area, another over a play area. Basically, it’s just a great way to have some fun with that big blank space overhead.

Photo Credits: cattoo on flickr. CC 2.0

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