How a Statement Ceiling Can Breathe New Life into Your Space

Bold ceilings—painted, molded, or wallpapered—are a dramatic way to make the most of the fifth wall.

blue living room payphone art on fireplace mantel
Photo: Annie Schlechter

When you’re redecorating your home, your first thought probably isn’t, “what should I do with the ceilings?”—but maybe it should be! For those who love bold patterns and color, ceilings are another opportunity to inject interest and personality into a room, and statement ceilings are on the rise.

Creating a statement ceiling sets the tone for the space, and trying an uncommon trend like this doesn’t just show off your design style; it shows that you’re willing to take risks and think outside the box, too. If you think you’re ready to take the plunge with this head-turning decor decision, read on for some design tips and expert advice to get you started.

What Is a Statement Ceiling?

A statement ceiling is a ceiling that has some kind of decorative treatment to create an interesting look beyond the typical plain, white ceiling. Statement ceilings include painted and papered ceilings, as well as ceilings with other ornamental options, such as moldings, tiles, and beams.

Maximalism has seen an enormous resurgence recently, and a statement ceiling is very much in line with this playful, over-the-top style. After all, if you love the more-is-more look, why pass up the chance to use your ceiling to create a truly unique space?

While all sorts of statement ceilings can elevate your home’s overall aesthetic, wallpaper is currently one of the most popular ways to update the look of your ceiling(s).

“Maximalism with wallpaper has definitely been on the rise in general for the last few years—bold prints or mixing prints within a space to create a statement-making aesthetic,” says Elizabeth Rees, founder of wallpaper brand Chasing Paper. “So, statement ceilings feel like the next step in that trend.”

Dining room with wooden table and pink chairs
Annie Schlecther

How to Pull off a Statement Ceiling in Your Home

One of the biggest fears holding many people back from trying this look is that a statement ceiling will make their rooms feel too dark or top-heavy—but that doesn’t have to be the case at all. In fact, a statement ceiling can actually have the opposite effect. Still, if this is a worry for you but you still want to try the trend, stick to lighter colors and tone-on-tone patterns that draw the eye up but keep things bright and airy.

Since statement ceilings can feature a wide array of designs and mediums, there are many different ways to try this trend.

The easiest way to attempt a statement ceiling is with paint. To create a subtle look, pick paint in a lighter shade of the same color family that you have on your walls. This keeps things cohesive and ensures your room will have a harmonious feel. If you want to make a big splash, choosing a contrasting color will create bold dissonance and make the ceiling a focal point in your room. Just make sure to add decorative elements in the room that reference your new ceiling hue to tie everything together.

cabin with light blue painted ceiling

Better Homes & Gardens

If you’re prepared to take a leap and go all in on a statement ceiling, patterned wallpaper is the way to go. “For a long time, we would see painted ceilings against painted walls, but more and more, we are seeing wallpapered rooms with a coordinating print on the ceiling,” Rees says.

There are some details to consider if you choose to use wallpaper for your statement ceiling.

“Understanding the scale of the print is important,” Rees says. “Ceilings carry prints a bit differently than walls, since they will be viewed from a different perspective.” And, since ceilings will be viewed from farther away, make sure that the print you choose looks good from a distance. Keep in mind that small details might get lost, so save the intricate patterns for another space.

And remember, paint and wallpaper aren’t your only options. If you wanted to inject a little character into a Victorian-style home, you could put up embossed tin tiles (real or faux) to create an elegant historic look, while wood beams could give a farmhouse-style home a casual, cozy update.

Whatever you choose, keep in mind that there is also an element of taste. While a dark ceiling might seem daunting to some, it can be delightfully dramatic to others. So, if you’re a maximalist at heart, throw away convention and go for a bold botanical print on that fifth wall: Your home should reflect who you are, patterns and all.

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