Interior Design Trends 2011: Painting, Molding, and Treating Ceilings as the Fifth Wall

When it comes to home interior design, ceilings are finally getting the treatments they deserve


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When it comes to top interior design trends of 2011, things are looking up: Ceilings — now referred to as the fifth wall — are the latest focus for creating a complete, pulled-together look for homes. No longer ignored or left as a blank white canvas, ceilings are being incorporated in room design in a number of ways. Paint (in a variety of shades, patterns, and textures), crown moldings, medallions, tin tiles, even domes are all being used on ceilings as the finishing touch in a well-designed space. Although the concept isn’t exactly new — take Italy’s Sistine Chapel, for one dramatic example — the right look can add to the feeling of warmth, airiness, and overall character of a room.

“It’s been a longstanding design philosophy of mine to never leave a wall or ceiling white, unless I’m trying to achieve an ultramodern, contemporary, and monochromatic interior,” says Darron Andress, a designer at FW Interior Design in Wappingers Falls. Andress, who’s been with the company for 11 years, suggests that “most homeowners are so overwhelmed by choosing colors for the walls that they completely forget that the ceiling is indeed the ‘fifth wall,’ and requires attention to complete the look.”

It might seem intimidating to think of using bold colors or patterns overhead, but there are subtle, tasteful ways it can be done — as long as a few key principles are kept in mind. “There is no rule that the ceiling and wall should match, but the two should have a relationship to each other,” Andress explains. “The color or material you use on your ceiling should stay within the same hue or tonal value.” And when choosing moldings, plasters, or other textures, it’s best to make sure the material used pairs well with the other design elements within the space. What constitutes attractive design is, of course, subject to personal preference; a living room with a cozy cabin feel, however, would probably not blend well with a cool metallic ceiling. On the other hand, wooden fixtures — or a textured, faux paint job — might do wonders.

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