Debbie Travis: Ceiling decoration adds new layer of interest

Debbie Travis: Ceiling decoration adds new layer of interest

Dear Debbie: I am thinking about adding some decoration to the bedroom ceiling. Unlike any other room, it does get looked at a lot. What are some ideas?


We don’t think much about decorating the ceilings in our rooms, just a good coat of ceiling paint in white and it’s done. But thought of as the fifth wall, ceiling decoration does add a new layer of interest that can be stunning.

Also ceilings are more visible than you think. Even though all but the lowest are a above eye view, they contribute to the whole picture.

Here are some imaginative treatments that I think you will love. Think about textures other than paint. In a breezy summer bedroom, grasscloth has been applied to the walls and then was cut into squares for the ceiling. By rotating the ceiling squares you create variations in colour to make a pleasing, neutral pattern.White trim mouldings add even more dimension, breaking up the high walls and defining the ceiling.

Rather than paint or paper, why not swag a wide fabric strip high over the bed? Choose fabric that is rich in colour and pattern for a boho look, or a silky swath of cloth in a calm pastel that will create a cocoon-like atmosphere.

Vaulted ceilings show off their character with wood beams or panels. The rustic style of natural wood panelling connects to the rural outdoor setting with warm, rustic appeal.

To create different styles, you can go luxe with gilded wallpaper. Check out the many designs and textures now available in wallcoverings. Flat or raised paper surfaces imitate many looks including wood, water, pebbles, and geometric patterns.

A vaulted ceiling can be highlighted by painting a striped design that is reminiscent of a circus tent. This effect can be created on a flat ceiling by tapering the colour bands, wide at the wall edge and narrower at the center.

Dear Debbie: Our entire house needs painting. In our living room one wall is tongue and groove pine, which has yellowed. I want to paint it a feature colour; my hubby doesn’t want it painted. Any suggestions?


Wow, I have heard this so many times before, and I guarantee he will love it when you are finished.

Pine yellows naturally, turning a more golden yellow with age. If it’s the colour that bothers you, why not give it a new look without losing the wood and grain aspect that your husband likes. Sand the pine to re-open the wood’s pores and then apply a white or light gray wood stain.

This will still be a feature wall, but the neutral tone will complement any colour you choose for the living room. If the original pine must stay, then look at the range of heritage colours at your paint store for the other walls. The earthy red, blue, green or even stony white will suit the pine’s patina. You can whitewash these colours if they are too dark for the room.

Written by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email decorating questions to [email protected]. Follow Debbie at,,

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