Why should you paint or paper a ceiling?

It has been said so many times that it is almost cliché, but it is true — ceilings really are the 5th wall.  Consider how much time we spend thinking about flooring, coloration, and patterns.  Or how to get that perfect paint color or wallpaper for walls.  Well, ceilings deserve the same respect. They close the preverbal box without boxing you in.  I absolutely love painting an accent color on a ceiling vs a wall because it makes such a stronger statement.  Or wallpaper that pulls that perfect color that you spent so much time selecting to the next level.

How do you know when it should be high gloss?

High gloss is only an option if you have a good drywall finish.  In the industry it is called Level 5.   Extra time needs to be taken to really smooth out any imperfections and make for as perfect as a surface as possible.  Otherwise as the light reflects, every, even a small flaw is highlighted.   So once the surface is taken care of, I only do a high gloss finish when there is great light, either natural or from that perfect fixture to highlight the slick, glass-like finish.  And, of course, even better when you bring the same idea of an accent color and put it on the ceiling.  True magic.

Should the walls be lighter when you do a ceiling?

Not necessarily.  It truly depends on the overall design of the space.  The whole space, including the ceiling can become super moody and interesting.

How does it look in an entry or small space?

High drama in a small space.  I’m here for it.  Wallpaper that ceiling.  Paint an accent color from another part of a house.  Take a risk.  It’s a ceiling.  I once had a painter ask if I had made an error in a home when I specified the main hall as bright turquoise and there appeared to not be anything else on that whole floor the same color.  I chuckled and said, “yep and you just wait until you see what’s coming in.”  Once the home was installed, that color was the cherry that brought it together through the main hall.    So, don’t doubt yourself.  Only you, your design team, and often your architect, know the true direction the house is headed.

Do you ever do walls and ceiling the same either in paint or wallpaper?

Often, especially if there are crazy angles in the room from rooflines. Carrying the same paint or wallpaper through can be that thing that brings it all together and can just as easily create a quietness to a space if that is the goal, as creating that strong moment within a house.

Do lighter ceiling colors make the walls feel higher?

Some say so, but I also find that dark colors can push back the ceiling or walls to make a space appear larger or higher. It just depends on the circumstance and what is around the space.

How important is overhead lighting?

This one could go either way.  Overhead lighting, meaning recessed cans, at times can make a ceiling look like “swiss cheese” if the ceiling is a focal point to the room. So, at times, we’ll hang a series of fixtures instead of cans to highlight rather than keeping the ceiling quiet.  If the room is small enough, we’ll use a bigger chandelier to let one upper light source carry the room while still creating the illumination that we’d like to cast across the ceiling.

What’s the most interesting/dramatic one you’ve done?

This is a fun one.  We’ve done a number of ceilings in both paint and paper. In fact, we started doing this very early in my career as an accent and have just kept on going.  I still love the turquoise hall.  There have also been dining rooms that we have papered just the trey inset.  There is also a long butler’s pantry with a triple barrel that we venetian plastered the entire room, I loved the drama of that. (not sure if you have a pic of this. I’ll send)   There have been times the we  have just papered the inset between a coffered ceiling.  Love this look as well.  It is hard to pick just one as ceilings are a favorite space for me.

Tish Mills Kirk of Tish Mills Interiors, a preferred vendor of The Meridian Real Estate Group, is an award-winning interior designer who has been working with clients in their homes for more than two decades. She believes that it is essential to put together a cohesive plan for your home renovation before you get started that can be carried out by the team of experts you assemble. www.harmoniousliving.net

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