by Joni Spear
Thanks to the influx of social influencers and bloggers, statement walls have become a popular trend in the home-decorating world. Personally, I’m not a fan. Treating one wall differently than the other three, in my opinion, looks as though you either ran out of paint or couldn’t afford to wallpaper the rest of the room. Statement walls certainly have their place. The bedroom is a good example. Positioning the bed against a wall of relief paneling, drapery panels, board and batten, or luxurious upholstery can do double duty as a headboard.
Otherwise, I reject the status quo.
My favorite wall to reimagine is the forgotten fifth wall, otherwise known as the ceiling. Not every home can handle elaborate décor overhead, but the simple act of painting it something other than flat white can dramatically change a room’s composition. Take a cue from an accessory, pillow or contrasting color. This is a delightful option for a child’s bedroom or playroom.
Rooms with architectural features like tray ceilings are a terrific place for paint. Also known as a recessed or inverted ceiling, the varying heights of each level draws your eye upward, making the room feel more spacious. A gold or silver leaf treatment would enhance the effect. If that sounds too intimidating, try glazing it in shades lighter or darker than the room’s base coat. Even simply painting the area a high-gloss white will reflect light and make the room feel as if it’s glowing.
Applying wallpaper to the ceiling is one of my favorite decorating tricks. Wall coverings are no longer shunned; in fact, exquisite, fresh patterns have enhanced their popularity. Just be sure the scale of the design is consistent with the room size. If the pattern is too small, you won’t be able to see it 8 feet overhead. Actually, the larger the scale of the pattern, the better. Hiring a professional to not only install but select the right paper is a must. Wallpaper isn’t cheap and chances are you’ll be living with it for quite a while; you don’t want to do something you’ll regret.
Coffered ceilings are another way to add a three dimensional detail to an otherwise boring ceiling. Coffered ceilings have framed beams applied in a grid pattern. Squares and octagon shapes are popular examples. But beware: The treatment works best with higher ceilings; anything lower than 9 feet can be too overwhelming, making a small room feel claustrophobic.
Relief and crown molding are other timeless favorites of mine. These can be applied by nonprofessionals as long as you can miter corners and add. Crown molding can be purchased at big box stores and simply nailed on. Relief molding is available in polyurethane that’s lightweight and can be applied with an architectural adhesive. Both applications can be painted to accentuate the detail.
And lastly, unless you live in a lodge or on a farm, I suggest steering away from trends like shiplap and barn-wood ceilings. Although popular now, there is no telling how long this trend will last.
Joni Spear, a professional interior designer with more than 20 years of experience, specializes in high-end residential projects. She recently relocated to Smithfield. See some of her work at www.jonispear.com.