Artfully designed Ceilings

Artfully designed Ceilings

Beautiful ceilings are the icing on the architectural cake as you design your home. Architectural details are the upgraded features that are built into your home. The most obvious examples include columns, mantels or wall niches. If you’re lucky, it also includes an interesting ceiling. While ceilings lend themselves to some of the most dramatic details in a home, they’re also the most often ignored spaces. When they remain white, they are a missed opportunity to transform a space from ordinary to extraordinary. With the innovative use of decorative finishes, you can create personality and add value and drama to your home. If you’ve got it—flaunt it!
Ceilings are considered “the fifth wall.” Homeowners usually know  their ceilings have the potential to be spectacular, but they remain at a loss for exactly what to do. Enlisting the talents of a creative designer will help you explore the endless options available. Here are some things to take into consideration when planning dramatic ceiling designs.

1. Each space is different. Determine where you want your eye to focus when you enter a room. From there, it is a balancing act of color, scale and proportion. A ceiling that is too busy can easily overpower and detract from other features of your home. Sometimes less is definitely more.

2. Pay close attention to all of the details of the ceiling. This includes the layers, angles, shape, size, molding, beams and lighting. You will be making decisions about which elements to emphasize and which to downplay.

3. Rarely should you leave a ceiling pure white. It will appear unfinished and create a visual void.

4. Color alone does not create an illusion. There is an old belief that dark colors make a ceiling appear lower while lighter colors make it appear higher. In reality, it is the careful juggling of all elements in your space—from the size and scale of your furnishings to the shape and placement of artwork or even the design of the window treatments.

5. The available light influences how deep the ceiling color can be before it begins to feel like a cavern. Likewise, a particular chandelier or sconce may cast a gorgeous spectacle on a ceiling that is never noticed because the ceiling is too light.

6. The shape of a room, as compared with the size and shape of a dramatic ceiling, plays an important role in determining how intricate the decorative treatment should be.  Any design that is incorporated into the ceiling needs to be visually proportional to the other features in the space.

7. A decorative finish treatment should be chosen last. This is because the specifics of an artistic finish are designed to complement all of the other colors and elements within a space. Once those features are determined, you can begin to plan the appropriate treatment. The size, placement and intricacy of finishes and designs (if any) will be important in guiding how your eye travels when you enter the room. When done correctly, it is like the perfect piece of jewelry for that elegant little black dress.

8. If you have decided to use plain paint (i.e. no decorative finish), opt for a flat sheen. This will minimize imperfections in the sheetrock. The shinier the paint, the more apparent any blemishes, ripples or uneven lines will be.  Metallic paint straight from the can will have the same effect. Every roller and brush mark will be visible.

9. Keep in mind that colors appear different (usually darker) on a ceiling. This is because they are always in a shadow. If you are considering changing the color, paint a large piece of poster board and tape it to the ceiling. Make sure you place it in a corner—this allows you to see what it will look like immediately adjacent to your wall finishes and molding. Next, move the poster board just above the light fixtures. Depending upon the type of bulbs that are used (or even the shades), the color will appear different. Make sure that the color or finish that you choose will work well in natural daylight and also in the evening.

10. You can create the illusion of a trey (inset) on a flat ceiling.
Apply ½-inch round molding about 1 to 2 feet inside from the edge of the ceiling. Then, paint the inside of the space with a slightly darker color or an elegant finish.

11. Consider enhancing the trim molding—make it larger to appear grander, or paint it a different color. This acts to embellish and outline a room much like an intricate picture frame. If you need a visual reference to gain comfort, look in design magazines or visit designer show homes. You will see that many times, the trim is actually darker than the walls.

12. Add a ceiling medallion.
When painted to complement your chandelier, it will draw more attention to a beautiful light fixture and allow it to be the primary focal point in the center of a ceiling.

13. Do not discount the power of paint in the hands of a skilled decorative artist, combined with the imaginative visions of an interior designer. Simple or plain ceilings can be transformed into stunning focal points. The possibilities are endless!
Information includes tips provided by Joann Kandrac and Kelly Kole of Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs Inc.


LAYERED CEILING. Dramatic dimension is the primary feature of this magnificent ceiling. Separating each layer with a different color draws attention to the shape, offering a spectacular visual frame to the elegant light fixture. LOW CEILING. This terrace-level ceiling is low but has an unusual recessed element to it. The curves are enhanced with metallic bronze, while the dark faux finish on the low ceiling helps to define the conversation area and create a cozy ambiance.





UMBRELLA CEILING. The interesting details of this ceiling were barely noticed when the design team first arrived. A faux-leather treatment was applied in colors that blended with the furnishings. Decorative nail heads were added to accentuate the lines within the umbrella shape. DINING ROOM CEILING. This dining room is visible the minute you enter the home. A soft, reflective finish mimics the other metallic accessories that adorn the space, accentuating the shape of the recessed tray. The addition of a painted ceiling medallion draws eyes to the main focal point—the chandelier.







BARRELL CEILING. The architecture within this barrel ceiling offers a dramatic entrance to the home. The rich, metallic colors are consistent with the adjacent rooms. The trim was painted using a wood-grain technique, which outlines and punctuates the ceiling as the primary focal point in this foyer. The design works as a unifying element for the custom ironwork on the front doors and staircase. This project was completed in conjunction with Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs Inc. DOME CEILING. There are many architectural features in this dramatic 3-story living room. The railings, alcoves, fireplace mantel and windows all add interesting visual effects to this space. An elegant reflective finish inside the dome and alcoves works to punctuate these elements with color. The effect draws eyes upward and along the space to notice each detail. The beams in the center were painted using a wood-grain technique to outline the grand chandelier and give the illusion of finely crafted bentwood.








Wallstreat is an award-winning faux finish and decorative artistry studio located in Alpharetta. As founder and creative director, Kass Wilson shows you how to transform your home from ordinary to extraordinary. As a resource to interior designers, she offers innovative solutions to some of the most challenging design dilemmas. (770) 777-7020,

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