Tag Archives: ceiling

Decorating Quirky Spaces: The Attic

When designers talk about older homes, the word “character” is almost always used. What they are often referring to are original elements such as leaded or stained glass windows, hardwood floors, and decorative moldings, tile, or trim. But this term can also be used to describe quirky spaces that reflect earlier lifestyles and architectural trends that can pose challenges to the modern inhabitant.

Bare attic(Photo: Tracey Eckersley)

My new apartment occupies the former attic of a period home. It lacks the gorgeous wood carving and mantles of the lower units but the living room and bedroom boast rich, dark, hardwood floors. And, because it is the attic, almost every wall slopes inward which is tricky for both furniture placement and palette choices.

All-white attic with green doors(Photo: Homedit)

The last tenants ignored the cardinal rule of painting sloping ceilings (keep it light and bright) and painted a horrendous faux-denim finish in both rooms, making the place look downright dreary. Many people go for white with pops of color, but pale hues work well too. Painting the entire space the same color helps to minimize the angular walls.

Cute attic bedroom with powder blue walls and ceilings(Photo: Gypsy Mind)

Another way to do this, for the truly brave, is to wallpaper from floor to ceiling in a print. With this technique the angles almost completely disappear. You would have to pick a pattern you really love though because the effect is a little overwhelming!

Graphic pattern covering the attic wall and ceiling(Photo: Casa Sugar)

Sloping ceilings also present challenges in furniture placement. Everything must be far enough away from the walls so that a normal-sized person can get up from the chair/couch/bed without hitting his or her head. Smaller pieces work especially well in attics and help to balance the space.

Couch in the attic(Photo: House to Home)

What to do with the areas where regular furniture won’t fit? Think custom shelving, which is especially helpful in repurposed attics that don’t have closets.

Custom shelvings for the attic(Photo: Hemidemisemiquaver)

Of course Greentea Design’s step chests would also an excellent choice to provide much-needed storage in the tight corners.  Using furniture that mimics the shape of the walls helps to make the room look larger.

Step chest mimics the slope of the attic ceiling(Photo: Greentea Design)

I was a little worried that I wasn’t going be able to hang my art collection but Miya at Design Indulgences proves that you don’t have to save your prints for straight walls, though I do wish she had included hanging instructions.

Prints and frames on an attic's sloping walls(Photo: Design Indulgences)

If you have an unused attic, you might want to consider expanding your living space. While it can prove challenging, I guarantee you that visitors will always comment on the room’s character.


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Looking Up – The Decorated Ceiling

Stunning reclaimed wood beams create a beautiful ceiling that pulls this rustic living room together in what must the most amazing lake house. Image courtesy Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles via cococozy.com, interior design by Tracey Interiors.

If a room in your home is feeling a bit drab, lacking architectural detail say, just try looking up.  Yup, adding design elements to your ceiling is sure to give you that elusive wow-factor. I’ve never seen a decorated ceiling that hasn’t added interest, beauty and the unexpected to a room.

From modern moldings to exposed beams of reclaimed wood, tin ceiling tile to wallpaper and paint treatments, the internet is chock full of inspiring ideas that are sure to make you look up. Here are a small sampling:

Image courtesy Kitchenisms via Holly Mathis Interiors

Beyond adding a pop of unexpected design drama, a decorated ceiling provides the perfect backdrop to that oh-so special lighting fixture you found after long search.  I love the pairing of the chandelier and exposed brick in the picture above – each accentuates the other’s charm; and how the sparkle of tin tile helps the the chandelier to stand out that much more in the dining room below.

Image via Desire to Inspire

Image courtesy Dress Launderette via Erin Ever After

The painted black ceiling paired with the medallion is a beautiful contrast.  In both this instance and the wallpapered ceiling below, it’s the ceiling that really pulls these dining rooms together.

Image via Design Sponge

Image courtesy At Home in Arkansas magazine of via House of Turquoise

The charming little bedroom below is made ever more so by the painted board and beam ceiling.  And above, the wallpapered foyer really is a lovely and unusual touch that makes for a very warm welcome into this home (that little bench too is pretty great).

Image via 2bp

image via Design-Milk

These modern moldings by NMC (a collaboration with designer Geoffory Lheost) are lots of fun and certainly add a lot of zing to modern interiors.

As many of these interiors prove, a designed ceiling can fit in with just about any taste, from refined sophistication, to whimsical; from charming rustic to downright edgy.  Designed ceilings can also work in any room as these examples surely demonstrate.  So give yourself a reason to look up and make that ceiling stand out.  You’ll be glad you did.


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