This could make or break the entire room.

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated September 16, 2019
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Christopher Testani

When you step into the stunning office in the 2019 Real Simple Home—whether you're taking the virtual tour (watch it here) or exploring it in-person (buy tickets here)—you can't help but look up. The beautiful floral wallpapered ceiling is an unexpected design decision that catches your eye and makes the room a knockout. The room's designers, Shavonda Gardner of SG Style and Carmeon Hamilton of Nubi Interiors, wanted a dark wallpaper that would blend with the moody wall color, while also adding some vibrant accent colors. This floral patterned wallpaper by Kelly Ventura was a perfect match. After admiring the ceiling's room-transforming effect, we're feeling inspired to reconsider the "fifth wall" in our own spaces. Ready to elevate your ceiling style? Here are some creative ways to make over every ceiling in your home.

1. DIY a design featureGive dimension to your walls by adding picture-frame molding. The daylong project results in a sophisticated, glamorous feel. Learn how here.2. Add dramaLike the night sky, a dark paint color can make a room feel infinite, says Gardner. Opt for a matte finish to hide imperfections in the walls, which may be highlighted by a glossier sheen.3. Store strategicallyKeep utilitarian items in bins on the bottom two shelves so they’re not in your immediate line of sight when you walk in.Bonus: Look upThe ceiling tends to be an afterthought, but these designers saw it as a fifth wall that was begging for special treatment.
Christopher Testani

Patterned Wallpaper

Follow Gardner and Hamilton's lead, and pick a wallpaper with a fun pattern in a color palette that matches the room's decor. The floral design in the office is from Kelly Ventura, and there are many other places to find gorgeous patterned wallpaper (here are a few of our favorite sources).

While you can do the install yourself depending upon your level of DIY know-how, the designers recommend hiring professionals, as it's the safest option.

An Unexpected Hue

While most ceilings are painted a bright, crisp white, there's no rule saying you have to stick to neutrals on the ceiling. Some less traditional colors to consider? Pale blue is a designer favorite, as it helps open up the room. A subtle shade of blush pink reflects a rosy hued light that's particularly flattering.

Ceiling Medallions

If you'd prefer to stick to a white ceiling, try adding architectural interest instead. Ceiling medallions can be found at Home Depot or House of Antique Hardware. Whether you choose an ornate Victorian-style medallion or a more modern option, this detail adds interest and character to any room.

The install is relatively easy, but because it will require re-installing your light fixture, it's a good idea to hire a pro. And above all, be sure to shut off the electricity to the room before beginning any work.

Wood Paneling

In recent years, Fixer Upper-inspired shiplap has been showing up everywhere—yes, even on ceilings. Unpainted wood panels lend a cozy vibe to the room, while white painted panels give the space a modern farmhouse style.

The installation is labor-intensive and requires a lot of time standing on ladders, so it's better left to a professional unless you're a skilled DIY-er.