Inspo: The Fifth Wall, Have You Decorated Your Ceiling Yet?

Barely have most DIYers got to grips with feature walls when bang, the feature wall is over and those in the know are papering, panelling and stickering every vertical surface  in their Insta fabulous homes. And not only that but now, people, now there’s a fifth wall to contend with. Yes, a fifth wall. Think Sistine Chapel. That kind of fifth wall.

I started pinning deliciously decorative ceilings a few years ago and resolved to incorporate some exciting upwards looking views here at Moregeous Mansions. Inspiration comes from many places doesn’t it, and mine back then was a visit to Italy with all it’s soaring painted ceilings and then on a smaller scale, a trip to the incredible Peacock Pavilions and riads in Morocco. DSC08218

When the original ceiling in our master bedroom came down two years ago – well, I say ‘came down’, it pretty much fell down – this vaulted loft space above was revealed. We’d slept under a dangerously bowing ceiling for nearly ten years, honestly it’s a wonder we’re still here, so it was a relief to finally work on it.  The original plan was to simply re-plasterboard on the joists of the ‘normal’ ceiling but once I saw it all opened up, the plan kinda had to change.

Creating a vaulted ceiling is a sure-fire way to add impact and a sense of awe because they’re so cathedral like. You need to think about great lighting too. The two chandeliers above were once dark brown, now sprayed white and gold, plus there are LEDs above the new high level shelf around the room. I’m still debating adding more detail to this white ceiling. Would you add more?
DSC08201Down in the sitting room, a sense of grandeur was required to balance the decorative Blackpop walls and herringbone timber floors. I’ve never painted anything this green in my life, it was a bit scary, especially as the wet paint was frighteningly bright. It totally freaked Mr M out too. His mum had painted their entire house green as a child, so he really wasn’t up for the whole emerald ceiling thing. Luckily, he liked it. Luckily for me. This is called Outdoor Escape by Valspar, a beautifully deep jewelled shade.

Bear in mind that if you have a dark to light junctions, it takes a very steady hand or lots of masking tape to get a sharp line. If your skills are mostly paint colour choosing instead of paint colour painting, you’ll need to factor in paying a decorator slightly more for this job than if they’re using all the same colour on walls and the ceiling. It takes more time, simple as that. All those Insta rooms with grey walls and grey ceilings – absolutely doddle, no cutting in 😉

DSC08212Up into the bathroom now and ceiling madness has gained a hold. Opening up, painting and adding mouldings add character but a whole new dimension comes into play with wallpaper. I bloody love wallpaper on ceilings. Love it love it love it. I played with tonnes of botanical samples for my monochrome bathroom, mainly as my favourite was also lots of other people’s favourite…. but I just kept coming back to it, so Palm Jungle it is. Showering under this ceiling is a complete delight and so, so much fun.

Interiors should be fun, our homes should make us smile shouldn’t they? Yes, there are lots of architectural, serious homes out there, for serious architectural people, but I’m not one of them. I’m filled with joy at pattern and colour and interiors with a sense of surprise. Friends walk into this bathroom and don’t even notice the wallpaper at first, then do a double take and smile. The perfect response to a decorative ceiling.

Remember if you wallpaper in a bathroom that you need a good surface, great quality adhesive, decent paper and most importantly excellent ventilation. Excess condensation may dampen the paper and make it bubble or peel away, especially on cold, uninsulated ceilings. You can vanish the wallpaper with a flat matt top coat to protect it and this is especially useful in bathrooms of low heights. I haven’t lacquered mine but I do sit in there whenever anyone has a shower to make sure the extractor fan is on 😉DSC08213.jpgThe pitched roof lines to all our extension bedrooms pretty much invite interesting pattern. I haven’t finished this bedroom above yet, but love it so far. The idea is that the shingle paper reflects inside what would usually be outside and the light pencil drawn squares work really well with the grey. Of course, you know already, it’s Downpipe. It was nowhere near as hard to do as it looks either, new paste-the-wall papers really help on that front.

IMG_5412This is a bedroom ceiling I papered for a BBC1 show last year and let me tell you, everyone, EVERYONE, wondered what the hell I was doing. In fact I do recall Mr M asking at one point “Sian, what the hell are we doing?”  It’s two different papers, hung in different directions and then  folded down the wall to create a band of colour to a picture rail. I didn’t tell him we were doing this ’til the morning of the shoot, just in case he absconded. It’s my opinion that many painters & decorators out there now are no longer time served, skilled and experienced. Choose carefully if you get someone to do this type of work for you, or do it yourself with care and patience.

With a good quality adhesive, it really isn’t very hard to do at all. It’s a bit wacky, granted, but for a kids room – ace – and the little girl whose room it is adored it. There was a deep sigh of relief on the reveal, believe me. DSC08206I’ve thrown this last one in for those of you who might need to be eased into the whole crazy ceiling club. The trend for woven or rattan pendants allows beautifully intricate patterns to be drawn with light on any ceiling where they’re fitted. Rather than just one shade, try hanging several together. My dining room ceiling’s white and looks far more dramatic at night time. They’d look amazing on a deep blue or charcoal painted ceiling too.

There are lots of incredible examples of fifth walls on my Pinterest board if you need even more inspiration. Do you? Or are you already won over? Whichever way, prepare yourselves for these to be taking over interiors mags & blogs. If you’re not won over already, you will be soon!


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