10 Residential Architecture and Interior Design Ideas for Ceilings

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Elissa Morgante, AIA
Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson

Feb 24, 2021 - 5 min read

10 Residential Architecture and Interior Design Ideas for Ceilings

Though ceilings are often referred to as the fifth wall in a room, all too often they fail to get the attention, let alone the love, the other four walls do. And we’ve never understood why. At Morgante Wilson Architects, we’ve always believed in the importance of a well-considered ceiling, whether through architecture, interior design, or a combination of the two. Here are ten of our favorite residential architecture and interior design ideas to treat a ceiling:

1. Make it glow

Dining rooms, especially, benefit from the instant ambiance provided by a ceiling with a golden glow. Whether you get that glow from paint or wallpaper doesn’t really matter. The point is to give the room the kind of warmth and drama that can rival even the most atmospheric restaurant.

2. Tile it

The ceiling in this gentleman’s library is crowned with taupe ceramic tile, laid in a classic herringbone pattern. We love the texture it contributes to an already-rich mix of materials.

3. Include a dome

Another of our favorite ways to dramatically treat a ceiling is to create a recessed dome. This fully-lit version, accented by a chandelier that doesn’t take itself too seriously, offers a real “wow!” moment.

4. Texturize it

A ceiling clad in exposed brick and punctuated by beams cozies a kitchen in the best way we know. Together, the bricks and the beams provide warmth, texture, and an almost indescribable feeling of having stepped back in time. The hearth-like cooking niche and the fireplace further the vibe.

5. Step it

The shape of this octagonal office is partially defined by its stepped ceiling, itself outlined and accentuated with painted moldings. (A cool idea to talk about another day: the counters in here are crafted from a tree on the property that had to be taken down!)

Glamorize it

Silver-leafed by hand, the ceiling in this landmarked, Georgian-style home shimmers and shines in a way you’d never expect in a historic house. We absolutely love the wake-up call.

7. Accent it

Slender molding details are subtle – but super impactful – additions to the ceiling in this formal sitting room. A riff on the heavier trims often found in large, stately spaces, this simple (and relatively inexpensive, for DIY-ers) treatment adds tons of style.

8. Paint it

A sixteen foot-tall ceiling emphasizes lake views in this family room. To highlight its beams, and draw the eye up and out, we painted the ceiling a soft beige color. Not only does it contrast with the room’s crisp white millwork, it unites the color scheme established by the similarly-toned sofa.

9. Panel it

Oak paneling crowns this cathedral ceiling. It’s beautiful, sure – but it also envelops the room in warmth, and makes it feel cozy in spite of its height.

Leave it alone!

Surprised by this one? Don’t be. There are some times when a plain white ceiling is the best treatment you can give a room. In this case, the whole point was to create a seamless architectural envelope of plain, pure white that would allow millwork details, gorgeous windows, and pretty views to be the stars of the show. Doing anything fancy to the ceiling would have ruined the effect.

We’re not kidding when we say these are just a few of our favorite ways to place decorative and architectural importance on ceilings. There are so many other things you can do. To browse some of our other ideas, check out our website. Or follow us on Instagram or facebook.

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson