Why was it decided decades ago that all ceilings are to be painted white?  The common thinking was that white ceilings visually raise the height of the ceiling and expand the feeling of space in a room. The message ended up being, “We’re not here, don’t look at us!”

During the 20th century, flat, painted white ceilings was the default setting for this interior surface. Today, however, we are re-thinking this “fifth wall”

It’s common for architects to add structural enhancements to a ceiling that contribute greatly to the feeling and design of a room: such as beams, coffers, vaults, beadboard or pressed tin.  These are surfaces are all begging to be accented, whether with a simple flat color (other than white), a smokey bronze decorative finish, or a neo-classical design.

These 2 ceilings by Arteriors were custom designed using a traditional grisaille technique and an antique gilding finish.


Design and Ceilings: It’s time to marry the two together again!

Lots of color, pattern and murals were commonly employed to draw the eye upwards In the Baroque, Victorian and Belle Arts eras. Think of the detailed and often exuberant design of the ceilings in Newport mansions, European castles, and The Sistine Chapel.

Aside from chandeliers and lighting fixtures, the ceiling is a perfect canvas of uninterrupted space.  Painting a ceiling with a decorative finish can immediately change the feeling of room.  And like architectural elements, the feeling that’s conveyed can be intimate or expansive.

Decorative paint finishes and murals by Arteriors can enhance architectural details.

A crown molding painted with a metallic gold finish stands out and the deeper bronze metallic finish on the tray ceiling above is emphasized.

Arteriors’ tortoiseshell decorative paint finish and light gilding of the architectural elements adds high drama to this stunning ceiling design. Millwork courtesy of www.architectural-elements.com. Photo by Marylou Crowley, www.maryloucrowley.com.

A classic sky-scape ceiling based on the famous painters of the Hudson River School, this Arteriors' mural depicts a mid-summer sky over a perfect Cape Cod beach.


Blocks of metallic color by Arteriors add sophisticated style to this tray ceiling in a “man cave”.

Fall asleep every night to a perfect Renaissance sunset mural painted by Arteriors.

Elevating the importance of this circular foyer with a domed ceiling, Arteriors painted an antique map that illustrates the homeowners’ ancestral homeland.


Often times the design accent is more appropriately placed over-head. So start looking up… and treat your ceilings with the same care as the rest of your interior design!