Living room ceiling ideas: 11 designs to spark interest from above

These creative and colorful living room ceiling ideas will take your fifth wall to new heights.

Colorful living room with pink painted walls and the same shade on the ceiling to match
Painting your ceiling the same color as your walls can help maximise height
(Image credit: Wayfair )

Living room ceiling ideas shouldn't be an afterthought. In fact, your fifth wall can be just as interesting – if not more so – than the other four walls that make up your living space. 

We say this because your living room ceiling offers you a brilliant opportunity to get as creative as your chosen interior design vibe allows. Fan of color? Love adding pockets of interest to your home? Or just want to make a statement with fresh ceiling ideas like never before? No matter the size or height of your space, there's no shortage of looks that will help add a little drama to your ceiling. 

Living room ceiling ideas that aim high

Gone are the days of just painting a ceiling beige. Although a neutral-colored ceiling has earned its rightful place in the design books as a fool-proof way to exude a clean and fresh feel, you can still tick off these style credentials without curtailing your creativity.

From beautiful big beams and intricately designed wallpaper to colorful ceiling stripes and fancy and fabulous 3D designs. Elevate your ceiling and take it to new heights by showing your fifth wall some much-needed TLC. Here's how...

1.  Choose colorful light fittings

Image of colorful sitting room with pink ceiling light from Pooky


(Image credit: Pooky)

Pink ceiling lights? It's a yes from us. Tick off fun and functional by sparking interest in your living room space by adding colorful light fittings to your ceiling. If you're stuck on what color to choose, there's always one shade that's up to the task – which is why decorating with blush pink is a win-win.

As Rohan Blacker, founder of Pooky (opens in new tab), tells us: ‘Choosing a colorful or ornate piece provides a focal point in the room.' It also enables you to make a subtle statement without having to fully commit to a laborious design idea that's not so easily changeable.

2. Play with height and add a chandelier

Image of chandelier hanging from ceiling from Pooky

Tall ceilings can stand up to large lamp shades

(Image credit: Pooky)

Speaking of lighting, it can make a difference to any home or space. Which is why it’s so important to get it right. In general, living room lights need to be able to be bright enough to light up dark wintery days, but soft enough to create a warm ambiance. But your chosen light also needs to add to your aesthetic, not take it away.

Blacker explains: ‘For the more adventurous (if ceiling height allows) a chandelier is a great addition to create a sense of grandeur. While if height is limited, flush mount lights that sit tight against your ceiling are a great option and take up much less precious headspace than a pendant. Alternatively, wall lighting works just as effectively and can really add a different level of light to a space.’

3.  Vault your ceiling

Image of living room with vaulted ceiling using wooden beams

(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

Another great way to get creative with your living room ceiling is to add architectural interest from the get-go. One way to do this? Maximize the height of your room and add a vaulted ceiling

A vaulted ceiling is where the beams angle up from the walls towards the roof, meeting in the center. It can make your space look airy, architecturally interesting and downright amazing. 

As Interior Designer, Marie Flanigan (opens in new tab) says: ‘If you’re building your home, ask your architect to consider a vaulted or barrel ceiling in your design plans. When the eye is drawn upward the room feels more spacious, making a big impact in overall aesthetic and design.’

4. Cover your ceiling in wood

Image of wooden ceiling in a living room

(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

We already know modern rustic interior designs are set to dominate the 2022 living room trend scene. And using wood to add texture and capture interest is no different. So why not re-connect with nature by making use of the natural material in your ceiling?

Flanigan continues: 'I love using wood to create a beautiful, coffered look. Creating a coffered ceiling or incorporating reclaimed wood purlins are great ways to add intrigue to an existing space. Another option is covering your entire ceiling in wood for a very cozy and intimate feel. I would suggest purlins and a wood ceiling for living rooms with higher ceiling heights, while a coffered look can work with a lot of ceiling heights, especially when the wood is painted to match the ceiling.’

5. Make your ceiling 3D

Ceiling molding has been used to create an interesting 3D effect in the living room

If space allows, create a ripple effect in your fifth wall 

(Image credit: Julie Soefe)

Who said living room ceilings had to be flat or smooth? Not us.

Make waves (quite literally) in your ceiling by taking your designs 3D. Not only does this curvy design draw the eye up (and back down again), it will add more depth to your living room by casting playful shadows when the sun decides to shine. Flanigan explains: ‘Think of your ceiling as a fifth wall. The ceiling doesn’t have to be just a flat surface, it can be an interesting, integral part of design.’ 

6. Wallpaper your ceiling

Living room with patterned wallpaper on walls and ceiling

Draw the eye up, by extending your wallpaper up to your fifth wall

(Image credit: Graham & Brown)

Wallpaper can absolutely be used on your ceiling. Don't believe us? Take note from Bryce Capp, Creative Director at Milton & King (opens in new tab).

He says: ‘Much like matching the décor in any room, take into account the color themes and style of your living room. 

'The point of wallpapering your ceiling isn’t to distract from what is around you, but to add to it, improve upon it and ultimately to make the room more cohesive. So whatever your style, you’ll want to make sure the wallpaper on the ceiling in your living room is making sense with the color of your furniture and the paint on your walls.' You could even try some peel-and-stick wallpaper options if you rent...

7. Add a ceiling stripe

Graphic ceiling idea

A statement stripe can help to create a focal point 

(Image credit: Graham & Brown)

Helping to make your room seem wider and higher, a ceiling stripe really is the gift that keeps on giving. Extend the height and width of your ceiling with a vertical line that runs along your ceiling and down one side of your wall.

Just remember to get the balance right with the right paint color for your space and the thickness of the stripe. Also gather materials including the likes of: dust sheets (opens in new tab), painters tape (opens in new tab) and step ladders (opens in new tab) all available from Amazon or Home Depot before your get going. 

8. Paint your whole ceiling 

Colorful living room with pink painted walls and the same shade on the ceiling to match

(Image credit: Wayfair )

Color shouldn’t just be reserved for your walls.  And if you're feeling brave, why not consider painting the whole of your living room ceiling? 

Painting your ceiling can extend your walls upwards and make your space feel and look bigger. However – a word of warning – it requires a little more arm work than revamping your walls. We'd also recommend using ceiling paint and the right tools to ensure you get the best professional-looking results. Benjamin Moore's Waterborne Ceiling Paint (opens in new tab) is a good option.

9. Panel your ceiling 

Green living room wallpaper with green paneling on the ceiling

(Image credit: DIVINE SAVAGES)

Wall panelling has come a long way since its 16th and 17th-century roots.

No longer limited to vertical walls, you can create the same contemporary and classic look by adding panelling to your living room ceiling. Whether it's wood or MDF – in our humble opinion, adding some panelling to your fifth wall screams texture, depth and intrigue. And you'll be pleased to know that the different options are endless.

10. Put up cornicing or coving on your ceiling

Cornicing on ceiling by Mint & May

Architectural moulding will inject elegance and character

(Image credit: Mint & May)

Whether you're the habitant of a Victorian, Edwardian or Georgian property, or you're just looking to add some character into your more modern living space – incorporating cornicing is a sure-fire way to do just that.

In time's gone by, cornicing was used to conceal the join between the wall and the ceiling. And while it still does just that, this traditional form of decorative trim serves as much of a functional purpose as it does on aesthetics. Sign us up!  

11. Go big on beams 

Exposed wooden beams feature in this living space

(Image credit: DelightFULL)

Exposed timber beams can make any living space look homely, whether they're a traditional period feature or not. And along with coming with a vital load-bearing function, timber beams also make for an intricate and interesting-looking fifth ceiling design. 

Or, if exposed beams don't fit with your modern interior vibe, try painting them for a contemporary refresh.

What should I put on my living room ceiling?

What you choose to put on your living room ceiling can be dependent on a number of things. For example, what's your interior style? How large is your living space? And how high are your ceilings? 

High ceilings often give the feel of a large room. They can also dictate what sort of lighting you hang. The higher the ceiling, the longer – and often larger – light fixtures your ceiling can take. While if you’ve got low ceilings, large and low-hanging light fittings might just end up getting in the way and taking up unnecessary space. 

And along with lighting fixtures, also think about adding color, texture and using wallpaper. But as Bryce Capp, Creative Director at Milton & King (opens in new tab) says: ‘It really is a matter of personal taste.

‘Livings rooms, unlike bedrooms or powder rooms, are open spaces. If a room can be closed off from the rest of the home, there is the temptation to go a little wild. 

'However, for the living room, which may be viewable from other areas in the home, you may want to be a bit more subtle or at the very least, go with something that fits the overall aesthetic of your interior. 

'So if you have a contemporary style interior, a simple geometric or abstract wallpaper can work great.’

How can I make my living room ceiling more attractive?

There are many ways to make your living room ceiling look more attractive. A lick of paint can go a long way. The same can be said for adding texture to your fifth wall. While, if desired, lights can do a lot more than just light up your space. 

As Blacker tells us: ‘Creativity with ceiling lighting really depends on the height available as this can dictate lighting fixtures you can and can’t use. If you have low ceilings it’s best to avoid large, low-hanging fixtures. 

‘Not only do they have the effect of bringing the ceiling down into the space and making the room look smaller, they’re also at risk of getting in the way (especially for any beanpoles in the household!).’

Becks is a freelance lifestyle writer who works across a number of Future's titles. This includes Real Livingetc, Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide, TechRadar and more. She started her career in print journalism at a local newspaper more than 8 years ago and has since then worked across digital and social media for food, fashion and fitness titles, along with home interior magazines. Her own interior style? She's a big fan of Scandi designs and the same can be said for creating mindful spaces in every corner of her home. If it doesn't spark joy or happiness, it has no place here. When Becks isn't writing, she’s reading or probably thinking of more ways to add pink to her space.

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