Joanna Gaines' Unusual Wallpaper Tip To Upgrade Your Ceiling

Ceilings can often be a neglected element in any room, whatever its height and grandeur. We often spend much of our efforts appointing a space with beautiful things, agonizing over perfect wall colors and artwork, and virtually none considering what is right above our heads. Joanna Gaines, HGTV "Fixer-Upper" star and design expert, is a superfan of augmenting this particular space with all manner of materials that instantly elevate, both literally and figuratively, any room.

Gaines has often taken a unique approach to deal with this forgotten but key area of any room. While she has done everything to ceilings, from painting to adding distinctive wood panels, the designer frequently suggests adding distinctive wallpaper to the ceilings of rooms. The effect is renewed visual interest at the top of the room that not only draws the eye upward, making the room seem larger and more expansive but also can be a great way to tie together disparate elements like color and pattern in a room to form a cohesive whole. 

Gaines' ceiling treatment

Wallpaper is definitely having a moment, with many beautiful and contemporary designs available in everything from staid stripes to large-scale florals. Homeowners and designers are covering everything from accent walls to the back of bookshelves and cabinetry with color and pattern, including easy-to-use peel-and-stick designs that are temporary and rental friendly. Gaines uses this popular element in her designs to add charm and character, a tactic she implemented in an episode of HGTV's "Fixer Upper," where she covered a cozy cottage bedroom with a rich Arts and Crafts style floral paper that tied together the color elements of the room.

In Homes & Gardens, Gaines says, "'It just feels like there's a lot of visual interest kind of everywhere you look, but it is still subtle and simple." Unlike paper on the walls, the ceiling design does not add as much to the visual clutter of the room, making it a great option for smaller rooms where you want to keep things on the wall and floor minimal but still want the pattern and texture of wallpaper. Striped papers can have the additional effect of elongating the room. The look also works particularly well for bedroom spaces, where much of your experience of the room may be lying underneath, looking up. You can also use textured paper without additional pattern or color for an even more subtle look.

Creating an eye-catching ceiling

Gaines' attention to ceilings, that forever neglected space, has often caught the attention, and occasional ire, of fellow design experts, with a mixed bag of opinions on using this space to add interest and draw the eye upward. Many are willing to get on board with painted ceilings but not quite with the addition of wallpapers and patterns. Others love the idea of adding patterned wallpaper, large or small scale, to ceilings as a design element that finishes off the room.

With a wealth of wallpaper designs for every decorating scheme and mood, there are a vast number of options to add interest, tie together color elements, and draw the eye upward, particularly effective in small spaces like hallways, entryways, and powder rooms, where a little paper can be easy to install for a huge impact. Other approaches that are more three-dimensional include combining wallpaper designs with other architectural elements like frame molding. With the increased popularity of wallpaper murals in homes, some designers are even adding beautiful Sistine Chapel-worthy visuals to this forgotten space.