Six Problem Ceilings – And How To Fix Them



Today’s post is a HEAVY reworking and combination of two old posts, but the new focus is on problem ceilings. It’s a subject worth reviewing periodically.

And, that’s because a bad ceiling can really bring down a room. (no pun intended) :]


decorating lessons - beautiful mouldings-ceiling trim detail - problem ceilingsThe ceiling above is not one of the problems. We first saw this beauty here, last summer.


There are about six major types of problem ceilings.

So, let’s jump in a go over each one and the best solutions.


Probably the most common problem ceilings have is:


The ceiling is too low.


Ceilings are pretty much like fashion models. The taller, the better. Everything looks better in a room with high ceilings, big windows and architectural interest. Then, it’s a lot easier to decorate.

Alas, not all of us are fortunate enough to have soaring ceilings to work with.

Some of us only have eight feet, or even SEVEN feet until we hit the ceiling. One of my largest and most favorite projects from 2001-02 was an antique home in Northern Westchester County. I was lucky to have it published in Better Homes and Gardens.


Gorgeous antique home in Waccabuc, NY but with low ceilings
Above is the exterior.  You can’t tell here, because everything is in perfect proportion, but the ceilings in all but the new addition which was a reworking of an attached garage (on the far left) is only seven feet high.

You can see several images of the home here.   There, you will also find lots of great ideas for dealing with lower ceilings.  But, the most important thing to remember is that like this house, everything must be in proportion. And every maneuver possible must be used to take the eye up.


Some of those tricks to make a ceiling appear as tall as possible include the addition of:



Also, check out 16 ways to make your small rooms look larger.


And, there’s another device for making the ceiling appear higher that I talk about in this post about the best ceiling paint colors. And that’s painting the ceiling a light blue-green (but not too bright). The link has some great colors. And there are more in the Laurel Home Paint/Palette Collection.


What about painting the ceiling super dark?  Is that good for a low ceiling? After all, dark colors do make walls and ceilings recede as we discussed in this post.


However, a super-dark color is also going to feel heavy and if it’s a large room, it’s most likely going to feel oppressive.


But, in a small room, like a bathroom, painting the ceiling navy or black can be an effective technique to lift the ceiling higher. And it can also be quite chic.


Nancy Keyes - bathroom after - wainscoting - brass chandelier - problem ceilings -Benjamin Moore Racoon Fur black ceiling

Above and below is Nancy Keyes’ fantastic renovated master bathroom.  The ceiling color is a soft black  – Benjamin Moore Onyx.  And yes, Onyx is one of the Laurel Home collection paint colors. It is a touch softer and warmer than a pure black.


Nancy Keyes - black ceiling bathroom after brass chandelier - Benjamin Moore Racoon Fur black ceiling

Nancy actually sent me these images over two years ago! What’s funny (to me, anyway.) is that the before pics are also gorgeous!


Nancy Keyes - bathroom before - zebra chair - stained wooden door

Leave it to Nancy to create a gorgeous room, in any case.  There may have been some other issues that lead to the reno, as well. I love both the before and after!


Nancy Keyes bathroom before
However, Nancy’s ceiling looks to be nine feet. I reckon that the black ceiling would still be fine in a bathroom with an eight-foot ceiling.

Here are some more ideas for dark ceilings

And, please check out this other fabulous bathroom that Nancy Keyes did.

But, what if we have a room with a low and expansive ceiling?


Yes, that’s one of the worst problem ceilings.

There’s only one ceiling issue that’s worse.

A low, large, expansive POPCORN ceiling. (the post linked to also has a lot of great ideas for problem ceilings)


I can’t think of one decorating issue from the 20th century that confounds me more than the all-too-common popcorn ceiling.


I’m sure that there must’ve been a logical reason for it. Did they think that it helps with acoustics? Not much, I don’t think, but they sure do suck much of the available light. They’re just another one of those bad ideas made popular in the second half of the 20th century. And, here we are.

How many of you are lucky enough to have one of these abominations?

So, first, let’s deal with this problem and then we’ll discuss how to handle a low, expansive ceiling.


There are two basic ways to get rid of the hideous popcorn. However, it depends on if you have a ceiling that looks more like fossilized seven-minute frosting, or more like painted corn grits.


In either case, it is possible to remove a popcorn ceiling.

However… Honestly. Really. I definitely recommend having a professional take care of it. But, if you insist, please make sure that your ceiling and paint is free of asbestos and lead. Wear protective gear. And, please consult with a professional at the very least.


IF the popcorn is very even and low, it is possible to cover it with various products.


  • 1/4″ sheet rock
  • ceiling tiles. Some of them are quite nice, these days.
  • Wooden planks or shiplap.



White-washed boards in a beautiful room by Sarah Richardson


What is anaglypta wallpaper?


It is a heavy, embossed wallpaper that can go on the wall or on the ceiling. It is usually made of paper or a cellulose product.


Anaglypta Paintable 33

Here is one pattern that’s either the same or very similar to what I had on my kitchen ceiling for 16 years. You can purchase it here. I loved it! My boys always said it looked like paper towels. haha. The pattern is much larger, however. It’s paintable. I had it professionally installed and then the contractor painted it high-gloss white.

You can see a bad photo of it here.


Anaglypta wallpaer ceiling - solution for problem ceilings


And, a better photo of anaglypta wallpaper on a ceiling. (sorry, original source, unknown) There are numerous patterns to choose from. As you can see, it mimics the look of a tin ceiling and so, works best for older homes or a home with a quasi-vintage look like our old townhouse tried to have. haha.

Bug again, if you wish to cover a popcorn ceiling, you might need to put something between the rough ceiling and this paper, even though it is quite heavy.


For an expansive and low ceiling as in an open floor plan, here’s what I think is a good idea.


I would add either beams or very shallow coffers. (we’ll get to that in a sec)

Sometimes the beam will make sense, because there’s already a post holding up the ceiling somewhere. That is a logical place to run a beam if there isn’t one there already. But sometimes there’s the one post and what would make sense is to add a beam going perpendicular and possibly another post, or not.

my old home awkward floor planFor instance, in our old townhouse. There’s a post located just as you are coming up the stairs from the front door. It’s difficult to see here, but there’s a steel beam, covered with sheet rock running along the length of the room attached to the post. You can see it better if you go back to the original post.

If we had wanted to, we could’ve run a faux beam running perpendicular and intersecting the post. I don’t think that would’ve looked good in this case, however.


via-lifestyle-and-design-beadboard-ceiling-low-ceiling - problem ceilings

Lifestyle and Design


I think a better solution would’ve been to do a very shallow coffer, with or without beadboard. Something like the ceiling above.

Below is a classic coffered ceiling. This room is easily nine feet and maybe ten feet high, up to the top of the ceiling.


This classic living room by Joseph Kremer is perfect.


If you look in my portfolio, there are numerous examples of beautiful coffered ceilings, both shallow and more traditional like the one above.

Another problem with a coffered ceiling might be if it’s dark and heavy AND in a large space, like we saw here.

Should you paint the inside of a coffered ceiling?




I never have, but you can. I think the ceiling should be high. And certainly for a coffer as deep as the one above, it needs to be at least a ten foot high ceiling.

Next up in Problem Ceilings are those pesky attic ceilings with all sorts of angles, dormers, pitches. It can get confusing as to what’s the ceiling and what’s the wall?


I usually paint it ALL ONE COLOR. In so doing, it will help the room look softer and less choppy. I usually do a shade of white or cream. But I’ve also done khaki and gray.


problem ceilings - attic ceiling - room by Nicole Balch of Making It Lovely

Beautiful office before done by Nicole Balch of Making It Lovely for the One Room Challenge™.

Look at all of those crazy angles!

Room by Nicole Balch of Making Lovely. And she did!

And the finished room! Great job!

The wall-color is Benjamin Moore Brandy Cream oc-4 and 1030


Above and below by Tim Barber


Fabulous bathroom. I love the accent of the aqua above the tile.


Tim Barber


His work is totally awesome!


for more blue ceiling and wall ideas, click here.


The next kind of problem ceiling sometimes are tray ceilings.


Julie Nightengale - beautiful job with this dining room and love the architectural detailing and how she dealt with this problem ceiling

Julie Nightingale

I think painting the ceiling the taupe provides great balance in this elegant dining room. This is also a wonderful solution when there’s a large space above the window. The architectural detailing is beautifully done here.



source unknown but the color looks like Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments. (one of the Laurel Home colors.)


I love what they did here. It’s like little trays which I think look fabulous as they coordinate with the French doors. Beautiful design!

Striking entrance by Laura Covington. Pale blue, grey, greens are absolutely gorgeous for ceilings.


Again, source unknown. But, I adore this charming galley kitchen and they way they handled the little tray ceiling.


The rest of the post is not so much about problem ceilings, but some interesting ideas for decorating more regular kinds of ceilings.


ceiling decor

Oh my, this was stenciled on! I have a lot of respect for someone who has the skill, patience and spinal column strength needed to accomplish something like this. If you like this or just want to fantasize about the possibility or can afford to have someone else do it, please take a look here. It’s an incredible site filled with tons of wonderful images.

Here’s the same pattern done on the wall, reversing the dark and light. I rather love it!


Royal Design Studio


ceiling decor

Source unknown. But I love this stenciled design on the ceiling



Instant warmth and texture of the grass cloth on this ceiling in this elegant room by interior designer, Brian Gluckstein.


ceiling decor

Love how designers Deb DePeter and Becky Tellefsen took the paper all the way around to the ceiling. Again, I think this is a great look for a smaller space like this entry.



An immensely elegant bathroom by Kerry Joyce.

Love the planked and lacquered teal ceiling treatment.


And below, we’ll finish with this beautiful breakfast room ceiling from a project I got to work on a few years ago. The client was inspired by a room she had seen in a magazine and her builder copied it!



You can see the rest of this lovely home here.


six types problem ceilings - dozens of solutions


And here’s another post with lots of architectural ceiling detail and some breathtaking ceilings.



PS: Please check out the newly updated Hot Sales. Okay. My catalog says that the Serena and Lily sale was supposed to end last night.



However, the promo code: DECORATING still works for 20% off. I don’t know for how much longer, however.

***Oh, I almost forgot.

In my last post about 20 timeless kitchens, I linked to a wonderful blog post by a fabulous kitchen designer, Heather Hungeling. Her post gives a thorough review of the new Azerocare treatment mentioned in my post

that makes marbles impervious to etching and stains from acidic and oily foods.


7th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2020 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Hilary - May 8, 2019 - 8:46 AM

    Hi! Based on the earlier version of this post – I painted the ceiling of a rectangular narrow bathroom dark dark grey and added crown molding. The walls are “Luzon” wallpaper (cannot remember manufacturer name) – in grey, black, and white. It came out aces- the ceiling practically disappeared! I was scared at first to do the dark ceiling – but your examples gave me heart. Thanks again for all the help and fabulous guidance you give people- it is much appreciated!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 8, 2019 - 11:21 AM

      Hi Hilary,

      Thanks so much! Yes, I changed out a lot of images. And, it’s not that they are bad, just that I wanted to infuse some new blood.ReplyCancel

  • Pat - April 21, 2019 - 8:50 AM

    Dear Laurel
    I love using paintable wallcovers in my old house. It covers a multitude of sins and gives another dimension to my white on white theme. Also, it is an easy DIY project.
    Have a blessed holiday!!

    • Laurel Bern - April 21, 2019 - 11:39 AM

      Blessings to you as well, Pat. White-on-white always makes my heart sing!ReplyCancel

  • Laura A - April 13, 2019 - 12:38 PM

    Hello Laurel,

    No popcorn ceilings but I do have very textured painted ceilings (like cake frosting) and my walls are an orange peel texture. Without asking for advice specific to my situation, do you have any feelings about these two widespread paint techniques? They feel very dated to me, but not as egregious as popcorn.

    *Note: I live in an area where dark ‘Tuscan’ kitchens are still considered the height of chic. Difficult to find decorators providing new traditional/classic design. Luckily I grew up in DC, so have seen many classic interiors and will try to create one here in the Land of the Live Laugh Love wall decal. Your website has been life-changing for me. I plan to purchase your rolodex asap.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 14, 2019 - 2:03 AM

      Thanks so much Laura! The orange peel walls generally come about because of the nap of the roller. In the past, if it’s really bad, the painter will skim coat the walls first. As for the cake frosting ceilings, I’m not sure except to discuss it with a contractor to see what they recommend.ReplyCancel

  • Lily - April 2, 2019 - 4:08 PM

    NEVER paint popcorn unless it’s already been painted. That can seal it and prevent anyone from removing it without replacing the sheetrock.ReplyCancel

  • Jean - April 2, 2019 - 9:07 AM

    Dear Laurel,
    Thank you for the beautiful post about ceilings. I’d love to do wood on my vaulted living room ceiling, however, I’m afraid to draw attention to the weird flat ledge that is the bump out of a neighboring room’s ceiling. Have you ever had to deal with this issue?

    Also, when my mother had her farmhouse remodeled about fifty years ago, the contractor was kind enough to use the popcorn texture on the WALLS as well as the ceiling. Talk about scraped elbows! He also flocked the Christmas tree with texture while he was at it.

    I’ve been quoted 8K to remove the popcorn on my main floor, ugh

    Thanks again, I love what you do!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 2, 2019 - 2:13 PM

      Hi Jean,

      No, I never added planked wood to any ceiling and can’t visualize what you’re referring to. However, if there’s any weirdness going on, it’s always better not to call attention to it and do whatever it takes to divert eyes away from it. That often means painting everything one color. Funny about the contractor going plaster-crazy!ReplyCancel

  • Laura Springinohio - April 2, 2019 - 2:46 AM

    Of course I devoured this post just like all the others (at 2am, via iPhone, under the covers). But despite all my attempts to not disturb my husband, I had to (sorry 😂) fully laugh out loud at the dark brown and gold ceiling/wall wrapped room! I’m sure it was *just lovely* for the intimate dining room.. it’s just that I instantly started reliving the 40+hrs of horror I endured, removing/repairing/painting the black floral paper from my entire 29×16 open-floor-plan kitchen ceiling.

    With the expansive coffered ceiling in my current family room project, I heeded your advice and painted the walls, giant built-in and ceiling all the same color white!! We did tap the brakes just a bit, and left the stained wood inside the coffer and painted just the beams. (Which was a lot more work!) It ties the room into the rest of the house for now, in all its orange wood glory, which is good for now. It may go all white some day 😊. I used BM White Dove, which I’m generally pleased with, but it ended up just a hint too gray and not quite enough creaminess for this dark north facing room. (But I am admittedly neurotic about color)! I’m hoping when the wood floors go in, the room will go back to reflecting a lot more warmth.🤞🏻

    As for the ceilings in my dreary entrance hallway, could I, would I, do I dare paint the stippled ceiling that ethereal wonderful light blue? Probably a flat sheen to minimize the texture and white walls?—or would it just look too ridiculous?? The texture is not as bad popcorn or the frosting, mine is maybe like a chicken coop dirt floor!? (Did I really just try to convince you that’s better than popcorn?!!I’m already convinced and on-board that it’s worth all the extra diy work/cost to beadboard that baby, but could I get away with a textured blue ceiling for a few more years? 😬ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 2, 2019 - 2:09 PM

      Oh, I don’t know Laura. Some days I wish there were three of me. One of me needs more sleep.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - April 1, 2019 - 9:21 PM

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - April 1, 2019 - 6:40 PM

    We have popcorn and awkward ceilings! Our house is a ranch with a second story addition. They added a… vaulted ceiling (?) in the living room, but most of the living room is in the low ceiling. The very front of the living room continues the roof line from the addition, so the ceiling goes abruptly very high, right over the fireplace, but not centered (argh!!!), then slopes steeply down again to the height of the rest of the ceiling. It’s super weird.

    I’ve been wanting to cover the popcorn for ages but my dear husband says it’s too difficult to DIY. Our budget for home improvements that are purely aesthetic has taken a back seat to the boring but necessary HVAC, etc! 🙂 The awkward slopes would require a full remodel. Fortunately we are moving to a beautiful four square with charm to burn and NO popcorn!ReplyCancel

  • Melanie Houck Poland - April 1, 2019 - 5:38 PM

    I have always loved ceilings painted or patterned in colors other than white! Thoroughly enjoyed this story and photos! We just painted several ceilings inside and out in a pale blue and they soar!ReplyCancel

  • Robin - April 1, 2019 - 9:51 AM

    Another beautiful post. We had 8 foot ceilings in our last home and I was happy with the cozy feel for 16 years. In our new home, the ceilings in the open living/dining/kitchen are 12 feet high, and I have struggled with window treatments, furniture scale, and the size of mirrors, art, and accessories. Part of the challenge is the windows are 8 feet high, so there’s an expanse of wall above the windows. We originally hung curtains almost to the ceiling, but they looked disconnected from the windows. Now I’m working with a decorator who lowered the curtains to 18 inches below the ceiling, which is a happy medium. We may also add some trim below the crown molding to “lower” the ceiling. Always love the beautiful pics and inspiration in your posts!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 1, 2019 - 2:50 PM

      Hi Robin,

      Thank you so much! Actually, this is another ceiling problem. Although, not the worst one to have. I think that your decorator made the right choice. If you look again at the Julie Nightingale dining room, I love what they did with the space above the windows. This ceiling looks to be about ten feet, however. There’s another post here where they did a faux transom. Here it is!

      And, there are other ideas in this post about transoms. One can have a transom without glass.ReplyCancel

  • Rachelle Seguin - March 31, 2019 - 7:47 PM

    You’re wonderful. I now have all the knowledge I need to make ceiling decisions.ReplyCancel

  • Antonia - March 31, 2019 - 6:12 PM

    Thank you for this post! Your advice about dark ceilings (which I was considering for my low-ceilinged home office, not knowing any better) just saved me from making an expensive painting mistake. I am going to look into your blue-green suggestions instead. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 8:40 PM

      Hi Antonia,

      So glad that the post is helpful for you. You can go wrong with the pale blue-green ceilings.ReplyCancel

  • Laura Hamburger - March 31, 2019 - 5:18 PM

    See Kips Bay Designer Showhouse 2014 Markham Roberts.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 5:56 PM

      Hi Laura,

      Yes, I know that room well. I posted it here a while back.

      I never focused on the ceiling before. But, yes, now I see that it’s cork. In some images, it actually looks gold, so I think I thought it was some sort of textured gold paint. What do I think? Well, this room can handle it because of the super-high ceiling, intensely saturated wall color and other furnishings. But, like a lot of things that highly skilled/talented designers do, it would be difficult for the rest of us to pull it off, I think.ReplyCancel

  • mrsben - March 31, 2019 - 3:17 PM

    Laurel, you are the only blogger that I have a separate folder for and so many of the images you post have taken over my Pinterest Boards. That’s a compliment BTW as IMHO you are truly the best. Back to the subject of ceilings; my favourites are the tray ones, however my son does have a real tin ceiling in his condo and it is really quite beautiful. (It is a restored older building that was once a City Hall and they kept many of its original elements.) Again, wonderful tips and thank you for sharing your expertise.

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 5:50 PM

      Hi Brenda,

      I’m immensely flattered, but even more so, most appreciative of your wonderful contribution to this blog and your faithful support! xoxo ~ LReplyCancel

  • Rachelle Seguin - March 31, 2019 - 3:04 PM

    Many thanks. And finally, I absotely love your painted ceiling colours. Would you ever use the coloured ceiling treatment on a popcorn ceiling?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 5:49 PM

      Hi Rachelle,

      No, unless maybe to paint it black. Anything to hide the bumps.ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - March 31, 2019 - 2:55 PM

    Hello Cynthia, I hope that you realize that my comment was tongue-in-cheek, and that I really admire the Kremer room. I am sure that an entire library could consist of books about female artists–just think, Georgia O’Keeffe, Grandma Moses, Margaret Bourke-White (Cleveland-related!), not to mention all the other women artists, old and new, with books dedicated to them.

    Of course, art books in interior photos are often props used by stagers or photographers, and my comment was not meant to disparage those actual books in the Kremer-designed living room, but referred instead to the huge stacks of oversized books often seen in interior photos. –JimReplyCancel

  • Morgana - March 31, 2019 - 1:33 PM

    I had 1500sf of popcorn ceilings upstairs when I bought my house. It was old and yellow. I had it tested for asbestos (1979 house) and when the test came back negative I hired two plaster guys who were moonlighting from their union jobs. I paid them $3000 cash, $2 s.f. and they took all of the popcorn down and retextured the ceilings. It was a great price, considering I had 15′ cathedral ceilings.They told me that popcorn was used in the housing boom because it covered bad drywall tape and cracks.The builders promoted it as acoustical, but basically it was just cheap and fast.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 2:37 PM

      Hi Morgana,

      Cheap and fast sounds about right. And, that sounds like a very reasonable price to pay for having all of that removed. I’m sure that it felt so good “after the dust cleared,” haha) to have it all gone!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - March 31, 2019 - 1:19 PM

    Hi DE and Laurel,

    I have removed popcorn ceilings myself (I’m now 70 years old, so not many more years to crane my neck like that!) I started with bathroom ceilings. Popcorn can be steamed off by showers in bathrooms with poor ventilation. My tenants complained of raining popcorn in the shower, so I removed it myself. {Check out Utube for how-to.) Then I moved on to our 880 square foot rec room with coffered ceilings. It’s really a LOVELY walk out basement with a wet bar, fireplace and huge area for a pool table. It took quite a while, it was not difficult, but hard on the neck. Back to the rental, I paid $5,000+ last year to have the rest of the popcorn removed in my 2,400 square foot rental because the popcorn began to break and fall. You cry only once and it’s done.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 2:35 PM

      Wow! I’m impressed Elizabeth. I mean, that is a job not for the faint of heart, or one who gets dizzy looking up, like I do sometimes. It was worse about 5 years ago, however and has calmed down now.ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia - March 31, 2019 - 12:20 PM

    Thank you for the lovely post. I especially like Nancy’s bathroom and the living room by Joseph Kremer. I am not bothered by the coffee table book Women Artist. I believe it was written by Nancy Heller. Women have been missing in a lot of art books and I for one are glad their contributions are being recognized. One again thank you, your posts brighten the day!ReplyCancel

  • nancy keyes - March 31, 2019 - 12:15 PM

    Love this, Laurel! And thanks, as always when you use our photos! I LOVE ceilings and absolutely treat them as a 5th wall. When we redid the bathroom we removed the door into a guest room. That wall is where my bath tub is now. We also removed the radiator and the door into our bedroom. It is a “wet room” with the shower on the other side, where the old tub was, with no curb or curtain, just a shower head. The moulding is actually on the ceiling to make it feel higher.
    In our Atlanta home I used anaglypta on a ceiling in a powder room and it looked great.
    We had a lake house years ago and I had the popcorn scrapped off the ceilings. It isn’t really difficult to do, but I would expect a mess.
    Hope that answers some of the questions. XOReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 2:33 PM

      Thanks so much for all of that Nancy! And yes, I love the trick of putting the moulding on the ceiling to make it appear higher. I wrote about that I’m pretty sure in one of the linked to posts. With over 600, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep them all straight. I’m often coming across posts from 2 – 5 years ago that I barely remember writing!

      I figured and maybe you even told me before that there was a lot of reworking going on, because the old bathroom was lovely. Sure, the floor was a bit pedestrian, but with all of your lovely things in it, is quite smashing. That’s a lesson in decorating right there!ReplyCancel

  • Rachelle Seguin - March 31, 2019 - 12:13 PM

    Thanks for clarifying. So it is correct to assume you are including the walls?

    I too love high ceilings and would not willingly live with the standard 8 feet.ReplyCancel

  • Christine Irizarry - March 31, 2019 - 12:08 PM

    Wish I was computer savvy enough to link a photo I found online. In any case there is a blog called that shows an 8’ bedroom ceiling painted in a Benjamin Moore Pearl finish. The walls, trim, and ceiling are all the same color but it’s amazing the effect the Pearl finish has on height perception. I loved it so much that I have used it on my living room ceiling to great effect. The sheen amplifies the light and creates interesting play on the ceiling. I think it would be a good application for a north facing kitchen like mine. Although I have 3 large windows on the north end it is literally cave like. Hope it works.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 2:28 PM

      Hi Christine,

      If you’re on a desktop computer, it’s easier, just copy the URL of the post or image and come back here and paste it in a comment. Or, if you’re a subscriber, you can also attach it to any email I send you and send it back. I’ll get it. :]

      I probably talk about sheen in other posts. A sheen is great for amplifying light, however, if the ceiling has a lot of flaws, they will also be amplified.ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - March 31, 2019 - 11:25 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    This is a great post. I could never go back to a typical 8’ ceiling now that I’ve lived with my cathedral ceilings. But if I had to, these are all wonderful tips.
    I recently re-did my laundry room which has a standard ceiling. I painted the ceiling pink to bring the eye up in this tiny room. I love it! I think that fifth wall can be an opportunity to do something fun.ReplyCancel

  • Rachelle Seguin - March 31, 2019 - 10:23 AM

    I love all your posts Laurel. Do you group ceilings that have a plastered textured look in with popcorn? I have an open floor plan lots of angles and high, textured white ceilings, I struggle with all the angles and adjoining colors. Is painting the whole area white as often recommended?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 10:58 AM

      Hi Rachelle,

      Yes, I group anything any plastered textured look in with popcorn, painted corn grits and fossilized seven minute frosting. ;] Yes, a matte white paint sounds to be in order.ReplyCancel

  • Laura Hamburger - March 31, 2019 - 9:06 AM

    Love your ideas! What works best for acoustics particularly with baby boomers’ hearing difficulties? And what are your thoughts on cork ceilings?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 10:56 AM

      Hi Laura,

      Acoustics are not an area I know more than the average person about. And, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a cork ceiling before.ReplyCancel

  • De - March 31, 2019 - 8:31 AM

    Ohhhhh….the popcorn ceiling. We love the peace and serenity of our home with a stunning southern New England view of water, always shifting and changing with the tides, seals and water fowl visiting…etc. etc. And then you look up to a huuuuuuuge vaulted popcorn ceiling. And, to make it doubly good, that same huge space is repeated on the lower flower (without the vault). And the rest of the house.
    1) How much success have you had with skim coating a popcorn ceiling?
    2) For a small bathroom, 8′ ceiling, would a dark ceiling AND a painted dark door be too much large darkness? I can’t see Nancy Keyes’ door in the after photos above.
    Thank you for your posts! I wish you could see the difference your posts have made in my recent home decisions. Just restyled my coffee table, too, after that post! (P.S. We’ve learned to ignore the popcorn ceiling, but I suppose that’s not officially a renovation or fix, right?!)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 10:50 AM

      Hi De,

      Fortunately, I only encountered a popcorn ceiling twice that I can recall and the best and easiest solution was to cover it with quarter inch sheetrock. So, it’s something to discuss with your contractor.

      I am curious about Nancy’s door, as well. I don’t know what she did with it. But I love the stained door and that is authentic to the house and the time period it was built.

      Re: a painted floor and a ceiling in a bathroom, I can’t really say for sure. In my practice, I don’t think I actually did either, nor have I encountered that, unless the entire bathroom was dark. Whenever I am curious about something like that, I try googling it or looking for it on pinterest.

      The closest is this little gem of a powder room. Sorry, not the best pics.ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - March 31, 2019 - 6:20 AM

    Hello Laurel, Since I have already recorded my opinions on ceilings, I will limit my comment to the Joseph Kremer room, which overall I like very much. Right away I saw those four white lampshades, the main focal points–in fact, I thought at first there were four identical lamps. I seem to recall that you recommended that lamps were better turned off in most photo shoots, and that might have worked here.

    Besides, I am not sure that so many lamps are necessary with all those Van de Graaff generator-looking things, which probably by themselves could produce enough light for the entire room. From the evidence, Mr. Kremer has redecorated Dr. Frankenstein’s castle.

    The room is admirably limited to two coffee-table books, but I find their titles a bit odd. The book with the expansive title Women Artists is not itself very substantial, as though the author were not that interested in the subject (Give ’em the vote, and the next thing, they will want to become artists!). The Collectors is even thinner–no self-respecting collector could have been responsible for producing a book so meager. I don’t know where Mr. Kremer buys his books. As I intimated before, art books for the sake of decor can be self-defeating.
    p.s. I do not mean to pick on Joseph Kremer. Just the contrary, his attractive room is what drew my eye for a closer examination, and I am naturally analytical.ReplyCancel

  • Veronica Solomon - March 31, 2019 - 2:01 AM

    How funny that your post is about ceilings. I’m about to ramp up my 8’ ceiling for my one room challenge room, plus also renovating my master bathroom and planning an interesting ceiling there too. It’s also 8’. Great ideas as always.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 31, 2019 - 2:09 AM

      Oh, good luck with your one room challenge Veronica. Can’t wait to see the results. Your work is always stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Eaton - March 31, 2019 - 1:52 AM

    Great Blog…. want to save this one 🙂ReplyCancel