Discovering your fifth wall: 6 stunning ceilings

From the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel to the constellations of Grand Central Station, cities across the world are dotted with richly decorated ceilings. And yet, many of us opt for a simple coat of bright white when painting our own ceiling. We’ve gathered six beautiful ideas to help you reclaim and transform your fifth wall.


Image via Pinterest

Flood kitchens, hallways, bedrooms and bathrooms with natural light by switching in large skylights. If your home is particularly contemporary in design then the more industrial modular skylights can be a wonderful option. Embrace the added brightness these sweeping windows create by brushing equally light paint colours onto your walls.


Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue

Gone are the days when ceilings and skirting boards are uniformly painted in a pure white. Dark tones can be swept up the walls and across the ceiling for a feeling of intimacy, while bold hues can be brushed onto your fifth wall to create a striking contrast with the walls below.


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Dark beams can feel a little imposing in smaller cottages or converted barns, often truncating the space. For a lighter and more rustic feel, try sandblasting stained wooden beams to restore their natural shade.


Farrow & Ball Ranelagh

Transform your fifth wall with colour and pattern by wallpapering the ceiling. Starry designs with splashes of gold and silver paint work particularly well in children’s rooms, while seeming to twinkle in candlelit dining rooms.


Farrow & Ball Dead Salmon

For an added touch of period charm, consider cornicing, ceiling roses and plaster moulding to help draw the eye up. Pop by your local DIY superstore for a few of the designs available before fixing to your ceiling with the suggested adhesive. Each intricate detail can then be enhanced with Farrow & Ball Casein Distemper.


Image via Pinterest

If you’re not tempted to dig out your paint brush and overalls, try adding interest with statement lighting. Rattan shades and Moroccan pendants cast light and shadow across the ceiling, scattering delicate patterns throughout the room.

Joanna Spindler


After studying classics and archaeology at the University of Exeter, Joanna quickly fell for the interiors world and has been writing about homes ever since. She recently swapped her London flat for a little cottage in the Dorset countryside. At the weekend, you’ll find Joanna eating her way around the local foodie spots or trying not to fall over during yoga.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist