The Painted Ceiling Trend Done Four Distinct Ways

Painted ceiling details have become the new darling of interiors, featuring stenciling, stripes, tonal color applications, and more. The days of leaving ceilings untouched are behind us, and we’re breaking down four ways designers are adopting the look.⁠

Design by Pierre Yovanovich, Photography by Jean-Francois Jaussaud

Often referred to as the fifth wall, painted ceilings are gaining momentum as designers continually explore interiors through a more holistic lens. Not to be confused with the all-over color drench or contrast trim trends, painting ceiling details bring something new to the table. The look provides opportunities for intricate embellishments and bold statements that draw the eye upward, creating maximum visual impact within a space. Features like hand-painted details on beams and tone-on-tone color applications are cropping up in the work of studios like Duet and Nina Farmer, suggesting a shift in the way we think about ceiling design altogether. 

We’re exploring four ways interior designers are adopting the painted ceiling trend and, quite literally, taking creativity to new heights.

Design by Pierre Yovanovich, Photography by Jean-Francois Jaussaud

Design by Nina Farmer Interiors, Photography by Stephen Kent Johnson

Painted Details on Beams

While perhaps an unorthodox way to introduce pattern, designers are now using a technique that involves painting decorative designs on the beams of a ceiling to add visual interest. This can be a great way to highlight the architectural features of a space, particularly in historic renovations like Portugal’s Quinta da Corte guest house designed by Pierre Yovanovich. Bold, geometric shapes adorn the ceiling beams, creating an artful effect that counters the clean white walls. Designer Nina Farmer also demonstrated this look in her Mediterranean-inspired project that brought modern sensibilities to a historic East Coast home. The pattern repetition visually elongates the room and complements, rather than competes, with the rug pattern below.

Design by Dusty Deco, Photography by Jonas Ingerstedt Photography

Stenciling

While stenciling may bring to mind whimsical nursery themes, don’t be fooled – this painted ceiling trend can be equally at home in primary living spaces. When applied in the right contexts, stenciling offers a great alternative to wallpapered ceilings, creating intricate pattern play with much less permanence. It’s a versatile technique that can be adapted to a range of styles, like the star pattern featured by furnishings retailer Dusty Deco. Time will tell if this particular painted ceiling trend fully takes off in residential projects, but it’s certainly one to watch.

Design by Nina Farmer Interiors, Photography by Stephen Kent Johnson

(L): Design and Photography: Chateau Le Rosey | (R): Design by Nina Farmer Interiors, Photography by David Mitchell

Tone-on-Tone Details

Painted ceiling details can add depth and dimension, particularly with a tone-on-tone application. This look involves using different shades of the same color to create a more subtle, layered effect. By doing so, it can introduce color into a space without feeling overwhelmed. The same principles of a primary color pop can be applied through tone-on-tone painted ceilings, adding nuance while maintaining balance.

Nina Farmer demonstrated another like-minded method in her Midcoast Maine project, shown above. White beams overlay a ceiling painted Benjamin Moore’s Mars Red, creating a striking contrast that beautifully highlights the home’s architectural features.

Design by Duet, Photography by Anson Smart

(L): Design by Duet, Photography by Anson Smart | (R): via Pinterest

Design by Amy Meier Design

Stripes

Look around, and you’ll find stripes everywhere right now in design—painted ceilings included. Call it TikTok’s circus aesthetic or “carnival-core,” but this trend is holding fast as a way of bringing unexpected whimsy to interiors.

An inherently classic pattern, stripes are a longstanding design feature that can add a lot of visual interest to a ceiling. They can be done well in a variety of colors and widths, although thick red and white ceiling stripes are the combination of the moment. Playful yet also sophisticated, ceiling stripes are like a chameleon of design, easily blending into whichever context they find themselves in.

BY: ANASTASIA CASEY

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