Look up! You might spot wall­pa­per, colour or even a mu­ral – state­ment ceil­ings are hav­ing a mo­ment


Lyt­tel­ton cou­ple Kris and Alex Her­bert lit­er­ally shed blood, sweat and tears when they cov­ered their ceil­ing in bam­boo wall­pa­per (see right).

“It had to be done in one go, and we wanted it in be­fore all the fur­ni­ture was there,” says Kris of the huge 400sqm area they cov­ered in just one night. There’s a spot above their study nook with a patch of blood where Alex cut him­self as the pair worked late into the wee hours.

“It was a killer work­load. There was no faffing about with glue; we just sta­pled it di­rectly onto the struc­turally in­su­lated pan­els,” Kris re­calls.

The bam­boo pa­per-clad ceil­ing brought much-needed warmth to the vast space – a re­build of the former Lyt­tel­ton rugby club. White was never an op­tion. “Plas­ter would’ve been too echoey in this space, and it was too big to go all white,” says Kris.

The ceil­ing is of­ten an over­looked blank can­vas, but savvy dec­o­ra­tors think of it as a “fifth wall” and know it can be used to change the feel­ing of a room, ei­ther with paint or wall­pa­per.

Kris and Alex couldn’t be hap­pier with their de­ci­sion: “Don’t be afraid to try new things, look around and dream some­thing crazy.” >

Wairarapa artist Rhondda Greig painted her kitchen ceil­ing pink and blue (see right); she has yel­low ceil­ings in the liv­ing room and apri­cot in the bath­room. Yel­low on the south side has brought warmth to the liv­ing room as did the apri­cot in the bath­room, which also worked well with green trims and views to the trees out­side.

Home is the one place where you can ex­per­i­ment, says Rhondda. “If it all goes wrong, you can al­ways paint over it.”


Re­sene’s Karen War­man has these words of ad­vice: Con­sider what the room is used for, who uses it and what time of day it is lived in most. Also think about the feel­ing you are try­ing to cre­ate. Is it a glam­orous space, or a room for re­lax­ing? When choos­ing ceil­ing colours, place the colour sam­ple over­head to give you an idea of how it will look. Brighter and deeper colours are rec­om­mended for rooms that don’t have a lot of light. It’s com­mon to paint a ceil­ing in a matt fin­ish but metal­lic fin­ishes add a touch of glam­our and work well in pow­der rooms or bed­rooms. Metal­lic fin­ishes or higher-sheen fin­ishes ac­cen­tu­ate colour. Be­ware of go­ing too glossy as it can look glary. Don’t limit your­self to one colour. Cre­ate pat­terns, stripes or use anaglypta wall­pa­per for a tex­tured ef­fect and paint over it.

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