Real Estate Tips: Transform Your Space Through the Fifth Wall (Ceiling)

If you’re looking to transform a space with minimal cost and effort, consider looking up … to your ceiling. This area, now being called the fifth wall in a room, gives homeowners the opportunity to provide their touch of personalization and that wow factor to a room, without all the resources required from a full renovation. No matter what route you take to pizzazz your “fifth wall”, replacing an ordinary ceiling with any interesting elements provides a differentiator for your home. See below the top three ways in which you can transform your ceiling, with excerpts pulled from an article written by Barbara Ballinger from Realtor magazine.

1. Paint

This is the least expensive way to make a ceiling stand out and alter its look without major architectural change. To add depth, many decorators will encourage homeowners to paint their ceilings a slightly lighter version of what’s used on the walls. But sometimes an unexpected hue can be the easiest way to update a room. For example, a darker grey can give a room a modern edge without being too overpowering.

2. Wallpaper

While many see this option as a throwback, wallpaper is once again finding favor among design professionals - and for multiple reasons. “A graphic paper can define an activity area in an open-plan space; colorfully patterned papers can pull together a palette in a room; and gold, silver, or pewter leaf paper, which we use often, add stature, drama, and radiance when coupled with the right lighting,” says Chicago-based designer Jessica LaGrange. “Wallpaper can hide cosmetic blemishes or introduce pattern in rooms where all the walls are taken such as a kitchen with copious cabinetry.” La Grange warns against choosing paper for the ceiling that delineates a clear top or bottom. One way to hedge bets is to suggest one of the newer, easy-to-remove wallpapers from places like Chasing Paper.

3. Millwork

While woodwork brings depth to the interior spaces, architectural trim can also be used more elaborately, atop a ceiling in recessed grids or in what’s known as a tray design, where one large central portion is recessed. Millwork can also help define an area in an open-plan home, highlight features such as skylights, unify adjoining rooms, or baffle sound. One DIY technique that’s attracted attention involves the use of manufactured shiplap boards with grooves that fit together snugly to create and updated farmhouse look. For a more modern vibe, Bob Zuber of Morgante Wilson Architects recommends trim with a slated profile rather than straight rectangular boards. He advises keeping millwork in the right proportion to the ceiling’s height: “four-inch crown is good for an 8 or 9 foot ceiling.