The Fifth Wall

Interior Design Chicago Area

A friend of mine told me of one of her favorite dreams. She loved to decorate, visit showrooms and forage antique markets to find “just the right treasure." Her house was lovely, totally finished. In her dream, she wandered through her home and found a whole new room to decorate.

We overzealous designers can be like that!

The fact is, rooms are not just composed of four walls and a floor. There's a fifth—often forgotten—dimension in every room of your house. The ceiling.

Today's ceilings can go far beyond paint color and moldings. They can embrace cornices, corbels, wallpaper, patterns. Where borders used to be the name of the game, now hand-painted artwork has stepped in—if the room calls for it.

As a source for light, beautiful fixtures can draw your eye up, highlight artwork with pinpoint beams and soften a room's mood and atmosphere. Fine art lamps are especially taking the design world by storm because of their innovative, one-of-a-kind shapes, crystal, beadwork and hand-made designs.

Interior Design Chicago Area

Historically, if you think back to palace settings in Versailles for example, the “fifth wall” was an intrinsic part of a room's unique story. Opulence and gild were center stage then, but now ceilings can focus on modern elements such as a bold slash of color, architectural elements, fabric, metal or texture.

As a designer, I can't help but think in terms of real estate. Not only the physical address and setting where a client lives but the real estate inside the house—where furniture and artwork are placed…how each room lives with its belongings and its inhabitants. I personally find the ceiling a very exciting piece of unexplored real estate—a new place I can consider, create and conquer.

Perhaps I'll tell my friend to look up. It would be a dream come true.

Interior Design Chicago Area Katie Wozniak, President, Katherine Elizabeth Designs

more of our favorite ceilings from past projects...

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