inspiration6 min read

Why you should paint or wallpaper your ceiling

Ceiling painted in Lick paint Orange 02

WordsFrankie Marqueé


Whether it’s ceiling paint or ceiling wallpaper that takes your fancy, you’re 100% guaranteed to add character and can even adjust your room’s proportions for the better.

Discover the benefits of painting or wallpapering your ceiling. It’s time to pay attention to the often-overlooked ‘fifth wall’...

What is the 5th wall?

If you’re finding it hard to get your head around the idea of decorating your ceiling in anything other than white, then let language be the first thing to ease you into it. Add to your decorator’s dictionary the term ‘the fifth wall’ AKA the ceiling. It’s a way of referring to the ceiling because it’s a reminder that it’s not a non-entity to neglect, but another space to colour, to add pattern, to introduce texture just as you would on the other walls in your room.

Love the idea of wallpapering but fear it’s going to take away from your prized collection of decorative antiques – cabriole legs and Rococo shell carvings and all? Or that it could become far too fussy in close confines with your heavily patterned three-seater sofa? Then take it to the ceiling like our Colour Consultant Sam suggests: “When a room has beautiful features and stunning furniture, wallpapering can sometimes be too much, a distraction overload. Wallpapering the ceiling can bring balance without taking anything away.”

When a room has beautiful features and stunning furniture, wallpapering the ceiling can bring balance without taking anything away.


Naturally, what you choose to put on your fifth wall needs to be in harmony with the whole colour palette, but you can absolutely start with your ceiling and work downwards. We suggest that if you pick the ceiling wallpaper route, pull out a hue or two from it to form the rest of your room’s palette. If the wallpaper is busy, favouring neutral paint colours for your remaining walls will help to achieve balance.

Why you should paint or wallpaper your ceiling

If you’re not already tempted to take paint or paper to your room’s crowning glory, there are plenty of benefits to mull over that’ll have you reaching for the step ladder and embracing neck ache like there’s no tomorrow. From enhancing period features (ceiling roses, that’s you) to helping your room feel larger, here are eight reasons why you should paint or wallpaper your ceiling:

1. It can make a room feel larger

It’s no secret that paint and pattern are ingenious tools when it comes to playing with your room’s proportions. Use cool-toned light hues like White 02 or Grey 01 and you’ll help your space feel that bit taller and loftier, especially if your ceiling colour is lighter than what you’ve put on your walls. That’s why bright white is the go-to option, but remember it’s not your only avenue. Lightly tinted colours will give the illusion of receding walls too so don’t rule out contenders like Pink 01 and Blue 01.

Lick interior trends blue painted living room with white painted ceiling
Neutral living room walls painted in Lick paint Pink 02 with picture rail

2. It can make a room feel cosier 

On the other hand, not everyone wants to inch their ceiling higher and bring in the breeze. The good news is then that your ceiling can do the exact opposite and enhance the hunker-down vibe you’re going for. Create a cosy, cocoon-like effect with darker, warmer colours like inky Blue 07 and deep and blanket-like Green 03 and you’ll bring the ceiling height lower. Sam suggests both wallpapering and paint add prettiness and intimacy. Try designs like Electric Poppies 02 by designer Natasha Coverdale (and tick off 2021's maximalist interior design and maximalist wallpaper trend at the same time).

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