Wallpapering the 5th Wall - The Ceiling


When it comes to interior design, we often pay the most attention to walls, floors, and furniture. However, one element that often goes unnoticed is the ceiling. But why limit your creativity to just four walls? Wallpapering the 5th wall, the ceiling, can transform a room into a spectacular visual experience. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of ceiling wallpapering and how it can elevate your design game.

Drawing from her vast expertise, Joanie O'Connor, the visionary founder of Desert Poppy Paper Co., and a leading interior designer with 45 years of experience shares her insights and tips to help you create a truly captivating space.

Floral wallpaper on a kitchen ceiling

Why Wallpaper the Ceiling?

"A ceiling is like the blank canvas of a room, waiting to come alive with color, pattern, and texture," says Joanie. By wallpapering the ceiling, you can:

  • Add depth and dimension to your space, even in rooms with minimal wall space.

  • Create a unique focal point that draws the eye upwards, making the room feel more expansive.

  • Infuse your design with a sense of whimsy, drama, or elegance, depending on your chosen wallpaper pattern.

  • Transform a plain or lackluster ceiling into a stunning feature that reflects your personal style.

Choosing the Right Wallpaper

When selecting wallpaper for your ceiling, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind:

  • When to opt for lighter colors and patterns: lighter hues and subtle patterns can create an illusion of added height and brightness in the room.

  • Consider the room's purpose: Different rooms call for different atmospheres. For instance, a bold and vibrant pattern might work well in a playful children's room, while a more subdued texture or metallic finish could enhance a sophisticated dining area.

  • Balance with the rest of the space: Ensure that the ceiling wallpaper complements the overall design scheme of the room. Consider the existing wall colors, furniture, and decor elements to create a harmonious look.

Prepping the Ceiling

Before starting the wallpapering process, it's essential to prepare the ceiling:

  • Clean the surface: Remove any dust, dirt, or stains from the ceiling. A clean surface ensures better adhesion of the wallpaper.

  • Repair any imperfections: Fill in cracks or holes and smooth out rough areas using appropriate filler material.

Installation Tips

Proper installation is key to achieving a flawless ceiling wallpaper. Joanie shares her expert advice:

  • Use a professional, which ensures the following elements:

  • Use the right tools: You will need wallpaper paste, a roller or brush for application, a smoothing brush or squeegee, a sharp utility knife, and a ladder or scaffolding, depending on the height of your ceiling.

  • Measure and cut with precision: Take accurate measurements of your ceiling and pre-cut the wallpaper accordingly. Make sure to leave a few extra inches for trimming and adjustments.

  • Start from the center: Begin by applying wallpaper paste to the center of the ceiling, and then work your way outward to the corners. This will help minimize air bubbles and ensure a smooth application.

  • Smooth it out: Use a smoothing brush or squeegee to remove any air bubbles or wrinkles as you press the wallpaper onto the ceiling. Work in gentle, even strokes from the center toward the edges.

  • Trim and finish: Once the wallpaper is in place, trim off any excess using a sharp utility knife. Take care to make clean and precise cuts. Finally, wipe away any excess paste with a damp cloth.

Bold geometric wallpaper in a child's bedroom

Embrace the Impact

Ceiling wallpaper offers a unique opportunity to make a bold design statement and turn heads. Joanie encourages homeowners to embrace the impact and take risks

  • Play with pattern and texture: Wallpapering the ceiling allows you to experiment with intricate patterns, bold motifs, or textured finishes that might be too overwhelming on the walls. Use this opportunity to showcase your personality and create a truly captivating space.

  • Consider the room's purpose: Tailor the design of the ceiling wallpaper to suit the function and ambiance of the room. For instance, a serene botanical print might work well in a bedroom, while a glamorous metallic or geometric pattern could amplify the drama in a dining or living room.

  • Emphasize architectural features: Highlight architectural details, such as coffered ceilings or beams, by incorporating complementary wallpaper designs. This can add a layer of sophistication and highlight the unique character of your space.

Gorgeous contemporary art deco wallpaper on the wall and ceiling of a master bedroom


Wallpapering the 5th wall - the ceiling - is a design choice that can transform your space from ordinary to extraordinary. With careful selection of patterns, meticulous installation, and a willingness to take design risks, you can create a stunning focal point that elevates the overall aesthetic of your home. As Joanie O'Connor states, "Don't underestimate the power of the ceiling. It's a canvas waiting to be adorned."

Lastly, when working with an experienced interior designer like Joanie O'Connor, you can benefit from their expertise and years of practical knowledge. They can provide invaluable insights into selecting the perfect wallpaper, ensuring proper installation, and making the most of your ceiling as a design feature.

So, if you're looking to elevate your space and add that extra wow factor, consider wallpapering the 5th wall - the ceiling. Step out of the ordinary and into extraordinary design possibilities.  The ability to purchase wallpaper online, direct to consumer, puts the power in your hands.  Your ceiling will thank you.