The 10 Coolest Ceilings From Apartment Therapy House Tours We Saw This Year

published Dec 30, 2021
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Murals and supergraphics have certainly been a hallmark of trendy spaces in 2021, and those stripes, arches, and freeform murals tend to have even more grandeur when they stretch all the way up to the ceiling.

Apartment Therapy’s house tours have showcased tons of great, more-is-more ceilings worth calling out this year — from murals that continue all the way up, to fun solid paint choices like bold green and yellow, to patterned wallpaper and ornate detailing.

These tours prove that the ceiling should really be utilized as a fifth wall, so take a gander for some head-to-toe room inspiration.

1. The grooviness of this vibrant NYC rental goes all the way to the ceiling.

As a renter in New York City’s Lower East Side, Maggie Antalek, who owns a mural and decorating business, packs plenty of color and fun into her 700-square-foot apartment. Her personality especially shines through in her hallway, where her black, red, orange, gold, periwinkle, and pink supergraphic stripes reflect off the mirrors and continue all the way up to the ceiling. “Colors make me happy!” she says in her house call. “I’ll simply never be a ‘minimalist’ who focuses on black and white. I love orange. I love pink. I love rainbows. I love metallics. I guess I could even consider myself a maximalist.”

Credit: Shea Keating

2. This home uses ceiling wallpaper in a way you’ve never seen before.

Shea Keating and Rich Lamiroult’s Sag Harbor, New York, home is full of bold colors, eclectic art, and unique details. “It’s a weird modern ranch — I’ve dubbed it the funky ranch,” Keating says in the tour. The creatively camouflaged ceiling fan in one of the bedrooms cements its spot on AT’s list of standout ceilings. Keating used the same Mariko Feather Flock peel-and-stick wallpaper on her bedroom ceiling and the bottom of its fan blades to create a seamless, utterly mesmerizing look.

Credit: Anna Kate Reep

3. A small NYC apartment’s ceiling mural helps it feel like a fairytale.

Broadway costumer Anna Kate Reep’s apartment has tons of whimsical murals throughout (including a replica of the Grand Central Station mural). This delicate floral beauty on her sewing studio ceiling pairs perfectly with her vintage light fixture. “I think you shouldn’t worry if your design ideas would be ‘too much,'” Reep says in her tour. “If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that the world is crazy. Paint your ceiling.” 

4. An antique Cape House is complete with funky zebra-print ceilings.

Massachusetts-based designer Allison Sheffield’s kitchen features another great blue and white wallpaper ceiling (featuring Brunshwig and Fil’s Le Zibre), and the navy zebra print is paired with more blue and white wallpaper on the walls (Schumacher’s Chiang Mai Dragon). It’s a worldly, layered look that’s not too overwhelming — a special ceiling to complement the home’s special antique bow roof.

5. A cozy California rental has the best green dining room ceiling.

Reilly Carpenter and his partner, Daniel, moved into their Hollywood home in January 2020, wooed by its arched picture window, hardwood floors, and Spanish tile. They’ve since upgraded every light fixture and furnished it with eclectic finds. “Our boldest design choice was definitely painting the dining room ceiling forest green,” Carpenter says in the tour. “It’s been polarizing, but our landlord loved it, and so do we.”

Credit: Viv Yapp

6. This formerly beige home got a majorly colorful transformation — ceilings included.

Almost every ceiling in stylist and muralist Rich O’Gorman’s Birmingham, U.K., home has an unexpected color or shape painted on it, and his dining room has some of his favorite elements. “I’ve redecorated the dining room twice since moving in,” he says in his tour. “It was the first room I painted when I moved in, and as my aesthetic grew it no longer felt right, so now it’s a full vibe, and I can’t WAIT to have friends over for dinner parties!”

7. This eclectic ’80s-style maximal house has the coolest tin ceiling.

Meg Gustafson’s house in Chicago is an ’80s dream, and another home filled with playful, colorful ceilings in every room. When she first bought the house, she says in her tour, “there were layers: ’70s carpet, damaged linoleum, and office-style drop ceilings, but they were easy to look past.” The tin ceiling in her kitchen was “the most exciting thing to find under a drop ceiling,” she says. It had slight damage and had last been painted white about 40 years ago, but Gustafson painted over it with a glossy dark gray “with little to no prep,” and it’s completely restored as a moody twist on a classic.

Credit: Maria Pujol

8. A Barcelona apartment has a stunning 19th-Century ceiling.

Xavi Mañé and Ignasi Garcia‘s 1,400-square-foot apartment in Barcelona is filled with beautiful gold leafing and ornate details throughout, and the two come together on the ceilings in the home office space, which is a sight to behold. “Our favorite room is the studio,” Mañé says in the tour. “The spectacular original ceiling from the 19th century, with its moldings, its painting, and its details in gold leaf, is what made us fall in love with the apartment the first time we saw it.”

Credit: Shar Taylor

9. A colorful Colorado home’s bedroom has the boldest glossy yellow ceiling.

Shar Taylor embraces “boldness and vigor and sauciness” in her Colorado home, as evidenced by her bright, sunny bedroom. The yellow theme is strong throughout the space — and, yes, that includes the high-gloss yellow ceiling. “I can be mad and stressed and everything in between, but walking into my room to the sunshine yellow and big windows just envelopes me in warmth and happiness,” she says in her tour.

10. This artist’s Victorian home has a must-see mural that extends across the ceiling.

Artist Karina Mansfield describes the style of her Victorian U.K. home as “bold, fun, spacious, colorful, and quirky.” Inspired by the local landscape as well as the artist Jean Dubuffet, Mansfield painted a striking hallway mural that snakes around the walls and across the ceiling for a grand entrance into the space. It’s not surprising that the hallway is her favorite part of the entire house.