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Raise rooms to new heights with eye-catching ceilings

Want to infuse your home with architectural interest? Start at the top.

“The ceiling is the most overlooked design element in a space, hands down,” said Brian Patrick Flynn, whose interiors are regularly featured on HGTV.com and often showcased by his own company, FlynnsideOut Productions.

Consider this: The largest solid surface in a room, besides the floor, is the ceiling.

Instead of leaving it bright white or builder beige, convert this blank canvas into a decorative canopy of color and texture.

Flynn and other influential designers are forecasting a ceiling “revival” in 2015. Fresh interpretations of vintage styles — such as gleaming metal tiles and textural wood beams — are helping inspire that trend, along with new, easy-to-install products that put these ceiling projects well within the reach of today’s do-it-yourselfers.

“Just like people, rooms need different layers to be one-of-a kind,” Flynn said. “That includes a ceiling that makes people look up and scan the entire space.”

Here are hot ceiling trends to take your rooms to new heights:

n Layer on the luster. Stamped metal ceilings have contributed shine and sophistication to American homes since they were introduced in the 1880s. Besides beauty, metal ceilings offer practicality. They resist mold and mildew, offer sag resistance and last longer than plaster or drywall.

Metallaire metal ceiling tiles from Armstrong are available in 12 patterns, and a variety of finishes, including chrome, copper, brass, white and lacquered steel. The lacquered steel panels also can be painted to accent or blend with the rest of the room. Regardless of the finish, the texture of the tiles creates a tactile top layer to the space.

n Mix and match ceiling styles. Some room designers are combining different decorating elements at the top, such as inlaying the recesses of coffered ceilings with gold or copper tiles. Flynn said he’s also a fan of tongue-and-groove ceilings accented with beams. “This adds a ton of visual interest to the room, and can make it feel much larger,” he said.

n Create character with wood. From rustic timber to sleek teak, wood hues help set the tone in a room. Besides imparting a sense of warmth, the grains and knots in wood panels add a textural layer that contrasts nicely with smooth surfaces such as painted walls and granite countertops.

n Add architectural depth. Coffered ceilings first appeared in Roman architecture, and their geometric elegance has graced grand buildings ever since. Today, the cost and complexity of building coffered ceilings have been reduced by lightweight materials and easy-to-install prefabricated systems that boast features like mold, mildew and sag resistance.

Flynn recommends homeowners start thinking about their ceiling by exploring websites for ideas.

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