A vaulted ceiling is a ceiling that rises, where one side is shorter than the other side and slopes up in a peak. The slope can be curved, arched or pointed. A vaulted ceiling does not necessarily use the same pitch as the roof. In older homes, most attics have vaulted ceilings, to allow for a space for someone to stand up. In newer homes, most have vaulted ceilings to provide spaciousness, giving the room a bright and airy feeling.
Dealing with the uneven sized walls due to vaulted ceilings can be a challenge to some people. Since the walls are neither square nor rectangular, oftentimes people make the common mistake of hanging several pieces of artwork to follow the slope up; however, this would look awkward in most cases if not done correctly. Others opt to leave the walls bare, due to the lack of ideas on how to decorate them properly.
One design idea that comes to mind is to add crown moldings. There are two ways to accomplish this; one would be to follow the slope and the other is to put the moldings lower from where the ceilings meet the wall and drawing a straight line where the moldings would go. This would allow one to hang moldings lower in a straight fashion, which can also help subdue the appearance of the vaulted ceilings. Choosing the way to hang moldings is a matter of preference; however, if there are obstructions present on the walls, such as windows, air conditioning or heating vents, you may not be able to add moldings if they are too close to the ceilings.
In a bedroom, you can take advantage of the slope to create a sleeping alcove, where the bed can lean against the shorter side of the wall. Put several wood beams on the wall, and then line them up next to each other at least two feet apart to impart the look of a huge headboard. Place a bed table with lamp on each side to anchor the look.
Another idea is to add louvered doors, curtains or shoji screens about three to four feet away from the lower side of the wall to create a much needed storage space.
In a home office, you can tuck in a long narrow desk against the wall, which becomes the work area where a computer and printer would go. Then hang a bulletin board and wall shelves on the taller side of the wall. Smaller pictures and artwork can adorn the shorter side of the wall. Place a wide and tall bookcase on the opposite side of the wall to balance the room.
Paint and Texture
Use the wall under the vaulted ceiling as an accent wall by painting it a different color to make it the focal point of the room. The room should still flow cohesively. Avoid painting it a different and bolder color than the rest of the room. This can make it look out of place, clashing with the other colors used around the house. Use a complementary color instead to make it more pleasing to the eyes. You can also paint the ceilings a paler shade of color used on the wall to make it less prominent.
Use Venetian plaster, sponge or dry brush technique to give the wall more depth and texture. Painting stripes with alternating colors, whether horizontally or vertically can give the wall a contemporary look.
Hanging Accessories and Artwork
Decorate the wall with vaulted ceilings by using a series of mirror panels with size gradually increasing in size. Space them evenly and align them next to each other. The mirror helps make the room look wider and brighter. You can also hang several pictures this way. Hang a huge tapestry or quilt on the taller part of the wall and place a potted plant on the floor in front of the shorter wall to balance the look.