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Always Look Up – Ceilings as a Design Feature

When designing a room, all aspects of the space should be considered.  Every room has four walls, but look up and you will discover a new dimension to your scheme.  When given some design attention, ceilings can enhance a room just as much as the walls, art and furniture. Ceilings define the height and airiness of a space, and act as a third canvas after the floors and walls.

Covent Garden Hotel‘s room 412 is a cosy hideaway up in the eaves of the building. Warm terracotta red linen by Osborne & Little lines the walls, and we used a leafy Lewis & Wood linen for the headboard. To enhance this secret garden room we clad the eaves in washed wooden panels. This is such a simple trick and it beautifully picks out the sandy tones of the linens below.

As you enter both The Whitby Hotel in New York and Ham Yard in London, your eyes are instantly drawn above eye level to the incredible multi-coloured loom installations that stretch above the reception desks.

These have been created by the artist Hermione Skye, who we discovered at her graduate show at the Chelsea College of Art. These installations encapsulate our design aesthetic, celebrating what we love: textiles, texture and colour. It is fitting that these artworks are the first and last thing you see as a guest. The way the looms traverse the room adds height and interest to the space.

We are lead to believe that a ceiling should always be painted white, but we like to challenge these ‘rules’. In the Drawing Room at Number 16, we have painted the decorative ceiling in a crisp pale blue which adds a freshness to the scheme.

The shade of blue is an unexpected detail that lifts and ties this space together, complementing in particular the beautiful Brunschwig & Fils Edenwood fabric on the armchairs, and my ‘Ashenwood’ fabric for Chelsea Textiles on the curtains.

People tend not to add colour to ceilings in the fear they will make the room feel smaller, but this room is a perfect example of how to draw the eye up and add height to a space.

We can see another example of this in this Barbados project, where the wooden panelled ceiling has been painted in electric blues and a hot pink. The Designers Guild’s Indian Ocean turquoise paint on the high ceiling reflects the water outside and creates an enveloping mood.

We created an enchanting Shepherd’s Hut, where every surface is painted. Inspired by American Folk Art, the hand painted murals depict scenes of faraway lands and mystical creatures roam the walls. Not an inch of the hut was left untouched with detail.

On the ceiling, a deep inky blue sky looks down on the realm below, dotted with tiny white stars. This is such a fun and charming trick to create your own dream-like bolt hole, whether a garden shed or secret hideaway.

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