For Inspiring Rooms, Just Look Up
Wall to Wall with the Decorating Divas
December, 2004 - Issue #3
So you've been living with the same wall color for years and yearn for a change, but you aren't quite prepared to paint your walls one of the latest new colors... What else can you do for a fresh look? Think beyond the walls - how about the ceiling or the trim?

Donna: A few years ago, Anne and I wanted to do something unique in an otherwise average study/home office. We decided to install reed fencing on the ceiling and finish the look by adding some wooden beams. The walls were painted a warm butterscotch, which complimented the color of the reed fencing. Then the beams were painted black. Although ceiling beams generally give off a more traditional feel, painting them black and hanging a contemporary ceiling fan made them feel cleaner and less traditional. More recently, we completed a similar project where 4-feet by 6-feet bamboo floor mats were installed on the ceiling of what we have named the Zen Room. The bamboo mats were stapled directly to the ceiling and a 1-inch jute ribbon was hot glued directly over the seams. The walls were painted a deep chocolate brown, enhancing the beauty of the natural bamboo ceiling. The room was finished off with two chaise lounges angled on a woven paper rug with a chocolate calfskin border. Some of the owner's favorite artwork was hung is the room to complete the look.

Anne: Another idea for ceilings is to "paper" them. I recently applied maps to the ceiling of a study. Since the study was being used by the entire family, including young children, the client opted for a colorful look. Retro road maps were purchased on eBay; the maps have the old gas station labels and lots of assorted colors. The project came out great and the kids are even learning some geography. Alternatively, black and white maps would be a great choice for either a more traditional room or even a contemporary study/home office. The installation of the maps was easy; I just used wallpaper paste and overlapped the maps in different areas.

Another idea is to take a look at the trim and moldings. When I first moved to our home in Texas, I wanted a quick fix to a guest room and really didn't feel like painting the entire room. After all, the painters had just finished painting the room a soft antique white. When I finally decided to use some fabrics and window treatments that were from our previous home in Hong Kong as the starting point, I had to think of something to give the room a little kick (I am not an antique white kind of gal). I ended up painting all the trim, window casings and crown moldings a deep fuchsia pink! It was easy, very inexpensive and only took a few hours of my time.


Donna Lacis and Anne Pryor met over a Crate and Barrel shopping bag in the middle of the Central Shopping District in Hong Kong more than eight years ago. They have been business partners and best friends ever since. They are awaiting the publication of their first book, The Naked Wall: Dress It - Accessorize It. Donna and her husband, Edmund, reside in Hong Kong. Anne, her husband John, and their two sons, Max and Ben, recently relocated to the Santa Clarita Valley from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas.

If you have a decorating dilemma and would like some help, e-mail the divas at
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