Things Are Looking Up – The Fifth Wall


The holidays are coming and if you’re family is anything like most, you’re in prep mode. You’ve finished thinking through your menu and guest list. The shopping list is prepared and you’ve set your dining time.

Feeling pretty together, you enter your formal dining room to pull out the silver, crystal and before-pic-craft-room_MHGchina. Turning on the chandelier, you discover, the room is in need of a fresh coat of paint. Your first reaction is a deep sigh because just when you thought this holiday season would be a breeze, you’re envisioning drop cloths, edge tape and a chain-reaction of chores. Take a breath. This is very common and actually presents you with a fun opportunity to really change things up for the holidays.

It’s Just Paint

Perhaps it’s time to think about changing up the color of your room? Most of us don’t consider making any changes to their room colors once established, but sometimes happenstance allows for a little creative action.

In my last blog I outlined how black could be an extraordinary consideration as a wall color. While you may not be ready to “paint it black“, this may be the time to do something out of your comfort zone. Perhaps a deeper shade of your current wall color or complete departure is in order? Again, keep in mind this needed refresh is only an opportunity to try something new and different.


With your guests coming for the holidays, your first inclination would be to not make any drastic changes, but alas, having your friends come and preview your new decor may be exactly what you need to take the plunge into a fun or new paint scheme. Their feedback will enable you to really ‘feel’ the change. Remember, it’s paint and can be changed fairly easily.

The Fifth Wall

images-3If you’d like to make a slight change without it being too drastic, consider painting your ceiling a different or coordinating color. Painting your ceiling can add a dramatic or subtle effect depending on your envisioned outcome.

Consider your ceiling the ‘fifth wall‘ of your room. Painting the ceiling a color other than white not only incorporates a decorative flair, but also provides some cosmetic benefit. Ceiling cracks and slight blemishes can be hidden beautifully with tinted or colored ceiling paint. Ceiling paints are made differently than wall paints because they are formulated to reflect light and hide imperfections.


Tray ceilings lend themselves beautifully to paint color. With the beams painted as trim, your trays will pop providing a really different look. That’s a pretty cool idea.

Most of my work is in Manhattan which presents a plethora of design opportunities (or challenges at times), and over the years I’ve added a couple of signature design elements to my ceiling paint lexicon.

First, when designing a room with large windows offering a vast skyline, I might opt for a light blue ceiling. This creates a continuous visual horizon.  My second favorite is providing the illusion of a higher ceiling, (low ceilings are usually found in an older New York City apartments or homes), by using a satin or semi-gloss paint. Using these formulas allows for light reflection, similar to a mirror, and creates a lot more ceiling height visually.

Dining Room Decorum

Your dining room should offer your guests a feeling of welcome and contentment. Dining and gathering, especially during the holidays, creates a feeling of warmth and closeness for everyone. Take the time to freshen your space and open yourself up to a creative departure from the norm.