Dealing With Sloping Ceilings When Decorating

Make the most of your ceiling pitch with these handy tips!

Make the most of your ceiling pitch with these handy tips!

Britain is full of beautiful properties, but many used for housing stock are fairly old and come with awkward nooks and sloping ceilings which can make renovations and decorations tricky. If your home has such difficult spaces and shapes, fear not: there’s loads that can be done with angular alcoves, low-slung attics, dead spaces and sloping ceilings with some clever planning and smart design choices. Read on for some tips and tricks in working with such unwieldy areas.

Consider Lighting

Many attic and upstairs spaces with sloping ceilings have skylights installed within the room to provide additional natural light. These rooms are often used as bedrooms but this may impact on the space negatively in the spring and summer months when it’s light outside for longer. If you are using a room with a sloped ceiling for a bedroom, either consider carefully where to place the bed (ie, ideally not exactly below it) or install blackout blinds to avoid unnecessary REM cycle disruption. Open shelving or custom-built shelves installed under the sloping area does make for a great alternative if you are able to move the bed elsewhere and can remove the need for a bedside table or cabinet.
Furthermore, lighting should be a serious consideration even where skylights aren’t fitted. Traditional ceiling pendant lights often aren’t appropriate for sloping ceilings because they will hang too low and be restrictive to the movement of those within the room. Instead, wall lights are preferable; and warm-white LED strips can help highlight the space’s unusual silhouette without taking up any precious headspace.

Get Smart With Storage

Where sloped ceilings prove an awkward space underneath for people to pass through, instead this can make the ideal opportunity for storage to be installed.
If the space below isn’t shaped in a manner that’s too tricky to access, off-the-shelf cabinets can be purchased and placed in but many cabinetmakers also offer bespoke carpentry to make something tailored exactly to your measurements. For a more affordable option, open shelving can help make the most of the space and maximise the angles. For example, with bookshelves, books may be piled upwards toward the ceiling’s lowest point to take advantage of space that otherwise wouldn’t be used, or use the difficult ‘dead’ spaces at narrow ends for small and stylish ornaments or trinkets.
For a real budget option, consider DIY’ing your own bespoke shelves – there’s lots of inspiration on websites such as Pinterest and you can build just about anything out of anything if you’re willing to try!

Play with Optical Illusions

Slanted ceilings can make rooms feel a lot smaller than their floorspace actually betrays, but there’s a whole host of clever optical illusions that you can play with to make things feel larger.
A dark rug on light flooring and well lit (preferably downlit from above) can lend the room some structure and create the impression of extra floorspace, and the strategic placing of a mirror toward a tidy and uncluttered area will reflect further. Light colours on walls open up a space but if you want to get colourful, add in a statement wall on a medium-sized vertical to draw the eye. In most rooms you’ll want to avoid painting your sloped surface a dark colour as this could draw it inward and make it feel quite insular, but some bright shades will work to open it up.
Bold prints on furniture or soft furnishings against plain tones help draw the eyes elsewhere and further allude to more space so consider perhaps neutral shades for decoration with a bright colour pop and some black-and-white bold designed cushions or throws throughout. 

Adorn Your Walls

There’s no reason why rooms with sloped ceilings shouldn’t have pictures, portraits or prints on the walls as providing they’re placed appropriately and aren’t too cluttered, they shouldn’t make the space feel any smaller.
There are now specially designed hanging systems for pictures on metal rails that allow for the easy mounting of framed pictures/portraits/prints or shelving and plenty of practical assembly kits can be found in high street retailers cheaply. However, if you’re really concerned about things seeming too ‘busy’ in a space you’re trying to lengthen and widen rather than shrink, consider wall decals. These usually come in the form of stickers and are specifically designed not to loosen; and of course, won’t take up any tangible headspace.

Stick To Minimalist Furniture

Minimalist fixtures and fittings take up the least room physically so work perfectly for rooms with difficult shaped ceilings or walls.
‘Flat’ furniture (not necessarily to be confused with ‘flat pack’ furniture) such as futons and low shelves create more vertical space between the floor and the items placed there and the ceiling, making the room appear considerably taller than it actually is. Light, delicate looking furniture and straight silhouettes without too much detail fit perfectly in this kind of space. Keep the décor as uncluttered as possible, use as few pieces of furniture as possible and try to avoid chunky pieces. 

Use Under-Stairs Space

If one of the awkwardly shaped walls in your room is because of a staircase floating down into it, be sure to take full advantage of the wall space this creates. 
Bare walls, even when not square or rectangular, can be used for shelving, storage hooks or cabinets; or just for pictures and portraits to curate an aesthetic for the room below. There are now furniture companies who specialise in storage solutions for slanted walls and spaces so have a good Google and find one that suits you.
Refresh Renovations have worked with renovation and decoration projects of all shapes, sizes and scopes – and the more awkward the shape, the more we’ll be able to get creative with the challenge! Get in touch with your local Refresh office today to arrange for a free home visit from a renovation expert and start to investigate what may be possible for your rooms.

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