Ceilings tend to be forgotten spaces, ending up as bland, boring and blasé. They are often considered only as functional elements for lighting, vents, or ducts, leaving the space cluttered and unattractive. When time is spent integrating ceilings into a design, the ceiling can be beautiful, interesting, and make a space feel truly complete.

The treatment of a ceiling can help define a large space such as the lobby of the 1901 Carolina Hotel at Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina…

Glave & Holmes-Look Up-Lobby

…or help give an impression of separate spaces as in these floating panels above each massage table at the Colonial Williamsburg Spa.

Glave&Holmes-Look Up-Williamsburg Spa

A ceiling can be highly decorative, or just add a single focal point as in this residential porch where geometric shapes celebrate the artistry of plaster.

Glave&Holmes-Look Up-Residence Stairwell


Ceilings can also help confirm the tone of a room. A heavy crown molding treatment can help a space feel warmer and more intimate, which can be ideal for a small sitting area…


…or a neutral colored wood treatment can add interest and allow the ceiling to create a quiet, friendly space that still feels light and airy.


Sometimes it is necessary for a ceiling to have many ducts and vents crisscrossing the space. One way to take the attention away from these functional items is to create a floating panel or cloud and allow the other items to fade into the background, as designed for this ballroom space at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.


The Hotel and Home studio at Glavé & Holmes Architecture invites you to “look up!”…and let us know what you find. What are some of your favorite ceiling treatments?

Linda Coile
Assoc. AIA
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