My condo roofline is deeply pitched to allow for a central cathedral ceiling. It was built in the 1980s when the great room-open plan interior thrived. From the front door, you enter a large open rectangular room with a high A -shape-pitched ceiling. The foyer is at one end of the great room with a bank of windows at the other side—a twelve-foot peak ceiling in the center. The peak pitch goes into the bedrooms and baths located on one side of the room. The other side of the great room has the kitchen and dining room, but they have a flat ceiling.
As you can see in the main sitting room space. I have a central cathedral ceiling. The bedrooms are to the left, but as you can already see, I have slanted walls in the main living room.
Some day soon, I will share how I decorated the great room and kitchen, but today I want to tell you how I dealt with hanging art in the two bedrooms which are at the end of the central pitch celing. The upper level of the condo has a main bedroom with a bath and a second bedroom. The bedrooms are at outside on the far end, so the height of the ceiling is sloped lower than the great room. The bath is between the bedrooms, remains under the center of the area, and has a high 12 ft cathedral ceiling. The bed is centered on the back wall in both rooms.
What is a cathedral ceiling?
When reading about the architecture involved, I found people may use the words cathedral and vaulted ceiling interchangeably. However, there are real architectural differences between the two. A cathedral ceiling has two slanted sides meeting at a central height. Similar to an A-frame. It follows the pitch of the roof. Cathedrals of medieval times also used this structure to create an impressive and majestic area for the people to worship. Today the cathedral ceiling is meant to express an open and impressive area for the home.
The Problem/uneven slanted ceiling
After painting the bedrooms and buying new linens, I wanted to hang the wall art I had collected for each bedroom. In the grandkids’ room I started to hang these beautiful little girl theme art pieces, However every time I walked into the room, I found myself going over to straighten the frames only to find they were straight. I even brought in a small level to check. I finally realized the slant of the ceiling and wall was throwing off my eye perception. I found it extremely annoying, and even though I knew the art was straight, I could only see them as crooked!
I went on to Google to attempt to find a solution. My research sent me to various websites and Utube locations. Here is a basic summary of what I learned:
Solutions for a slanted ceiling
Actually, you can do a few things with the room: you can choose to embrace the slant or you can try and draw the eye down into the room away from the slant, or you can try to create an optical illusion.
- Make the wall and ceiling identical by painting both or covering with wall paper
- Bold paint or dramtic wall covering on the slanted wall only
- Add a string of lights along the slant. Place light/laps to bring more light to that area of the room.
- Place a single very large artwork on the wall with the slant
Draw eye down
- Place the bed with a headboard and matching bedside tables and lamps to draw your eye to the bed as you enter
- Use bright or dramatic bed linens and pillows for the same effect.
- If the slanted wall does not have a bed, place a dresser or table and design a vignette as a focal point- grouping on the table to draw the eye to the table. Arrange artwork directly above the table- again, focus on the vignette and not the slanted ceiling
- Place a large horizontal mirror on wall above bed or dresser
- Use shelves in the space; even if above the bed . It makes a straight line for the eye to find
- Builtins: bookcase to ceiling or wardrobe with straight up and down doors- again a linear focus for the eye
- Shiplap or bead board paneling on the wall-straight lines dominate the space
- Arrange pictures/artwork in a geometric shaping. To distract and confuse with different disorganized pattern
I chose my solutions from the optical illusion suggestions.
I found this decorator on Utube with some ideas on a slanted ceiling art work
Here are some photos of suggested fixes:
I framed the three pieces with the same gold frame in the grandgirls’ room. I then spaced them evenly across the wall, contained in the headboard space. The main trick was arranging them in a slight isosceles triangle shape within the middle picture at the apex above the two even side pictures.
To divert here for a moment, I want to talk to you about the artwork. I found a local artist who paints in a New England/Colonial style. I purchased the little girl wearing a Colonial white cap and dress. I found a white christening gown at a local thrift shop and a white bonnet on Etsy to continue you in that mood. There is a fantastic art and frame shop near me. I had a local shop stitch them into black clothes and frame them, and I loved how they came out.
Now back to the optical illusion. The triangular setting of the artwork has dramatically helped me not think of the imagined slant in the pictures, but I sometimes notice the pitch. My remedy for that is I plan to buy a two-by-two board and place it horizontally just above the images to give me a “new” ceiling line- I will paint it the same color as the wall. That will reinforce the illusion of a straight line for me.
Originally I had placed one large painting on the wall above the headboard, but I found an inspirational bedroom on Pinterest, so I put the large painting in the office. My inspiration room was a tribute to the Old Victorian rooms I discovered while living in Europe. I love the cluttered: arrangement and the richness of the whole wall’s use of gold frames. I attempted to copy that as best I could.
I still have to find the wall mirror. I have the bench for the end of the bed. Still trying to figure out how I like the lamps there; I will likely switch those out for two matching gold brass lamps. I cannot add all the ceiling trim, but it is beautiful and typical of the older homes we visited in Ireland and England.
Now back to the wall art. In keeping with the optical illusions of the triangle, I arranged the artwork in an obtuse triangle pattern. Perhaps because the angle is more extended and broader and the fact that I have more pieces, I found this pattern worked completely for me. As I mentioned above, I am still working on this room. I still have some paintings to hang and a couple of mirrors to get the opulent effect of my inspiration wall. Again gold framed, arranged in a triangular pattern. But I am pretty pleased with the look.
I hope this information helps anyone out there trying to work with artwork on a slanted ceiling.