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How to wallpaper a ceiling, plus 12 colorful examples of this retro ’70s home decor trend

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How to wallpaper a ceiling, step-by-step (1979)

By Larry Geisinger

Covering a ceiling is not as easy as hanging a wall, but with a little care (and a little help) you can end up with a perfect job.

Kitchen dining area with a floral wallpapered ceiling

Remember, a ceiling must always be hung first; the vertical wall strips are added later. However, before the ceiling is covered, the plumb line for the first wall strip should be drawn so you know exactly where the ceiling strip should start.

Match this distance at the opposite wall and then draw a pencil line connecting both points on the ceiling by stretching a cord. As with hanging walls, first cut all your strips to length.

How to wallpaper a ceiling, step-by-step diagram from 1979

Prepare a work scaffold; a few planks set at a convenient height is preferred.

Start at one end, unfold a booked strip and smooth the strip so the edge matches the ceiling pencil line. Use the palm of your hand to shift the covering where necessary, and then brush flat to remove any air bubbles and also insure good contact for the adhesive to grab.

The excess covering that extends down the wall should not be trimmed flush with the corner; rather, it should extend down about 1/2 inch so the wall strips can overlap.

To do this, firmly push the covering into the corner and then draw a blunt toothpick across the corner to further crease the strip. Then pull away the strip slightly and cut about 1/2 inch away from the crease with scissors.

A small dining area with Asian-inspired wallpaper on walls and ceilings
A small dining area with Asian-inspired wallpaper on walls and ceilings

Wallpaper your ceiling? Ceiling of room should be given more attention (1972)

By Carleton Varney

Recently, while going through the ordeal of a session in the dentist’s chair, I found myself staring at the uninteresting, bland, colorless ceiling, and wondered why more people do not color or paper ceilings.

Naturally, I made my decorative suggestions to my dentist, adding that the room could use an attractive light fixture, too.

Go with a pattern or bright colors for your ceilings. I just painted all the ceilings in a Florida apartment soft turquoise blue to bring the ocean and sky inside. The soft blue ceilings can go with any colored walls, painted or papered, which you may choose.

Brightly-colored wallpapered ceilings


Have a colored ceiling in the bedroom

Bedroom ceilings are particularly important in the decorative scene. After all, we spend a lot of time in bedrooms, and shouldn’t we have a colored or gay wallpaper ceiling to look at while relaxing in bed?

Have a colored ceiling in the bedroom


Scattered florals or plaids for a wallpapered ceiling

When planning hospital decor, I always recommend scattered floral or plaid designs for the ceilings in the patients’ rooms.

Scattered florals or plaids for a wallpapered ceiling

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Decor for the master bedroom

I use wallpapers on the ceilings in residential decorating almost all the time. For the ceiling of the master bedroom, why not consider a flowered wallpaper — a loosely-scattered floral pattern on a background of white or a soft shade of pink, green or beige.

Groovy ways to wallpaper your master bedroom


Have the wallpaper match the drapes and bedding

Select a wallpaper that has a coordinating fabric so the fabric can be used for window valances and draperies as well as bedspreads.

Have the wallpaper match the drapes and bedding


Try to go with light colors

Stay away from dark wallpapers for bedroom ceilings — dark colors tend to make ceilings appear lower.

Stay away from dark wallpapers for bedroom ceilings

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Ceiling decor for kids, too

In children’s rooms, I often use stripes of alternating solid colors to create a tent effect on the ceiling. The tent can be created with paper, vinyl or with fabric, and there are many tent borders of wallpaper or vinyl wallcovering.

Ceiling wallpaper and decor is for kids, too

Vintage wallpapered ceiling in a child's room - pink and white decor


Kitchen with a mod pattern on the ceiling

1970s kitchen with a mod pattern on the ceiling


Yellow kitchen with a bright matching wallpapered ceiling

Yellow kitchen with a bright matching wallpapered ceiling

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Wallpaper with large white flowers on a black background

Vintage kitchen wallpaper with large white flowers on a black background

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