Transitional Lighting

Transitional lighting, not quite traditional, not quite modern, gives us the best of both worlds! It creates a simple yet sophisticated appearance by selecting features from these two contrasting styles which is extremely versatile. The feel is comfortable and fresh due to the mixing of straight lines and sleekness from the contemporary style with the warmth and roundness of the traditional style.  For example, the fixture could feature a drum with clean edges and a simple base but have a warm finish and soft texture or it could have a modern base that evolves into an ornate shade.

Transitional lighting has a set of common characteristics. Fixtures have uncomplicated lines, few ornate details, and occasionally have fabric shades.  The finishes are monochromatic but differ between warm traditional tones or cool contemporary.

Painted wood transitional lighting hanging over a dining table in the center of a Dining Room in Great Falls, VA.  You can see the simplicity in the design: clean lines, slight curves, and a warm tone.

Installing a transitional lantern in an entrance hall.  Again, there is simplicity in the design with clean edges and a monochromatic finish.

A transitional oil rubbed bronze hanging light fixture in a family room in Reston, VA: a simple base and clean finish.

If you are torn by which type of lighting to choose, you can’t go wrong with transitional.  It will give the room a bright new ambiance that will complement the design that is already present.

A transitional oil rubbed bronze hanging light fixture in a family room in Reston, VA: a simple base and clean finish.

If you are torn by which type of lighting to choose, you can’t go wrong with transitional.  It will give the room a bright new ambiance that will complement the design that is already present.

How to Add Interest to a Ceiling

In design, the ceiling is often the part of the room that often gets the least attention – throw on a simple white coat of paint and call it a day, right? Wrong. Would the Sistine Chapel be nearly as beautiful without the paintings done by Michaelangelo? It makes sense that ceilings aren’t given as much attention as the walls, for instance, but if you’ve been following us for a while now, you know that we believe design is in the details. Because the ceiling most often sits in our periphery, it is almost like one large-sized detail. And we know that details make all the difference, with the ability to take a design from pretty to beautiful. So keep reading to find out 4 ways to add interest to a ceiling!


Paint is probably the easiest way to give your ceiling that detail to make it stand out. Choosing a bold, bright, or contrasting color for the ceiling is simple, inexpensive, and adds that wow factor to a room. Get creative by painting the top few inches of the wall the same color as the ceiling for a seamless and raised effect, making the room appear taller. 

Even just painting the ceiling the same color as the wall can add that edge of seamlessness – although this works best when the walls are painted using a bolder color than white or beige. 

Architectural Detail

One of my favorite and most effective methods of adding interest to a ceiling is adding architectural detail. Whether you decide to install a coffered ceiling, bead-boarding, beams, or a simple trim, actually adding that extra texture really does make the biggest difference. The eye is given something to dance on, being drawn upward, and generally making a room appear taller and larger. 

Architectural detail also gives such a fantastic canvas for any paintwork that you want to do. Contrasting the color of the trim or woodwork to the rest of the ceiling will make a design appear complete and well-thought-out.


Wallpaper is another easier and less expensive way to add beautiful detail to a room. You can get that Michaelangelo feeling by choosing more extravagant designs, transforming the ceiling from an easily missed detail to the main event. This is a great option if your design is following a neutral color scheme and you’re wanting to add that detail and texture without bold colors or hours of woodworking. Simply choose a patterned wallpaper with colors that match the tone of the rest of your design for a more exciting visual experience.

Stick-on/peel-off wallpaper is also a great choice if you are renting!

Lighting Fixtures

The final way to add detail to the ceiling design is with your lighting fixtures. Chandeliers are a classic way to elevate a design, once again drawing the eye upward. And if you choose the right fixture, it can often be enough to finish the design. And don’t be alarmed by the word, “chandelier.” It doesn’t have to be an extravagant fixture with dangling crystals – although that can very often be the right option. There are so many modern and sleek lighting fixtures large enough to fill the ceiling space without appearing gaudy. 

Combine These!

My final tip is to use a combination of these methods to really bring the ceiling design to life. You are in control of your own design and the most important person throughout that process is you and whether or not you like it. Allow yourself to get creative with all the possibilities! We promise you will not regret giving that attention to your ceiling!

The only difficult thing about adding interest to a ceiling is that it can be quite a difficult surface to work on for obvious reasons – especially if you’re looking to install architectural detail. That’s why we’re here – to help assist you and turn your dream design into a reality. Head to our services page to book a free consultation and get started today!

Kelley Astore Interiors

Expert Interior Design & Renovation Services of Every Style.

Where We Work

Northern Virginia, Washington, DC,
and the Greater Washington Area


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