Interior Design

Joanna Gaines’ latest decorating trick will rewrite everything you know about wallpaper

If you’re looking for an unconventional way to wallpaper, this could be for you. If not, look away now

Ceiling wallpaper: Joanna Gaines bedroom project, bedroom with wallpaper on the ceiling from Fixer Upper: Welcome Home
(Image credit: Magnolia Network)

Joanna and Chip Gaines have returned to shake up the interior design world in their new series Fixer Upper: Welcome Home, and with the show comes an array of bold decorating ideas.  

The pair, renowned for their signature modern farmhouse style, is equally unafraid to experiment with unorthodox decorating ideas, but this may be their most controversial move yet.

See: Interior design tips – decorating secrets for the world's top experts

In the third episode of the season, titled ‘Modern Take on Old-World Charm’, the Gaines couple had the opportunity to showcase their interior expertise in a mid-century cottage in Waco that belongs to Nicole, a young missionary who had recently returned to the US. 

In Nicole’s bedroom, Joanna made the divisive decorating decision to put floral wallpaper across the ceiling. 

In defence of her bold move, Joanna explained how the ceiling wallpaper in the bedroom offers Nicole a homely space that reflects the property’s charming cottage character. ‘It just feels like there’s a lot of visual interest kind of everywhere you look, but it is still subtle and simple,’ the designer announced. 

While Joanna’s unusual use of wallpaper draws the audience’s eye upwards and frames the unique characteristics of the quaint room, it remains a bold move that will split opinions – although we've recently seen Drew Barrymore's living room has the same decorative device, so she's in good company. 

But should you follow Joanna’s lead and paste patterned wallpaper on your ceiling? We asked wallpaper experts to settle the debate.

See: Wallpaper ideas – gorgeous decor for every room

Should we put up ceiling wallpaper? 

If we were to trust anybody's opinion on the art of wallpaper, it is the British luxury manufacturer, Fallow & Ball

According to the brand ambassador, Patrick O'Donnell, Joanna's fearless technique is more than acceptable. In fact, it is celebrated by Farrow & Ball, who further offer their suggestions to making this statement work in your home. 

'Whilst we all conventionally use wallpaper on our four walls – consider the 5th wall aka the ceiling as another option – it provides a beautiful, decorative option for something striking and feels utterly modern, such as our archived Broad Stripe ST 13-30 used with great success at this apartment in Turin' (below).

Ceiling wallpaper in bedroom by Farrow and Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

'It's also a lovely thing to do in a nursery to create some visual stimulation above the cot or bed, especially something bold & graphic like our Aranami BP 46-04 print while representing waves at wall level, it transforms to blowing clouds when looked at from below.'

See: How to mix patterns in a room: an interior design masterclass

We know fashion and interior designer Matthew Williamson is a fan, too. Recently, he told us: 'Wallpaper will always bring wow-factor to a room. Using [it] in unusual places might include lining the inside of a bar cabinet, in the cupboard under the stairs or even on the ceiling.'

It's settled – try Joanna's latest tip in your bedroom today. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.