Children can look up to decorated ceilings

December 26, 1993|By Ro Logrippo and Antonio F. Torrice | Ro Logrippo and Antonio F. Torrice,Contributing WritersUniversal Press Syndicate

What decorates your child's ceiling, whether it's an uncharted universe of twinkling stars or a field of fabric streamers, can fuel a fertile imagination for hours.

Lack inspiration for overhead decorating ideas? Check day-care centers, classrooms and the offices of children's dentists. Chances are you'll find all kinds of suspended decor, from art projects and posters to mobiles and streamers. What festoons the ceilings in children's public settings often will fit right in at home, too.

One easy solution is painting the ceiling a different color than the walls. As simple as this sounds, it adds instant zip. Let your child choose what shade of the rainbow will cover his or her kingdom, but lend assistance in determining color intensity.

If the ceiling is high and needs to be lowered visually, opt for a dark color. If the ceiling would look better raised, go with a light color. Keep in mind that a glossy paint finish will cause glare; a matte finish won't.

Does your child long to sleep in the Great Outdoors? Turn that dream into reality by dabbing white-paint "clouds" on a solid blue ceiling, using a coarse sponge from a bath or art shop.

Painted murals can also enhance overhead settings. If you're artistic and your child likes the circus, for instance, create an illusion of the big top with a striped ceiling pattern angled so it meets in the center. Or if a merry-go-round captures your child's fancy, paint a round disk-shaped medallion at the midway point to give a carousel effect. With any mural, keep it simple so nothing major is involved when it's time for a change of scenery.

For an interesting effect that helps absorb sound, hang several banners across the ceiling.

If you like to sew, create your own banners from fabric cut in different geometric shapes. Or look for discounted pillowcases, since they are just the right size and shape for ceiling banners when hung lengthwise. For a flowing look, lightweight material like satin is probably best. To add interest to solid fabric, glue or sew on circles to represent the sun, moon or other planets. Or applique other designs that appeal to your child.

Cloth is also perfect for creating ceiling canopies. A large fabric square suspended from the ceiling with nylon thread at each corner may seem like a flying carpet to a young person looking at it from the bed below. Add some fringe and it becomes a frilly overhang that may evoke an altogether different feeling. For a kid intent on being tented, these do-it-yourself fabric hangings are low-cost alternatives to a canopy bed.

Fortunately for those who don't sew, there are many ready-made banners. Constructive Playthings features assorted 54-inch-long individual designs of nature and other motifs. For banner sets, consider the Environments Inc. line of rainbows, seasons, the rain forest or other themes. Appliqued to look good from either side, these tough, translucent, nylon-taffeta designs are 24 to 48 inches long. The longer banners are meant for vaulted or other high ceilings; however, some of these patterns can be adapted to hang from lower ceilings by being draped roller-coaster fashion.

Kites are another fanciful way to go in a kid's room. Whether a Chinese paper dragon with a long tail or a colorful cellophane box kite, what your child chooses to flutter across the ceiling will delight any viewer when a breeze passes through the room. Be cautious, however, if a kite shares space with a ceiling fixture. Make sure the bulb doesn't come in close contact with flammable material like paper, or that kite material doesn't interfere with the blades on a ceiling fan.

Windsocks, mobiles and model aircraft can dress up ceilings, too. So can certain inflatable toys and wall hangings. If your son or daughter has a favorite plaything he or she would like suspended, make it airborne with clear monofilament fishing line.

Wishing upon a star takes on extra meaning when the galaxy your child gazes upon exists in his or her bedroom. That happens when glow-in-the-dark stars are positioned on high. Once the room is darkened, the ceiling turns into the night sky.

Young astronomers can create phosphorescent constellations with kits that vary from plastic stars to cardboard planets the size of dinner plates. Designed purely for decoration, these heavenly look-alikes are backed with putty or self-adhesives to allow for easy rearrangement without ceiling damage.

In a room where two kids share a bunk, reserve a few stars for the underside of the top bed so the bottom sleeper can star-gaze from a closer vantage point.

Besides being whimsical, bedroom solar systems are educational. As interest in outer space grows, encourage more serious study by attaching a map of the universe or a lunar calendar to the ceiling.

The ceiling deserves more than the ho-hum treatment it usually rates. Provide the added dimension of ceiling decoration to a room, and your child can keep striving to reach new heights.

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