Palatial homes and cathedrals have long known that visitors shouldn't just look around -- they should also look up. Although ceilings don't get nearly the love and attention that walls and floors do, it shouldn't stop you from getting creative with them. More than just a blank, white canvas, ceiling treatments and decor can take your ceiling from bland to beautiful and simple to stylish, adding character and dimension to your room.

Wood treatment

Just because most ceilings are covered in Sheetrock, it doesn't mean they have to stay that way. One of the most popular ceiling additions is beams, but why don't you take it a step further and give the entire ceiling some of the same love your floors get? One unique way to dress up a ceiling is by adding wood planks, like shiplap. A wood covering helps bring some stylish attention to your fifth wall.

Choose white shiplap for a farmhouse or cottage style. Bead board is another style that can add interest above. For something more sophisticated, try adding tongue in groove slats with a paint wash or pickled finish. If something even dresser if more your style, then a stained wood slat ceiling fits the bill.

Purchase wood flooring from your local home center or have it installed on your ceiling. Dedicated DIYers can make a very similar look by cutting high-quality plywood into strips, applying them to the ceiling, staining them and following up with a clear satin finish. Just like floors, ceilings look terrific when done in a herringbone pattern. Try using reclaimed wood for a rustic look or finished wood for something formal.

Ceiling paper

Another way to add interest to the ceiling is by adding wallpaper to it and turn it into "ceiling paper." Try a bold geometric pattern to lift the eye up. For a colorful pop, install wallpaper in a bold color such as peacock teal. For a gilded look, opt for paper with a golden or silver shimmer to add sparkle. This looks especially beautiful when used in a dining room. The chandelier will help catch the luster and make the ceiling come alive.

Color

Walls are the favorite place for color, but if you want a big dose of color, take your wall paint all the way up the walls and onto the ceiling. This creates a room that feels like a cocoon and shows your decorative derring-do. Another unique way to treat the ceiling with color is to go darker than the walls. This is one way to help bring down the scale of soaring ceilings, balance out the distance between the floor and ceiling, and not make furnishings look as insignificant or doll-like in rooms with high ceilings.

Create an anchor

Think of your ceiling decoration as a picture. When creating a decorative ceiling accent, your picture will need a frame. Whether you opt for paint, wallpaper or something more dimensional, such as a wood treatment or ceiling tin, it's important that you frame out your ceiling with trim. Adding some crown molding will do for your ceiling what the beautiful frames around artwork do in the art museums: make them more note-worthy and eye-catching.

(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her website, www.redlotusletter.com.)