This section is from the book "The Practical Book Of Interior Decoration", by Harold Donaldson Eberlein, Abbot Mcclure, Edward Stratton Holloway. See also: The Victorian House Book: A Practical Guide to Home Repair and Decoration.
As the walls should be lighter than the floors, the ceilings should be lighter than the walls, but of the same colour, they being properly an extension of them. If the walls are of two tones, such as a cream and grey stripe, the ceiling should be keyed to the lighter tone - in this instance fortunately also the warmer, the cream.
In most cases there is nothing more simply elegant than a perfectly plain ceiling paper, but if the ceiling is in poor condition a dotted or small figured surface is preferable. Silver paper may sometimes be used to advantage for the ceiling surmounting a painted panelled wall. Although somewhat darker than a white wall the reflections and high lights of the metal surface remove any oppressive sense of weight. Wall-paper manufacturers have exercised their ingenuity in designing aide papers, elaborate borders and decorated ceilings, "to match," but these things are usually to be avoided by the tasteful decorator.
The beamed ceiling is appropriate to certain architectural styles and if paper is used in such cases it should be only in the spaces between the beams. In the large living-room of a certain handsome country house the beams also were papered over - an indefensible practice subservient of all character.
Ceilings of plaster work, parge or "compo" are attractive when well designed, and good patterns may be secured "in stock." They should follow the period styles in which they were used or at least be based thereon, and great care should of course be exercised to have them agree in style with the architecture and furnishings and to have them in proper scale with the room.
"Where the walls are white or nearly so such a ceiling may be left white, but otherwise it should be tinted a light shade of the wall tone.