As a child, I’d lie on my canopy bed searching for faces in the wood grain slats above me. As I grew older, I continued to focus my imagination upward, standing on tiptoe on a footstool to stick glow-in-the dark stars to my ceiling (the adhesive would later become the bane of my parents’ existence) and helping a friend transform ceiling light cans into a tangle of psychedelic flowers.

Now that I’m thinking about having children of my own, I’m once again turning my gaze skyward as I begin to think about a space for our someday child. There’s one feature that’s a must-have: a magical ceiling to dream to.

Here are eight dreamy ceilings to inspire a child’s paradise.

Fort making was one of my favorite games as a child, and the best forts were almost always made with bedsheets and piles of pillows.

This magical draped ceiling evokes the adventures of Arabian nights. In this space full of hard surfaces and sharp corners, it provides just the right amount of softness to send its young occupant on a magic carpet to dreamland.

This vibrant mural is amazing on its own, but the dimensional features help make it truly out of this world. Artist Jeff Huckaby brought texture to a traditional drywall ceiling with a slight knockdown before handpainting the mural. I love the way he transformed a central pendant light into the sun for planets to orbit around.

A slanted ceiling provides the perfect opportunity to draw the eye upward — even if your space doesn’t include access to a loft playhouse. The three-dimensional detail of the ladder and fence helps this mural come to life, creating an “outdoor” playspace that can be used even on a rainy day.

We’ve all seen ceilings painted to look like clouds, but what makes this room truly special is the way the artist played on the curved shape to create the illusion of a horizon. By using every surface except the floor, the muralist created an immersive play and sleep space for imaginative children.

If you’re struggling to find a way to make the cloud idea all your own, consider a sunset. I feel like a unicorn is about to jump out of this surreal ceiling, making it perfect for a pair of princesses.

A geometric carpet helps ground the space, creating the feeling of a grassy patchwork while keeping the room from feeling like it has its head in the clouds.

If you want to do it yourself but don’t trust your skills as a muralist, consider a stencil. MJ Whelan Construction pulled in the same pastel lavender as on the wall for the ceiling, then used a wall stencil to add a delicate pattern in grays, whites and lavenders to create a subtle, almost textural effect.

Decals can be a great solution for a room that needs to grow with your little one. I’m used to seeing them on the walls, but I love the way this giant flower hangs its head over the bunks, watching over the wee ones during nap time.

Mobiles aren’t just for babies anymore. Groups of mobiles arranged in a creative tableau can help transport your child into the dreamscape of your imagination.

This idea works particularly well with curved or vaulted ceilings — as in this space — which add additional dimension and help prevent adults from knocking their heads on the decor.

Related Links:
Add a Ladder for Loft Beds and Playhouses
Hire a Professional Painter to Transform Your Kid's Room
Keep Your Lines Straight With Stencils in Every Pattern