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  • Light boxes placed strategically into a grid on the acoustic drop ceiling balance those on wall and floor grids in a Vegas GRATiAE store.
  • Music and fashion graphics on an illuminated 30-foot by 9-foot ceiling focal captivate patrons of Stephanes Brasserie in Boca Raton, Fla.
  • A signature pattern used throughout Macy's City Creek in Salt Lake City repeats on the ceiling, bringing cohesion to the space.
  • Playfully mimicking the gear-shape of the Mattel logo is a 9-foot circular light box housed inside a 3D red structure on the ceiling of the Mattel Experience store in LAX.
  • Iconizing the PUMA Clever Little Bag is a ceiling installation above footwear tables in an Osaka, Japan, store.
  • Illuminated ribbon ceiling art by Marcus Tremonto in Tiffany's SoHo store emphasizes the artistry of the merchandise while referencing the ribbon wrapped around the Tiffany blue box.
  • Over 6,500 shoes on the ceiling draw passerby into Solara in Quebec while highlighting the product category.
  • At Marios Osteria in Boca Raton, Fla., Tuscan vineyard scenes lining 6-foot- diameter pendants set the tone for Italian cuisine and create intimacy for each booth.
  • Hubcaps lining the ceiling of a Double Wide Grill corridor in Adams Township, Pa., reinforce the diner's gas station theme.
  • At a Paris Hi Panda, the prominence of beloved Evil panda's scowl above leaves no doubtt to shoppers below about whose stores this is.
  • This unusual design at Carlo Pazolini Brompton in London leaves visitors wondering where the wall ends and the ceiling begins,
  • A signature pattern in die-cut MDF brings definition to the luxury product wall of Ilori in Glendale, Calif.
  • At Carlo Pazolini in SoHo, warped ceiling strips challenge shopers' perception of a linear surface and draw them into the store.
  • Simple netting visually lowers a high ceiling in San Francisco International Airport, designed by Gensler.

Things are looking up in retail. And retail designers are looking up to showcase things. Ceiling treatments have historically been used to differentiate zones within a space, absorb sound, give tall spaces a cozier feel, direct traffic flow, and perform other pragmatic functions. And the hospitality and entertainment industries have long recognized their soaring potential. Vegas hotels gave all new meaning to blue-skying the function of ceilings long before Hogwart’s took that idea to the next level. And Fred Astaire was dancing on the ceiling years before Lionel Richie sang about it.

But some of today’s stores are turning our perception of ceilings on its head. While they represent limitations, ceilings are playing roles limited only by imagination — enhancing thematic ambiance, reinforcing brand values and capturing attention. Far from fading into the background, they’re becoming focal points in some retail spaces with fun props, unique artwork, structural interest or interactivity

Learn more about ceiling trends or get inspired by these uplifting retail spaces.