A quick (and inexpensive) way to add character to an otherwise austere space: plywood-faced ceilings. Here are five we like:
Above: A photo from the Dwell House Tour, via Morgan Satterfield's The Brick House.
Above: The Catskills kitchen of Jeff Madalena and Jason Gnewikow, via Design Crisis.
Above: A house in the Hamptons by Selldorf Architects.
Above: A modern kitchen in Massachusetts with plywood ceilings by Burr & McCallum.