While so much interest is taken in flooring and wall colors, why do we neglect the least obstructed plane in our homes? The ceiling is the perfect place to start getting creative.
The ceiling takes up the most visual space in a room. It’s an expansive surface that goes uninterrupted, except for a fan or lighting fixture. This makes it vital that you choose a ceiling that will enhance a room.
When considering these ceiling ideas, think about the size of the room, the height of the ceiling, and your budget. This will help you choose a ceiling treatment that will enhance the room, make it feel larger, and draw the eye up.
So which one of these ceiling ideas will complement your home?
1. Wooden Ceiling Ideas
A wood ceiling is one of the easiest ways to add warmth to a room. While white pine is the most popular wood ceiling idea choice, you could also use cypress or cherry for a bit of unique color. You have more freedom in the type of wood you choose because unlike the floor, your ceiling won’t see a lot of abuse.
When choosing your wood, you can achieve a rustic or farmhouse look by using salvaged or reclaimed wood. For a clean and modern look, stick with light color pine or a grey hue. A varnished or polished cherry will give your room a luxury feel.
Ceiling height doesn’t matter much. Wood planks look just as good on a low ceiling as they do on a high ceiling.
The most straightforward strategy is to use straight planks running the length of the room. You can make a room feel larger if the planks run with lengthwise. For more detail, you could create a pattern in the ceiling. You could do alternating lines of 45-degree angles.
2. Tray Ceiling Design Ideas
This luxury ceiling idea gets its name for its similar look to a tray. The ceiling will have a raised center portion, recessed either a few inches or a few feet. Traditional tray ceilings will feature crown molding around the edge of the ceiling and at each recess. They’ll also feature a ceiling medallion in the center of the room. Modern takes on a tray ceiling will have hidden LED lighting and creative paint schemes.
If you have a bland room, you can turn a tray ceiling into the focal point by mounting your own trim work. Buy the decorative strips of wood trim and use finishing nails to attach them to the ceiling. Another option is to paint the recesses. Start with a white ceiling and then choose a bold color to paint the few inches of the recess between the two levels.
Modern ceilings will create a barely noticeable protruding edge at the lower level. Then you can install hidden lighting on the edge. You won’t see the bulbs when standing in the room, but a subtle wash of gentle light extends upward to illuminate the recessed ceiling.
3. Coffered Ceiling Ideas
A coffered ceiling has stood the test of time as a symbol of grand elegance and luxury. This is the type of ceiling you see in older, ornately-trimmed estates. They look best in large rooms with very tall ceilings. This is because they emphasize the spaciousness and sheer size of the room.
If you have a room that can support this Baroque architectural style, then it’s a must.
To create this look on your ceiling, you’ll need to create intersecting beams at 90-degree angles that extend the room’s length and width. This will create squares, similar to a three-dimensional checkerboard.
There are faux beams you can mount to make the project easier and faster. Then you can go all out when it’s time to decorate. You could leave the ceiling color all white, but that’s boring. You could paint the indented squares a single color or a variety of colors. Or take a page from the castles of old and decorate the entire ceiling in intricate designs.
4. Vaulted Ceiling Ideas
Most roofing systems require roof rafters and ceiling joists. The roof rafters form the roof’s peak, while the joists span from wall to wall, creating a floor for the room and a ceiling for the floor below.
There are some homes where this isn’t the case, and the ceiling extends higher into a vaulted-shape. When you look up, the ceiling will extend upward at an angle. It could have two angled sides that meet in the middle to form a peak. Another option is to have a single angle where one wall of the room is shorter than the other with a slanted ceiling connecting the two.
To give your ceiling a rustic look, consider adding wood paneling or exposed wood beams to your vaulted ceiling. For a modern look, you can give the ceiling texture and lighting.
One ceiling decor idea you should avoid is painting a vaulted ceiling. Because of the slant, there’s more square footage. This can make a color look overwhelming and mask the charm of a vaulted ceiling.
5. Beam Ceiling Ideas
When people think of wood beams, they tend to think of rough-hewn squared-off logs that are large and heavy. They extend across the length of the room, drawing the eye up.
You can elevate wood ceiling beams for a more luxurious feel. Try using a darker wood and flat planks to create a box shape. Stain and varnish the wood to give it a polished look.
If your home doesn’t have wood beams, you can still create the look. Faux wood beams can create the look without providing structural support to the ceiling. You’ll mount the faux beam and then finish the ceiling with bright white paint.
Another option is to display the ceiling joists. Instead of choosing raw and construction-grade joists, choose some that you can finish. This will create an exposed look to the inner structural support of the ceiling.
6. Beadboard Ceiling Ideas
One of the most versatile ceiling treatments out there is beadboard. It can morph into several different design styles, depending on how you decorate the rest of the room. You’ve probably seen shiplap used as a wall covering like wainscoting, or the outside of a home as siding. But did you know that you can also use it to cover your ceiling?
For a rustic, farmhouse, or cabin look, leave the wood paneling exposed so the wood grain can be the star of the show. Choose a honey-colored wood for added warmth. For a brighter and modern or Scandinavian look, paint the beadboard white or use a light-colored pine.
7. Floating/Suspended Ceiling Ideas
A floating or suspended ceiling creates dimension and height. The multiple levels will fool the eye into thinking that the overall ceiling is taller than it really is. Depending on the room, you could have one large central suspended ceiling panel. Other rooms look better with several smaller panels.
Consider using a suspended panel to install additional lighting. The extra space allows you to install lighting that you may not have been able to use before. You can also install hidden lights that point upward. This will illuminate the recessed portion. It will also enhance the ceiling’s height by creating depth between the ceiling and suspended panels. It’ll also create a soft indirect light that will gently illuminate the room.
8. Painted Ceiling Ideas
The traditional approach to ceiling color is white. It’s safe, bright, and goes with all interior design approaches. But modern trends are leaving this behind. A safe step into the world of colored ceilings is to paint your ceiling a single color.
Don’t be afraid to go bold with your color. You could choose a vibrant red, bright orange, or even a moody blue or sophisticated black.
If you’re ready to take your painted ceiling to the next level, try creating a pattern. You could do black and white stripes for a simple, yet bold design. Or you could create a geometric pattern. A third option is to create a custom mural.
Whatever you decide, be sure that the rest of the decor in the room complements the ceiling color. Since the ceiling takes up the most visual space, it is the starting point for your interior design choices.
9. Textured Ceiling Ideas
The easiest way to hide imperfections in your ceiling is to camouflage it with texture. You could spray some popcorn ceiling up there but that’s a fast way to make your home look ugly and outdated.
Not all traditional approaches are faux pas, though. You could use drywall mud to create swirls or other designs. Another option is to use trim to create ceiling decor. Use crown molding and other decorative pieces to create an artistic scrollwork design.
10. Unfinished Ceiling Ideas
Hidden underneath your drywall is an intricate network of supports, wiring, and ductwork. Exposing it can give your home the perfect industrial look. This ceiling option makes your ceiling look higher.
A smart option is to paint everything that’s exposed with a black paint. This will create a void that tricks the eye into not being totally sure where the ceiling actually ends. It also changes your unfinished ceiling from construction zone to polished look.
For another approach to the unfinished look, consider doing it in a rustic cabin. You can expose all of the wood framework and beams. This highlights the cabin look of the home.
11. Cove Lighting Ideas
When designing your new ceiling, you should think about the lighting you plan to use. The modern approach includes recessed lighting. The traditional method calls for installing a light fixture, such as a chandelier.
Many cove lighting ideas focus on pointing the light down. While this makes sense, it tends to miss out on a great opportunity. Consider pointing the light upward. You could illuminate the recesses of your floating, suspended, or tray ceiling. Or you could place lighting along the base of your vaulted ceiling to illuminate the slant.
12. Other Ceiling Ideas
One of the most beautiful kitchen ceiling ideas is a metal ceiling. You can use tin ceiling tiles to create an elegant vintage look. This is perfect for a vintage-inspired, farmhouse, or rustic kitchen. The metal tiles will have a three-dimensional feel created by the stamped designs. They also reflect light and become the focal point of the room.
Another beautiful idea is to create custom ceiling decor. You could install custom light strips throughout the ceiling to give it an all-over glow. Or perhaps you mount birch tree stumps of varying lengths on end. A classic look is to create an arched ceiling out of brick.
Ceiling Ideas FAQs
Do I have to have the same type of ceiling in every room?
No, you don’t! This would actually be a terrible idea. Instead, think about the size of the room and the ceiling’s height when choosing a ceiling idea. You could have a vaulted ceiling in the living room and a coffered ceiling in the formal dining room. Or you could have a tin ceiling in the kitchen and exposed beams in the family room or basement.
Can I combine ceiling styles?
Yes, you can! You can paint a coffered ceiling. You might place beadboard or metal ceiling tiles in the coffered sections. You can even use exposed wood beams on your vaulted ceiling. Then add texture to your vaulted, tray, painted, or suspended ceiling.
Can I do these ceiling treatment ideas to my basement ceiling?
Yes, you can! Your basement ceiling is probably lower, dark, and unfinished. By finishing the ceiling, you’ll give the entire room a completed look. Look for a basement ceiling idea that will help the room to feel larger and brighter. This will give the illusion of the room feeling more spacious.