Home Design Ideas: Distinctive Ceilings

See photos of classic ceiling treatments that add character to any room.

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dining room with coffered ceiling
Coffered Ceiling

    A coffered ceiling and 42-inch-tall wainscoting set a traditional tone in this formal dining room. The millwork is painted creamy white to complement the rich wood tones of the furniture and flooring.

Sculpted Ceiling

    An octagonal kitchen addition is enhanced by a sculpted ceiling that follows the rooflines. Tucked into one of the facets, a custom arched window creates a focal point above the sink.

Elegant Molding

    Transform an ordinary ceiling with molding. In this living room, a simple grid pattern draws the eye upward. Recessed lights and a pair of classic pendants add light without compromising the look.

Exposed Beams

    Exposed ceiling beams in the drawing room of this Mississippi home add rustic charm and help create a cozy feel in the large room. The walls are finished with limed paneling for added architectural interest.

Coved Ceiling

    A coved ceiling lends understated elegance to this clean-lined space. Largely a cosmetic treatment, the upgrade required no change to the overlying structure. Uplights tucked atop the soffit add nighttime glow.

Grid Pattern

    Finished with a grid design, the ceiling in this kitchen looks like an extension of the cabinets. The designer deliberately matched the wood of the cabinets with the ceiling beams to create a seamless look. Grass-cloth inserts between the beams add texture and enhance the room's Asian-inspired style.

Molding and Trim

    An archway sets the tone for this sophisticated foyer. White-painted molding, trim, and paneling adorn the walls and ceiling, highlighting the room's architectural features.

Vaulted Ceiling

    A steep vaulted ceiling, finished with beaded board, creates a bright, airy feel in the master bedroom of this waterfront home. Small rooms benefit from vaulted or raised ceilings, which give the illusion of more space.

Curved Mahogany Beams

    White beaded board and mahogany beams emphasize the gracious curves of this ceiling and complement the white-painted paneling on the walls.

Octagonal Shape

    Varying the height and shape of a ceiling can add considerable drama to a room. Here, artfully arranged beaded-board ceiling planks play off the bedroom's unusual octagonal shape to create a distinctive cottage look.

Barrel-Vault Ceiling

    A series of arched, laminated beams supports this dramatic barrel-vault ceiling, which is warmed by slender planks of Douglas fir. Custom transoms echo the curve and let extra sunlight into the room.

Recessed Ceiling

    A double-recessed finish lends drama and breathing room to an 8-foot ceiling, transforming a formerly dull, boxy little bedroom into a spacious retreat. A stylish ceiling fan punctuates the visual statement.

Ceiling Beams

    A series of pendants adds panache to overhead beams and draws the eye downward, giving the room a cozier scale. Painted white, the beams add architectural interest without compromising the spacious, airy feel of the room.

Sunroom Ceiling

    It looks lofty, but this sunroom's vaulted ceiling matches the shallow roof of a ranch-style home. Peek-through gables offer treetop views and enhance the sense of height. Green-painted planks ground the space while strengthening ties to the landscape.

Salvaged Look

    Decorative beams, made to look old using an instant aging technique, add historical flair to a new East Coast home. You can readily replicate the effect: Start with newly rough-sawn beams (green wood cracks as it dries). Stain them a dark brown, and then apply whitewash for a mottled look.

Focal Point

    X marks the ceiling! Beaded-board insets and planks edged with narrow molding transform a formerly ho-hum bedroom into a rustic retreat. A high-end ceiling fan boosts the style quotient and accents the center point.

Color Treatment

    A high, paneled ceiling, painted a soft shade of blue reminiscent of the sky, adds visual punch to a white kitchen. Same-color panels and trim emphasize texture and pattern. Track lighting adds a modern touch.

Warm Wood

    Warm wood planks enhance this bedroom's vaulted ceiling. To maintain the cozy scale, a matching line of crown molding continues beneath the peaked gable.

Grand Entry

    Mahogany paneling and a dramatic coffered ceiling placed lower than ceilings in the rest of the house make for a warm, welcoming entry in this stately home.

Light and Airy

    A vaulted ceiling adds abundant light and style to this formal living room. French doors and curved transom windows, which stretch to the ceiling, enhance the light, airy feel.

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