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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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