20 Design Ideas for Ceilings That Add Character to Rooms


See photos of classic ceiling treatments and design ideas that add character to any room. From pretty molding to decorative beams, you can give common ceilings a boost with these style-setting ideas.

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Style Fusion


This kitchen exhibits drama at every turn: Soft sage walls defer to the vivid orange ceiling. A coffered quartersawn-oak ceiling crowns the work core, while a circular tray accentuates the casual dining area's impressive curves. Vibrant orange paint offsets white traditional-style cabinets.

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Coved Ceiling

Traditional living room

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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Salvaged Look

open dining room

Decorative beams, made to look old using an instant aging technique, add natural appeal to a rustic open dining room. 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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Vaulted Ceiling

Bedroom in green and blue

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

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Ceiling Beams

Make Layering Work

With clean, white walls studded with rafters, a 200-year-old barn-turned-home offers the perfect balance between modern livability and country rusticity. Only partial walls break up the openness in the upper-level living areas. The golden hues of the exposed beams and plank floors, plus accents of leather and stone, warm the light and airy environment.

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Coffered Ceiling

Kitchen w/ coffered ceiling

A coffered ceiling sets a traditional tone in this white kitchen. The millwork is painted crisp white to complement the rich wood tones of the furniture and island countertop.

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Recessed Ceiling

traditional home office

A recessed finish lends drama and breathing room to this tray ceiling, transforming a formerly dull, boxy little office into a roomy work space. A brown coat of paint accentuates the ceiling and vertical step.

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Color Treatment

Living room with stools and niche book shelves

A high, arched ceiling painted a soft shade of gray adds visual punch to a blue living room. Softly contrasting trim emphasizes texture and pattern.

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Exposed Beams


Hand-scraped walnut floors lay a rustic foundation echoed overhead by exposed ceiling beams. Custom hickory cabinets deliver both open and closed storage, amplifying the relaxed, elegant rusticity in the kitchen.

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Molding and Trim

living room

Nothing does more to define the style of a home than its architectural trims. An archway sets the tone for this sophisticated living room. White-painted molding, trim, and paneling adorn the walls and ceiling, highlighting the room's architectural features.

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Sunroom Ceiling


Relaxing is easy with open gathering spaces and casual furniture. Lofty ceilings, crafted of whitewashed tongue-and-groove larch, expand the sunroom while strengthening ties to the Oregon home's coastal landscape.

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Sculpted Ceiling

neutral living room

Downplay difficult angles in a small space with this design trick. Grass cloth swathed over both the wall and ceiling in this angular attic minimizes the transition line between the two and adds textural interest to the room.

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Octagonal Shape

Dining room

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 dining room's unusual octagonal shape to create a distinctive cottage look.

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Focal Point

living room

With ceiling heights pushed two feet up, a new vaulted ceiling made it possible to turn the minimalist, hole-in-the- wall firebox into a proper, traditional hearth. A chandelier boosts the style quotient and accents the center point.

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Warm Wood

cottage girl's bedroom

A twin bed tucks under the second-story eaves of the an 1817 farmhouse. Wood plank ceilings enhance the bedroom's warm, sweet style.

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Grand Entry


Mimicking a layout common in European mansions, the entrance connects to a gracious gallery hall lined with columns. Tall windows along the hall capture sunlight, which floods into the adjoining living and dining rooms.

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Barrel-Vault Ceiling

formal dining room

Two columns flank the entrance to the morning room, whose dramatic barrel-vault ceiling is warmed by slender beaded-board planks. Custom transoms echo the curve and let extra sunlight into the room. Pecan-hue stain carries the slate floor's earthen hues to the morning room's ceiling.

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Light and Airy

Living Room

A vaulted ceiling adds abundant light and style to this cozy living room. Large windows and tall bookshelves, which nearly stretch to the ceiling, enhance the light, airy feel.

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Elegant Molding

Green living room with bright accents

Transform an ordinary ceiling with molding. In this living room, a simple grid pattern draws the eye upward. To create a sense of intimacy in a large room, paint the walls, ceilings, and trim the same

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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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