Living Room Ceiling Ideas

rustic living room with lofted ceilings
Do you have a high ceiling in your living room? Get inspired by these gorgeous ceiling styles and design ideas for making over this fifth wall of your living space. Paint treatments, ceiling tiles, wood panels, and so many more ideas can give your home a beautiful look.

Show Off Engineered Lumber

Roof beams are traditionally made from hand-hewn trees or solid-sawn lumber. Forest product engineers have recently invented "glulam" beams, which are created from many layers of flexible wood strips glued together to form robust laminated wood beams that can form curves and arches as well as straight runs. These beams have given form to architectural shapes that were difficult to create a few decades ago. 

Create a Coffered Ceiling with Molding

The term coffered ceiling often connotes a crisscross of heavy ornamental beams that create a grid of deep recesses in a lofty ceiling. But you can create a similar effect on a low ceiling with much less material and trouble by applying a grid of stock moldings to the ceiling. For added contrast, paint the moldings in a color or sheen that contrasts with the ceiling's planar surfaces. Arrange ceiling molding in a unique layout rather than the traditional grid for contemporary appeal.

Lighten a Living Room's Heavy Beams with Paint

Massive dark beams loomed heavily over this seating area, but the owners wanted a lighter look for the living room ceiling design. They achieved it by painting both the beams and walls a shade of clean white. A neutral rug and furniture give the entire room an airy look, and the vaulted ceiling allows natural light from a wall of windows to fill the open floor plan.

Get Dynamic with Paint

Paint your own ceiling pattern instead of opting for wallpaper. This contemporary space features a black-and-white geometric ceiling design that mimics the shapes and colors of the unique sofa below. An abstract-style light fixture mirrors the same sharp angles.

Use Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling tiles are an easy way to add texture and a contrasting finish to a living room. The ceiling panels in this family space are painted with a glossy paint to add interest and depth overhead. The traditional paneled tiles coolly contrast the room's contemporary decor. 

Update a Barrel-Vaulted Ceiling

This ceiling idea for living rooms is a new twist on the barrel-vault design. Light wood ceiling beams contrast with the room's dark gray walls and rich blue floor. The gently bowed arches lend a protective, sheltered feeling to a room designed for informal gathering and relaxation.

Revel in the Unexpected

Many homes have beautiful, natural building materials hidden below the surface. When remodeling, consider showcasing your home's natural building materials for ceilings, walls, and flooring. This room gets a style boost from a vaulted brick ceiling in a unique dome shape. 

Go for Clean Contrast

While natural wood beams can provide contrast from white walls and ceilings, they may not fit with contemporary decor. Achieve a similar effect by painting beams and crown molding a solid color rather than staining. A painted white brick fireplace, walls, and ceiling let warm gray ceiling beams and molding, as well as orange and blue decor, stand out.

Make It Metallic

Natural light can be hard to come by in certain parts of the home, so the interior design should make the most of it. This ceiling bounces natural light around a small living room with the help of metallic wallpaper. This ceiling treatment lightens the room and adds warmth and character to the jewel-tone space.

Add Beadboard for Texture

Beadboard wall treatments can translate to the ceiling for subtle texture and cottage appeal. In this airy space, white glossy beadboard adds just enough texture to the ceiling to bring eyes up but not overwhelm the decor. Plus, beadboard comes in wood, vinyl, and PVC options—as both planks and panels—so you can achieve your perfect living room ceiling.

Let the Ceiling Steal the Show

This boxed-beam ceiling packs an unexpected punch of color with forest green painted inside each square. Because the rest of the space, including built-ins, trim, and a white area rug, implements light colors, the green ceiling and blue accent wall don't feel overwhelming. It also brings out the green tones in the decor.

Visually Lower a Vaulted Ceiling

Vaulted ceilings add volume to a space. But they can also leave a room feeling vast, cold, and open. For this high ceiling idea, dark wood planks visually lower a lofty ceiling, bringing welcome warmth and a more human scale to the room while contrasting with the light-color walls and upholstery fabrics. The tone of the stained wood matches that of the hardwood floor for a cohesive design.

Consider a Tray Ceiling

An elegant living room gets an overhead treatment befitting its traditional style: a tray ceiling. Framed out in drywall and set off with heavy crown molding, this ceiling idea contributes to the room's sense of intimacy. The bright white molding complements furnishings in various neutral shades and sets off rich blue-gray walls.

Contribute to a Southwestern Theme with Vigas

Traditionally, adobe structures in the American Southwest featured open ceiling beams, called vigas, made from peeled tree trunks. Try this wood ceiling idea in your next remodel. The natural wood tones and rich textures of these beams contrast with a smooth white planked ceiling for a comfortable, made-from-the-earth feeling that continues to influence Southwestern interior design.

Include Dormers in a Vaulted Ceiling

Vaulted ceilings generally ascend to their peak in a smooth, unbroken plane. Add unexpected interest—and an additional shot of daylight—by incorporating dormer windows in a soaring, two-story living room. The upper-level windows animate the lofty space, adding a subtle sculptural quality that lifts the eye. The light from the windows bounces off the ceiling on the opposite side of the room creating a soft, even glow for the living space below.

Add Architecture with Boxed Beams

If you're seeking to pump up the design of a plain room, look up: The ceiling is a great place to start. Ceiling beams make an impact, but the structure of some homes can't support the weight of solid wood beams. Instead, use boxed beams: hollow structures that have all of the visual impact of solid beams with a fraction of the weight. This beautiful ceiling design works well in many living room styles and designs.

Punch Up the Contrast Overhead

Rustic, age-blackened ceiling beams add character in this great-room. For contrast, and to keep the living area warm and light, the rest of the ceiling was painted white. The combination adds an interesting tracery of structure overhead without overwhelming and darkening the decorating scheme.

Vaulting a Ranch Ceiling

Vaulted ceilings are often associated with soaring contemporary spaces, but even the comparatively low, modestly pitched ceilings of ranch houses can take advantage of the treatment. This home utilizes the variation of color in natural wood to add to the orange-and-tan color scheme. A benefit: room overhead for ceiling fans, formerly precluded by the low ceiling height.

Go with Tried-and-True Vintage

Add instant vintage character to a ceiling with ornamental crown molding and a light medallion. These lacy textures add femininity to a traditional space and up the elegance of the decor. For subtlety, keep the trim and medallion the same color and finish as the ceiling.

Soften a Boxy Room with a Cove-and-Beam Ceiling

Here, a plaster ceiling wraps itself up to a massive ceiling beam and gives a tentlike softness to the interior. Painting the surfaces with a matte finish furthers the impression of being wrapped in soft fabric rather than encased in hard plaster.

Go Radial with Beam Structure

Radial beam patterns give a room the illusion of being round and bring attention to the light fixture in the center of the room. This living room uses wood beams to complement the natural color scheme of the decor. The large chandelier ties the look together with traditional flair.

Uncover Overhead Structure

Exposed ceiling supports give an industrial look to a living room. The open beams make the room look taller and reflect the home's original ceiling style and building materials. Paint them white for a softer look or leave them natural to create the vibe of a modern urban loft.

Refinishing a Wood Ceiling? Go Natural!

Instead of installing all new wood beams, utilize old barnwood or strip existing beams of their paint. This wood ceiling idea gives a natural, rustic look that adds textural interest to the living room. Keep walls and the ceiling area white for maximum visual impact.

White-on-White Ceiling

In this contemporary living room, large windows illuminate the entire room—a fairly common practice in modern home design. To ensure that the daylight reaches the entire room, the homeowners painted the ceiling and its beams glossy white. The result bathes the entire space in soft, reflected daylight. The modern ceiling design for the home also makes the most of reflected artificial light and firelight once the sun goes down.

Incorporate Roof Structure

Tongue-and-groove pine roof decking and robust solid-sawn beams with black iron hardware are a hallmark of contemporary vaulted ceilings. This living room embraces these elements by continuing the wood look on a mantel in a similar finish. The tall ceiling helps bounce light around the white walls and reveals the variegated grain and geometric structure of the roof.

Expose a Post-and-Beam Frame

This house used a post-and-beam frame as the basis for its structure. Rather than conceal the frame behind walls and ceiling, the owners chose to place those finished surfaces on the outside of the frame, making the hand-hewn structure the primary element of the interior design. Crisp white ceilings contrast with the warm hand-tooled wood.

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