In a truly well-decorated home, nothing is overlooked—not even the ceilings. Their height, shape, style, and even color can greatly effect the overall mood of space. But we’re not just talking wallpaper vs. paint; some of the most incredible ceiling treatments are the result of creative architecture, meaning you should absolutely be considering all the options if you’re embarking on a renovation. Read on for a deep dive into the many different ceiling types, including their benefits, characteristics, and tips on how to bring out the best in each option. Learn all about the different types of ceilings below, from sloped to beamed and beyond.
You’ll often see cove ceilings in charming little nooks, like under the stairs or in an attic corner—or in this stylish bathroom designed by Tasmin Johnson. Cove ceilings come in many forms and can exist on a larger scale as well: in living rooms, bedrooms, and more. The main idea is that the wall transitions into the ceiling at a wide angle.
Broadly speaking, vaulted ceilings are just elevated ceilings. They can have multiple nooks carved out or be a more general sloped A-frame shape. In this space by Commune Design, the ceiling takes on a barreled, curvilinear slope, which opens and softens up the entire room. For an even more elaborate rounded ceiling, consider a full dome.
Symmetrical in design, cathedral ceilings are pointed: They have two sides that slope down at the same angle from a central tip. (A-frames are basically cathedral ceilings with sides that go all the way down to the floor as in an attic or cabin.) They’re absolutely lovely, and while you couldn’t build another floor on top of one, you could create one out of an unused attic space. We love how this kitchen designed by Arent & Pyke plays with a cathedral shape and features exposed beams, too.
Ceiling trays are just recessed ceilings in which the highest point, the center, is inverted. If you have high ceilings, they can give the room more depth and make it feel more spacious. They’re simple in design but add a nice finishing touch. You can also do a few layers stacked on top like a Russian doll for a bigger impact.
The geometric pattern created by a coffered ceiling—which is just like a tray ceiling, only there are multiple recessed areas—is both understated and special, adding just a touch of dimension. They’re created by playing with perpendicular beams, or crossbeams, and crown molding.
Elaborate decorative moldings are common in historic homes from the Victorian and Neoclassical periods. But they look beautiful with a variety of design schemes, whether you want to juxtapose tradition with modern elements like in this Parisian apartment designed by Studio Razavi, or keep it classic throughout.
Ah, beamed ceilings, how we love you! Ceilings with exposed beams just emit so much warmth and character. In this room by Commune Design, they’re given a whimsical touch with custom painted designs and are are integrated into a flat ceiling, though they can look just as beautiful in a vaulted one.
The standard flat ceiling can actually be just as beautiful as some of these fancier ceiling types. Keeping it flat is something you probably want to do if you don’t have particularly high ceilings, as adding trays and beams can make it feel even lower. As seen in this living room designed by Arent & Pyke, a striking pendant can jazz up a basic ceiling, but you could also go for a high-gloss paint or patterned wallpaper.