12 Different Types of Ceiling Designs

There are very few elements in your home that will have a larger impact on the aesthetic and experience of each room than ceilings and their specific design patterns. Taking the additional time necessary to ensure the installation of fixtures that compliment the space and achieve the desired visuals – whether that be an inviting, awe-inspiring space or a simple, comforting nook – is well worth the investment. Gone are the days of traditional, flat, popcorn ceiling styles, as a new generation of modern, impactful ceiling designs have arrived to replace them with elegance. In order to maximize the quality of your living space and the resale value of your home, it’s critical that you invest in the items that matter – starting first with beautiful ceilings.

In this article, we’ll be exploring the 12 most popular ceiling options available, walking through their designs and styles, and discussing the unique characteristics and benefits of each. As you continue reading, you can expect to learn about the following items in detail:

  • Coffered Ceiling/Waffle Ceiling
  • Stretch Ceiling
  • Cove Ceiling
  • Tray Ceiling
  • Shed Ceiling
  • Beamed Ceiling
  • Sloped Ceiling
  • Barrel Vaulted Ceiling
  • Dome Ceiling
  • Exposed Ceiling
  • Conventional Ceiling
  • Suspended Ceiling/Drop Ceiling

From ceiling styles as elegant as coffered and tray to those as breath-taking as cathedral and coffered, we’re certain that this list has the perfect ceiling design for your home.

coffered ceiling also known as waffle ceiling

Coffered Ceiling/Waffle Ceiling

Waffle ceilings – often referred to as coffered ceilings – make wonderful use of exposed ceiling beams to create a grid-like waffle pattern across the entire width of a room’s ceiling. Similar to coffered ceilings, which are somewhat different and will be discussed in just a moment, waffle ceilings allow for the creation of a sunken square grid across the entire ceiling surface, creating a tremendous visual depth and appeal. Best paired with inset lighting setups and medium-to-large sized rooms, waffle ceilings are an incredible way of showcasing elegance and class without having to break the bank.

It’s important to note that there are a few key differences between a waffle and coffered ceilings, even though they often get binned into one ceiling category. A coffered ceiling makes use of a grid-like pattern made up of sunken panels throughout a room. By successfully dividing the ceiling into a uniform grid – often made up of several squares – decorative molding can be implemented to create an elegant, awe-inspiring visual. As a ceiling style with more of a traditional appearance than others on this list, coffered ceilings are quite formal in nature. This ceiling type is best used in large gathering areas, like dining rooms and lounges, and will act as a wonderful addition to any modern or elegant home.

stretch ceiling

Stretch Ceiling

As a modern all-in-one solution, Stretch ceilings are an incredible alternative to traditional drywall and popcorn ceiling designs. Stretch ceilings make use of a track that’s installed throughout the perimeter walls of a room, a few inches below the original ceiling line. Following installation, PVC film clips into each track, being stretched across all four corners and creating a seamless ceiling visual that exists just below the original ceiling.

Stretch ceilings are incredibly popular for two key reasons. First, they are incredibly customizable, allowing for the printing and installation of virtually any design, color, or theme. The PVC film can be swapped out as often as necessary, allowing for constant room customization and refreshing. Second, they are effortless to install and maintain. This ease of setup and implementation means that the costs associated with Stretch ceilings are minimal – especially when compared to alternatives on this list. No mess is required, as the old ceiling need not be torn down, and so you’ll benefit from a fast, affordable, and clean installation process.

Coved ceiling is one of the most unique type of ceiling design

Cove Ceiling

Of the many ceiling styles being discussed today, Cove ceilings are arguably the most unique. They combine a few different elements to create their incredible aesthetic, taking inspiration from the layered ceiling style of tray ceilings and the arched design language of a barrel-vaulted ceiling (both of which we’ll talk about shortly).

As opposed to sharp 90-degree angles where walls meet the ceiling, Cove ceilings contain radius cove pieces that create a smoother, 45-degree angle rounded experience. This unique design lends itself to a very comforting room experience, as the lack of sharp edges and corners encourages comfort. In addition to the unique corner design, cover ceilings also benefit from having layered ceiling panels – sometimes as few as one and others as many as 3. These layered panels act to separate the interior ceiling space from the exterior, creating an airier, more spacious experience as you move towards the center of the room.

Although a little more complicated to install and maintain than alternatives, cove ceilings are an incredibly useful way to create a warm, comforting environment in any room throughout your home.

contemporary tray ceiling finished by VIP Classic Moulding

Tray Ceiling

Tray ceilings – often referred to as recessed ceilings – offer a stunning visual in which the center of the ceiling is positioned higher up than the border, creating a multi-level experience. Named accordingly, the design is meant to represent an upside-down tray, with the base being propped up and the borders hanging low. This ceiling style is incredibly valuable for rooms both small and large, and it benefits greatly from the installation of pot lights. Successfully installed, a tray ceiling will create an incredibly dramatic lighting environment, perfect for small, cozy spaces that need additional breathing room and large spaces alike.

Shed ceiling is great for small spaces

Shed Ceiling

Shed ceilings – often referred to as single-slope ceilings – are traditionally found in tighter spaces throughout the home, like an attic or loft. Their distinguishing feature includes a sloped roof design that has the headspace taper off from one side of the area to the other. Not only do shed ceilings provide a beautiful visual and increased headspace in traditionally smaller rooms, but they also provide an affordable building solution that doesn’t compromise aesthetics.

Across both commercial and residential use cases, shed ceilings are popular because of how easy they are to install and how flexible they are in styling. Regardless of the material used – from metal to wood and beyond – they can be hung with the help of a simple suspension grid, giving designers and builders total control over the completed project.

Best suited for smaller spaces, shed ceilings are a wonderful way of showing modern elegance in your home for minimal time and money investment.

Beamed ceiling creates timeless rustic interior aesthetic

Beamed Ceiling

Beamed ceilings are an incredibly unique ceiling style that takes advantage of exposed load-bearing beams to create a timeless, rustic interior aesthetic. In older homes, beamed ceilings were a creative way to increase the headspace of a room without compromising the structural rigidity by simply exposing the support beams as they lay. This design allowed for the creation of incredibly cozy spaces and did a wonderful job of introducing natural wood into the home.

In modern homes, however, most of the beamed ceilings are completed with the help of fake beams, as most homes don’t rely on large enough hardwood beams for support. These beams run the entire width of a room, and still do a wonderful job of creating an airy, cozy aesthetic. It’s important to note that you must be specific with your fake beam placement, especially in smaller rooms throughout your home. Because of their large nature, exposed beams in tight spaces may lead to claustrophobic experiences and a lack of space mobility.

Cathedral ceiling with modern panels done by VIP Classic Moulding

Sloped Ceiling

A sloped ceiling – often referred to as a cathedral ceiling – is designed to have the center of a room feel incredibly spacious and airy, with the space tapering off towards the corners. Adequately named, the experience of a slop room is very similar to that of being in a cathedral.

Drawing inspiration from timeless church design, sloped ceilings are an incredible way of adding an awe-inspiring element to any large space. Because they are so seldom seen inside of residential homes – often due to the room height requirements necessary to make them work – your sloped ceilings will be an incredibly popular installation amongst guests. One note about sloped ceilings is that their high center makes it somewhat difficult to access and clean light fixtures and corners. Although not impossible, you’ll need to make regular use of ladders (and the like) to ensure that the room remains clean. In our opinion, it’s a small price to pay for such an incredible room aesthetic.

Barrel vaulted ceiling

Barrel Vaulted Ceiling

On this list of ceiling design styles, barrel-vaulted may be the most unique option you’ll find. These ceilings are large and airy, designed to have a ceiling arch that extends from one side of the room to the other. This arch creates an incredibly large ceiling height throughout the entire space and allows for the use of ample lighting fixtures and decorations to create a truly unique experience.

Popular in most European homes, and often finished using brick, barrel-vaulted ceilings are a way of creating a timeless room aesthetic. The name comes from the semi-rounded design, which quite clearly resembles that of a barrel that has been cut in half. Although certainly not affordable to install, and oftentimes a nuisance to maintain, barrel vault ceilings are an installation that will create an incredibly unique experience in your home.

Dome ceiling look wonderful in larger rooms

Dome Ceiling

Dome ceilings, as their name indicated, are designed to resemble the shape of a half-sphere. Imagine as if a ball were cut in half and placed atop your room – you now being able to tell people that a dome ceiling has been successfully installed. Usually saved for larger rooms and spaces, Dome ceilings are a wonderful way to create an elegant centerpiece that increases room size and airiness. When paired with an elegant chandelier, Dome ceilings can create a truly unique sense of luxury.

Although not often seen throughout residential homes due to the size and space requirements, Dome ceilings should not be overlooked as a large-space ceiling alternative, especially for the likes of your lobby, dining room, or courtyard. Similar to Sloped ceilings, the heightened center of a Dome ceiling may lead to some cleaning and maintenance complications. That said, we reiterate that it’s a very small price to pay for such an incredible room aesthetic.

exposed ceiling help create minimalistic and simple design

Exposed Ceiling

In line with the current push towards minimalistic, simple design languages throughout both commercial and residential spaces, exposed ceilings offer a wonderful solution. Taking advantage of the industrial style, in which exposed AC ducts, wires, and the like are combined with uncovered cement and brick, exposed ceilings will allow for an incredibly modern room experience. Due to their affordable installation and maintenance – primarily due to the fact that little must be done in order to make them look nice – exposed ceilings will allow you to create a modern home experience without having to break the bank.

Oftentimes, homeowners will take advantage of piping, Edison bulbs, and other traditional industrial design items to round out the design of their living space. The most wonderful aspect of exposed ceilings is how easy they are to install and maintain, alongside how timeless of a design style they offer up. Although great for kitchens and living areas, you can apply an exposed ceiling to virtually any room in your home.

 Conventional Ceiling

Conventional Ceiling

If you’ve spent any time in homes across North America, it’s likely that you’re very familiar with the design of a conventional ceiling. These are the flat, drywall finish ceilings that exist across almost all homes – both new and old – due to their structural rigidity and low installation and maintenance costs. Conventional ceilings are flat, single-color, and often 8-9 feet in height. They don’t offer any elegant markings or designs, but can often be accompanied by crown molding around the edges of the room in an effort to create a sense of elegance.

As a more expensive alternative to suspended ceilings – which we’ll talk about in just a moment – conventional ceilings allow an additional foot or two of headspace. This may not sound like a lot, but it can go an incredibly long way in creating a room atmosphere that is airy and bright. The most basic of ceiling options available, conventional ceilings will be a baseline for creating quality home resale value and ensuring the aesthetic of the home is modern and clean.

Drop ceiling or suspended ceiling is a type of false ceiling

Suspended Ceiling/Drop Ceiling

A suspended ceiling – often referred to as a drop ceiling – is a ceiling style that has a false ceiling element suspended from the actual supporting ceiling above using metal channels. The ceiling design will be often accompanied by visual breaks, allowing for easy access to the supporting ceiling hidden behind the suspended one. These ceilings are often installed for practical reasons, as the suspended portion allows for the successful concealment of the electrical wires, lighting, air conditioning ducts, and more potentially unrecoverable behind.

When compared to alternative ceiling styles in this article, suspended ceilings are going to be the least impressive, exciting, and expensive. Although they don’t offer the same wow-factor as many of the alternatives, they are incredibly effective tools for making space management easy, and when designed and installed correctly, can actually work to create quite a unique experience. Suspended ceilings don’t require any specific room dimensions, adding tremendous maintenance value to those both large and small. More commonly seen in commercial spaces, don’t overlook the opportunity to create an affordable, low-maintenance, easily accessible ceiling with the help of a suspended ceiling installation.

When the time arrives to redo the ceilings throughout your home, it’s critical that you work with a team that you know to be capable of bringing your dreams to life. VIP Classic Moulding has specialized in the design and development of stretch ceilings, custom printer wall coverings, and a variety of other ceiling solutions for years, and with our expert design services, craftsmanship, and customer support, you won’t need to worry about whether or not you’re in good hands. In an effort to ensure that we truly understand your vision and ceiling specifications, we’ll work with you to thoroughly review all project elements and pricing options beforehand. To learn more about VIP Classic Moulding custom ceiling solutions or to discuss an upcoming project, contact our team today!

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