One may think it is odd to be designing or reconstructing a living room’s ceiling considering that all have the same primary purpose — to hold heat from the sun or cold weather. But it takes more than a finished surface concealing the roof structure to define a ceiling and you will be surprised to know that every design serves a purpose. This overhead interior surface opens decorative possibilities and can radically transform the way a room looks and feels.
The Many Benefits of a Ceiling
- It ties up and completes living room interiors.
- It can transform a common space into a luxurious and sophisticated one.
- It can open space and give that spacious feel.
- In many ways, it can enhance and add beauty to the entire space.
- It can also have a huge impact on lighting fixtures and other properties of the room.
- Some designs can help regulate airflow and makes the home easier to cool, eliminating the need for air conditions and keeping utility bills low during hotter months.
- Depending on construction, it can potentially be well suited to meet the need for a sound level reduction and increasing speech intelligibility.
With all the plethora of styles according to appearance and construction, it’s hard to make the right pick. Surely, you don’t want to make that single costly mistake as well as be living in a bad choice for years. So, without further ado, here are inspiring living room ceiling designs you might want to consider and the superior qualities they are best for.
Vaulted or Cathedral Ceiling
Best for creating an illusion of space…
Cathedral ceiling is a tall kind of ceiling like those in churches, hence the name. Alternatively known as the vaulted ceiling, it is defined by symmetry with equal sloping side joining at a ridge in the middle of a room. The construction can either be built into the house, added to an addition or refitted into an existing ceiling.
Why it’s great:
It mirrors the pitch of the roof structure creating an illusion of a larger space. Because of its capacity to visually make a space bigger than it physically is, a vaulted ceiling makes small spaces ‘spacious’ and large spaces truly ethereal.
Besides giving a room a light and airy feeling, it can also bring more light into a room. This high ceiling is often accompanied by tall windows which provide an influx of light to a space. Also, the arched angle will let in more sunlight than a typical flat roof might. It also is easier to install skylight without the deep tunnel effect of working between trusses.
It can add a high resale value to your home. Soaring ceilings with interesting architectural detail often appear on homebuyers wanted-features-list. And there’s no doubt the high feeling and that unique design a vaulted ceiling can give will likely close a deal.
The vaulted design adds character and charm to the space. It tends to appeal as an architectural element in cathedrals and basilicas centuries ago because it makes the most of the roof space. Over the years, newer homes choose this vaulted design to add oomph to a ‘dead space’ and possibly be the best feature to the entire space.
Nothing says grand like a vaulted ceiling. This kind of ceiling is an invitation to go all out when decorating your living room. A barrel-vault, for example, can effortlessly give furnishing and accessories that sense of grandeur. On the other hand, humble home can be just as appealing as those on a grander scale with this interior.
If planned well, the vaulted ceiling can create an escape route for unwanted hot air. Strategic planning on how and where to lay out that spot for the venting area is the key. The bonus of this setup is a natural light all year round.
On the flip side, if you are considering a vaulted ceiling on a house that was not built with it, you will want an architecture expert as it can be really challenging and invasive to retrofit one in your space. It is more of an interior best to integrate into the early stages of constructing the building.
For decorative purposes and structural strength…
The sunken square tiles or rectangular panels make a Coffer. The tiles are then attached to a suspended grid to create what is known as a coffered ceiling with either deep or shallow beam. The beamed sections finished with a variety of interior trim and molding options. The recesses can be installed in a new or existing suspended ceiling grid.
Why it’s great:
It adds a touch of luxury to any plain room. A coffered ceiling doesn’t look cheap because they are not. It may be expensive but it pays back greatly on aesthetic appeal. If it’s too much of an expensive option, you can save money by using a DIY coffee kit which comes with prefabricated modular pieces.
The pattern of indentations or recesses in the overhead surface gives the roof a solid construction. The frames and tight-fit cross beams are carefully molded and create a strong support to the beam.
The decorative grid pattern adds an architectural interest. Often, the panels are finished with crown moldings to create a richly elegant appearance. If you want to shake things up, you can even choose or customize square-off looks such as diagonal lines of varying length or an octagon on the center. From there you can choose a different color for the panels and beams so the geometric shapes will stand out.
It is great for creating a character in a room with very little supporting décor. If you have been into a home with a lack of dimension, texture, and drama, you will notice they mostly consist of plain surfaces. But it’s is possible to lift the room by boosting the architectural interest without major renovation. A coffered ceiling will do exactly the job.
The strong element design can evoke an era without even putting an effort in furnishings. Stone coffering, for instance, creates that impression of Ancient Greek and Roman architecture.
The unique architectural design is also a lure for homebuyers. As mentioned, outstanding unique interior details is a hot commodity for home buyers. You may want to incorporate a high beam to make the most of your home value.
It adds height and depth to the room. Deep coffers add visual weight to a room while shallow coffers create a lighter feel. The depth of the beams can make the recessed panels more pronounced and makes the ceiling busier and more textured. Larger and shallow panels give a lighter and ‘spacious’ feel.
It works well with lighting fixtures. Among the popular lighting solution are recessed lights. The agreement calls for lights on the individual tiles. This fixture provides soft and reflective light throughout the room. Besides the featured recessed lighting, the trend is to have a primary lighting fixture like a large chandelier suspended from the centermost panel.
A coffered ceiling can reduce echoes. The coffers don’t have a plain flat surface so sounds don’t bounce off as much. It enhances the clarity of regular conversation and quiet intrusions from across the room.
In constructing your own square designed coffered ceiling, it is important to take note that no room is perfectly square. You will need to create a border of a perimeter. You can do this by using shallow coffered panels that you cut with scissors or drywall. A drywall border is more of a preferred option because of its high-end custom appearance.
Perfect for adding instant depth…
A tray ceiling is formed by laying out a tray-like cut-out design in the middle part of a normal flat ceiling. The cut is either vertical or angled. The formed tray is normally 6-inch to a foot or deeper and can either be of dramatic series of levels or simple crown moldings that make a transition from ceiling to recess.
Why it’s great:
It creates a visual depth in the room. Even a living space with a cavernous and average wall can appear quite tall if treated with a tray ceiling. This is possible through the slightly lowered edges that keep the middle open, granting the room a much-perceived height. If you want to emphasize more height, choose a darker shade for the center of the ceiling. It will cause the part of the ceiling to recede visually.
The central recess of the ceiling provides an opportunity to display a focal point. A chandelier, pendant light or idyllic ceiling fan will look beautiful in the middle. If space is large, the center section can be a great place to paint a ceiling mural. Scenes with clouds and galaxies are increasingly becoming a trend but you can also choose a scene of your choice.
The design offers a great amount of flexibility when it comes to decorating. You can play around with colors and borders. In fact, you can use color to your advantage to create that ‘wow’ factor. For example, you can make a huge statement by papering the ceiling of your tray and coordinating the background color with your wall color to pull the room together. But whatever color scheme or theme you throw a tray ceiling in, it will effortlessly fit in.
If you are considering a tray ceiling, think about how deep the recess should be, how far should the soffits extend and how many levels of moldings you will need. It may sound quite too daunting of task because it really is, even for seasoned professionals. It is better left to the contractors. For this reason, expect to pay more for this project. If the cost is a concern, you may find that you can get the look cheaper in a one-story home or second-floor living area or an existing ceiling that has sloped scissor trusses. A tray ceiling when smoothly and perfectly installed will give any space a luxurious feature and boosts up home’s sale value.
Dropped or Suspended Ceiling
Popular in enhancing the appearance of an existing ceiling…
A dropped ceiling, also known as ‘false’ and suspended ceiling is a surface fixture installed below an existing ceiling. Like the names associated with it, the ceiling consists of a framework of metal truck suspended from a higher ceiling element of either wood, metal or masonry. The perforations use gauge wires that are hung from the ceiling. From there, the tiles or panels are simply dropped into the grid from above and held in place by the lip along the perimeter of each square.
Why it’s great:
The easy installation doesn’t require an expert to do it. With the required basic knowledge on how to install one, homeowners can purchase the materials and install the ceiling themselves. The completion is also fast you can finish it in a weekend.
It can disguise imperfections and flaws of an existing ceiling. This secondary ceiling is used to conceal or cover material constructions like pipes, and ductwork tucked above the grid. A ‘plenum space’ is created above the dropped ceiling to open access to plumbing and cables. It can also hide peel paints but before you conceal one, it is important to make sure there are no structural deficiencies otherwise you’ll be just adding to the already poor condition of the existing ceiling. Moreover, this ceiling can also hide exposed sprinkler systems while still providing full fire suppression functionality.
Enhancing the condition of the ceiling through Suspended is far more economical than renovation. It is a cheaper way to carry out extensive demolitions and repair work. The cost of materials needed for the construction is also of relatively low cost.
The range of materials and colors can give you many designing options. Back then, suspended ceilings were made of basic white tiles. Now, modern innovations include retro designs, faux leather and other materials such wood, metal, synthetic, and composite materials of varying sizes, colors, materials, visual effects, patterns, shapes,and textures. Among the styles are flat and unadorned while others are embossed with finely detailed patterns.
It can provide great acoustical benefits. The grid into which the panels are perforated will naturally suppress and block some sounds from outside. And with the advent of “sound batts” insulated above the panels, it became more effective in deadening sounds making adjacent a room quieter. For more soundproofing, you can opt from mineral fibers or fiberglass ceilings that are specifically made for acoustic balance and control.
The panels allow easy installation of lights. This kind of ceiling replaces the traditional fluorescent lighting fixture and provides a superior alternative to standard fluorescent bulbs. You can also install fans and other overhead appliances with ease on the center panel.
The open components have the advantage of being easily maintained and repaired. If maintenance issues arise you can simply remove a ceiling tile. Demolishing other types of ceiling can be time-consuming, expensive and requires more labor work. But with suspended ceilings, panels can be easily removed. The tiles are also quicker and easier to reassemble after repairs have been carried out.
A suspended is easy to install, yet there are requirements and regulations needed to meet before prematurely building one. A finished ceiling of 2.1 meters is the minimum height for lounge rooms, living areas as well as other habitable rooms. It is easy to assume your current ceiling is at the required level, however, builders level should always be used to measure the actual height. Also, make sure that there are enough wires to support the grid to maintain the desired height and to prevent it from sagging.
Exposed Ceiling Joists and Beams
Adds rustic charms and sturdy construction…
For starters, joists and beams are major components involved in making a ceiling. The joists are the horizontal panels that are spaced according to material support. Hanging beams intersects over the joists in a perpendicular direction. There sit the joists to support the roof struts are the strutting beams. These are all part of the integrated process of building a conventional roof. However, the alluring arrangement of timber joists and beams that run across the length and width of the ceiling prompted some homeowners not to cover it, leaving it exposed.
Why it’s great:
Stately, attractive and open, the exposed beam is one a trend for conventional flat ceilings. The arrangement of the frames attracts one’s eye upward to explore the space. This architectural interest can also potentially increase a home’s resale value.
The timber construction is perfect for a warm traditional look. Nothing calls up images of past ages of a slow, simple and true-to-the-earth time than a beauty of wood. This style is common to rustic look and country style living areas. The timber wood planks also raised the decorative elements is a room.
Joist ceilings further boost a sense of height. Not everybody has the advantage of high ceilings, we all need all the help we can get, height-wise. Through the configuration of the horizontal members, it gives the room an illusion of height and adds more depth to rooms with soaring ceilings.
It adds strength to the construction. The hanging beams and joists are in place to support the ceiling while the strutting beams support the pitched roof load. The joists also have the major role of tying up the lower ends of rafter couples. Thus, they prevent the rafters spreading and causing the roof to sag or collapse. Metals and concrete may be used sparingly to prevent the typical insulation problems one encounters when leaving interior framing exposed.
It is open for future modification. You may want to install new wood, or steel rod horizontal ties or even remove the ceiling ties altogether. Updating and reconstructing is possible because of the open interior.
Building regulations dictate the number of joists needed to be installed, the distance between them and how thick they should be. By code, lateral horizontal ties must be no more than 4-foot.
For safety, selective removal of some of the ceiling joists is best left to structural engineers as they have more knowledge in the integrity of the structure and how remaining joists should be fastened.
Hollow Core Slab
Offers an unrivaled durability and strength…
This ceiling’s prominent feature is the precast, prestressed concrete slabs. The slabs are either of a very low slump or normal slump concrete poured to a thickness between 500 and 130mm. The tube-shaped tunnels that run through them are cast by pouring wet concrete over the tubes. The concretes are cut to the required size once it has set. Overall, they weigh 54 percent less than other custom pre-stressed slabs. The less load yet hard and firm construction makes it an ideal forming surface for a cast-in-place concrete topping.
Why it’s great:
With it’s strong, durable hollow core, the forming surface provides an enhance structural performance. The hollows were placed through subsequent compressions to improve the performance of the concrete in service. The result is a high-strength concrete that can support heavy loads.
The slabs are quick and easy to install. The production of the concrete elements does not take very long. You can also purchase it and the transportation is easy compared to natural stones. Since it’s prefabricated, assembling of the slabs is just the labor needed that can either be done on your end or by hiring laborers.
You can run mechanical and electrical equipment through the longitude cores. Tucking it inside the core can also eliminate fire hazards of exposed cables.
Going for hollow core slabs will save you money in many ways. As mentioned, the slab is lighter than massive solid concrete floor slab. Since reduced weight makes an easy transportation, there are only minimum labor requirements that reduce the price of the finished slabs. The duct incorporated in the slabs also eliminates the need of purchasing other materials such as ductwork. Also, when used as a ceiling and flooring, hollow core slabs reduce building height while saving the cost.
Modern standards require soundproofing the concrete for a strong acoustical performance. The surface is often finished by spraying soundproof materials such as paints or stains that create fewer vibrations and can dampen the sound of footsteps.
The open interior allows designers to maximize decorating layouts. In fact, you can even lay out your other desired ceiling designs such as suspended or coffered. You can also top it with other finished surfaces such as tiles or marble. You may even add suspended decorative abodes. Because of the clean surface that has less movement, the designing options are endless.
Although there is a less weight on the hollow core slab than a solid concrete, it still heavier arrangement when compared to typical plasterboard and timber materials. Combining it with timber frames does not withstand heavy tensions and fire either. To make the most of its strong structural performance, make sure that the hollow core slabs are sitting on appropriately designed concretes.
An excellent choice for modern fashionable interior…
A stretch ceiling is often associated with suspended ceiling as both sit below a structural ceiling. The only difference is that a stretch ceiling typically made from a stretch sheet of synthetic plastic polymer called Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) which is tightened under the effect of heat (50 °C). After all, has been set a cooling process shrinks the material to provide a perfect surface for a ceiling.
Why it’s great:
The installation is easy and fast without any trace of construction debris or mess. The finished output is an even that surface can be constructed with multiple levels. It takes an average of 3-5 hours to install a one-level ceiling while 2-3 days to finish a multilevel. Even postponing the installation to the last stage won’t affect the quality because the stretches do not leave dirt. And since it just conceals the existing ceiling, installing one doesn’t require the hard and time-consuming task of removing the primary ceiling. In most cases, furniture doesn’t even need to be moved.
It offers a big technical advantage over traditional ceiling when it comes to distinctive lighting solutions, grilles, and other fixing points. It allows integration of all types of lights — from suspended and integrated lights, spots down to optical fibers. A stretch ceiling can be open and close again making it an ideal system to hide pipes, wiring, and ductwork while enabling an easy access to this service fixtures. You can also install lamps, smoke detectors and ventilations on the surface.
Stretch ceilings are a convenient and great looking choice for renovation projects. It can efficiently cover outdated ceilings, hide imperfections, cracks, irregularities and unattractive structures.
It’s insulated with micro-perforated membranes that improved room acoustics. Also, each stretch consists of ultrasonically welded ‘Harpoon’ edge which clips into the track.
It creates a luxurious sheen that makes a room appear higher and bigger. The shiny finish let the high reflective surface reflect natural and electrical light which doesn’t only increase brightness but also opensa space and visually increases the ceiling. Thus, the ceiling makes a perfect solution for low ceilings and in rooms where there is insufficient lighting.
The wide variety of stretch films also allows you to find the best color shades and finishes for your decorating project. The broad selection makes it easy to choose a suitable stretch to match your existing interiors and makes audacious experiments when it comes to decorating a living room.
With its shiny and sleek finished, the PVC stretch film is widely used to bring stylish and contemporary ceiling design. Among the modern finishes are glossy, matt, satin, transparent and metallic.
Beyond its aesthetic appeal, a stretch ceiling offers great durability, stability, and security in a lot of ways:
- The material use is hygienic and non-toxic.
- A stretch film provides a thin layer that protects your furnishings from roof leaks. In fact, the opening end of the ceiling may hold up to 100 liters and can recover by quickly letting out the water accumulation.
- The ceiling also has the capability to be shock resistant and doesn’t crack. In case there is an earthquake-explosion, the lightweight characteristic of the ceiling won’t wound the surface.
- The non-flammable PVC membrane which is attached to the aluminum railing is also fire resistant.
- It is also safe to incorporate it in rooms with high humidity. The fast absorption of moisture won’t let the surface deform.
It is maintenance-free. Since the PVC film does not absorb odors or moisture, it makes the ceiling more convenient to clean. The surface is dust-repellant and doesn’t need occasional dusting though you can wash and clean it if necessary.
The cost of the materials will largely depend on the size of the room. Stretch ceilings are installed by trained individuals so expect to also spend money on licensed installers. The overall expenses can be quite hefty. But the high resistance to natural and mechanical damages won’t require you additional repairs in the future and will last you a period. Also, it will pay you back on aesthetic design. In the end, it is worth the major investment.
To Sum It Up
A ceiling room design one element that is often overlooked at. It might not be the main detail you pay attention to when you enter a living room, and you won’t even notice it but the appearance and construction always contribute to the look of your living room. So, in choosing a specific design, there’s more to think about how it will fit your room. A good ceiling design should not just be unique or adds architectural interest, it should also match the furnishing and the rest of the interior.