Beyond White and Flat: 7 Stunning Ceiling Design Ideas

August 8, 2023

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Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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So, you’ve painted the walls, added some new furniture pieces and decor, and maybe even changed out the flooring. But what about the ceiling?

Ya! That big white space up there! You know, the fifth wall of a room. Imagine the endless possibilities for that huge blank canvas. Sharing all of my favorite ceiling design ideas with you.

When it comes to designing a living room or dining room, the ceiling is often overlooked. Homeowners tend to concentrate their efforts on the walls and floors. They forget about all of the potential the ceiling has.

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Typically painted white and left plain, it becomes a forgotten canvas. However, the ceiling is an important part of any room.

It can provide a unique opportunity to showcase your creative side. A well-designed ceiling can add depth, character, and style to any space. It can bring a modern touch to an ordinary room.

But what could I possibly do to change up the ceiling? And do I really want to draw the eye up there?  The answer: So many options! And yes!!

Today and moving forward, we’re going to break free from the confines of white monotony. Let’s discuss the endless possibilities for that big white space.

Ceiling Design Ideas to Dazzle Your Home

Statement Lighting

When it comes to ceiling design ideas, statement lighting is an excellent choice to add drama to any living space. Easily create a focal point, by incorporating a bold, eye-catching light fixture into the ceiling design.

This feature will draw the eye upward while adding height and depth to the space.

For rooms with high ceilings, statement lighting can be especially effective at filling up the vertical space. The added architectural interest can be quite stunning.

Kitchen with a wooden beam; large windows and a hanging light

Source: Kendall Lighting Center

Whether it’s a sleek, contemporary pendant or an ornate chandelier dripping with crystals, statement lighting can add elegance to any living area.

With so many designs, shapes, and sizes to choose from, you’re sure to find the right light fixtures for your home.

Here are a few lighting options that would look great in most large or small spaces:

Pendant light

Chandelier for ceiling design ideas post

modern farmhouse chandelier

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Ceiling Design Ideas: Coffered Ceilings

Coffered ceilings fall in the category of unique ceiling design ideas. While they’ve been around for centuries, they’re not a ceiling design you see all the time.

This intricate ceiling architecture adds depth and elegance to any room in your home.

Coffered ceilings offer the illusion of height, as well as a touch of luxury. This modern ceiling design is truly set apart from standard ceiling designs.

A stunning coffered ceiling can create a focal point in any room, whether it’s a living room or dining room.

A coastal modern dining room with large table and large light fixtures (2)

Source: Lindye Galloway Interiors

Coffered ceilings are made from a grid of sunken panels that give the illusion of depth and shadow. They may be painted or stained in a number of colors to fit the color and style of the home’s decor.

For a more modern look, paint the coffered ceilings to match the color of the ceiling. For a more eclectic look, choose a contrasting darker color.

Coffered ceilings are best suited for homes with high ceilings, making them perfect for grand entryways or a high-ceiling great room.

Tray Ceilings

First of all, what is a tray ceiling? Think of a large tray turned upside down and set into the ceiling of a room. This architectural feature adds height to a room and makes it feel more spacious and more open.

Tray ceilings have been around for quite some time now. Making a big appearance in higher end homes during the 90’s and early 2000’s. Tray ceilings can sometimes date a home.

But wait, before you google “how to get rid of a tray ceiling”, they can become a striking focal point.

True story: That was me a few years ago…googling how to get rid of this monstrosity in my bedroom.

I wasn’t a fan of it when we bought our home. So, when I decided to give our master bedroom a more boutique hotel feel, I decided it needed to go.

Long story short (you can read more about it in this post), what I used to consider an eyesore, is now a beautiful statement piece in our bedroom….

DIY a wood planked ceiling in a master bedroom with large windows; king size platform bed and large mirror for ceiling design ideas post

With a little bit of design intuition, you can bring new life to a tray ceiling.

Ceiling Medallions

Do you know the original purpose of a ceiling medallion? Hint: They’ve been around since way before electricity.

Back when candles and oil lamps were used to light homes, ceiling medallions would hide the dirt and staining left behind from these lighting sources.

Still used today, but on more of a decorative level, ceiling medallions are a great way to cover up wiring or electrical boxes from hanging lights or a ceiling fan. In turn, the eye is left with something pretty to look at.

Ceiling medallions are available in a variety of materials, designs, and sizes.

Huge bedroom with a fireplace and a medallion on the ceiling

Source: Jensen C. Vasil Architect PC

But they don’t have to be limited to a light fixture. Creating a grouping of smaller medallions around the perimeter of the entire ceiling can add so much detail and visual interest to the rest of the room.

And the best part, ceiling medallions fit most every design style. They create a look that is both beautiful and distinctive.

Wallpaper or Textured Paint

Are you “camp-wallpaper on the ceiling” or “camp-No Way”?

So, maybe the first thing that came to your mind was a loud and bold, every color on the color wheel floral print. Ya, put me right there with you in “camp-No Way”, with that image in mind.

But let’s go somewhere else. What if we go with a neutral tweed or grasscloth wallpaper design? Or even a very subtle embossed paper? Now, we have an entirely different look.

Where a bold colors pattern can bring excitement and energy into a space. A neutral textured print can bring in a sense of calm and tranquility. Depending on the mood you’re going for in the room, either one of these options can be the right choice.

But maybe you’re still in “camp-No Way”. I understand. What about paint?

Painting a ceiling with regular paint or textured paint is sure to draw the eye upward. Which will ultimately make the room feel larger and more spacious.

Green cabinets in a kitchen with wallpapered ceiling for ceiling design ideas post

Source: Raykon Construction

When choosing the ceiling paint color, there are primarily three options:

  • Going with the same color family. But choosing a color that has just enough contrast to stand out.
  • Opting for a completely different color. One that still complements the style and color scheme of the room, but clearly pops.
  • Choosing one of the 2 options above, but opting for a completely different sheen than the wall color paint. For example, if the wall paint has a matte finish, you may choose to paint the ceiling a semi-gloss sheen.

Utilizing wallpaper or textured paint will always add visual appeal to your ceiling. This design idea turns an otherwise plain ceiling into a statement piece.

The right texture or print can completely transform the look and feel of the room, creating an inviting and cozy atmosphere.

Ceiling Design Ideas: Planks and Beams

Want to really make a statement with your ceiling? Add planks and wooden beams. While this may seem like a really difficult thing to do, it’s actually quite simple. I have a full tutorial showing you just how easy it is, in this post. 

family room with blue rug and white furniture. Coffered ceiling for ceiling design ideas post

Source: Kendall Lighting Center

These architectural elements create a sense of depth and dimension that immediately catches the eye. The textures and patterns of the planks and beams add a touch of movement.

They naturally guide the eye upward and make the whole room more interesting.

Wood Ceilings

​Ok, if I had to choose my favorite out of all of these, this would be my number one! Saving the best for last.

I have added a wood feature to several ceilings in my home and am always amazed by how incredible it looks when finished. Such a simple DIY that packs so much punch. It truly is a conversation piece.

Wood ceilings have become a popular design trend that adds natural warmth and texture to any room. One of the best elements of a wood ceiling is the ability to hide an unsightly ceiling.

Want to change your popcorn ceilings into modern ceilings? Add a wood ceiling. Have a boring white ceiling? A wood ceiling is a great option. No matter what type of ceiling you’re wanting to cover a wood ceiling will do the trick.

Large living room with a distressed wood ceiling; seating and a kitchen in the background

Source: Corbin Reeves Construction

​While there are several ways to add wood to your ceiling:

  • shiplap
  • wood beams
  • pallet boards
  • rustic wood
  • 3/4″ thick pinewood boards
  • wood paneling

My favorite way to add a wood ceiling feature is with carsiding. A tongue and groove board with a deep V-groove down the center. You can choose to expose the grooved side of the board or the other side. Which is flat and smooth.

I share how to do this easy DIY in this post.

To finish the carsiding, you can go with a more organic space feel and keep it the natural wood tone or stain it a warm color. Or, if you choose, painting the boards to fit the color scheme of the space can add a subtle touch.

As with most ceiling features, wood ceilings provide height and depth to a space, making the room feel bigger and more spacious.

So, basically what it boils down to is, when it comes to home design, don’t forget the ceiling! It’s often an overlooked canvas with endless possibilities.

Large living room with a beautiful ceiling design ideas: planked ceiling; statement lighting; seating and a rug

Source: Pure Salt Interiors

By incorporating one of these creative ceiling design ideas, you can transform a plain and forgotten space into a work of art.

From statement lighting that adds drama and elegance, to coffered ceilings that exude luxury and depth, there are numerous options to explore.

Tray ceilings can become striking focal points that draw the eye upward. While ceiling medallions offer both decorative appeal and a way to hide unsightly wiring.

Wallpaper or textured paint can bring a sense of calm or excitement, depending on your desired mood.

And for a truly dramatic impact, adding planks, beams, or wood ceilings can provide natural warmth, texture, and a captivating conversation piece.

So, don’t let your ceiling go unnoticed—unleash your creativity and make it a stunning feature that completes your dream space.

Why settle for a boring and uninspiring ceiling when you can turn it into a work of art? With any of these beautiful ceiling design ideas.

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

Be sure to Pin This Post to your Pinterest Board for later…

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More Design Posts to Check Out:

Choosing the Best Light Paint Color for Your Living Room

Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Living Space: Extend your home

How to Balance Industrial Style Design and Add Warmth


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