Decorative Tray Ceilings

By HomeAdvisor

Updated November 11, 2016

Empty room with white tray ceiling

Many homeowners don’t know what a tray ceiling is and only become interested in them when they see them. These ceilings offer immediate benefits to a room, including enlarging the height of the room without the cavernous feeling of vaulted ceilings. The real opportunities lie in decorative ceiling options. More and more, ceilings are becoming a focal point for rooms, especially bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms. In short, decorative ceilings are great where people may linger in the home and appreciate their beauty.

Get Creative with a Tray Ceiling

One of the easiest and most effective ways to create a decorative tray ceiling is simply with an accent color. Some people are afraid of painting any of their walls a dark color, but tray ceilings lend themselves to this move. The reason is simple. Dark colors make a room feel smaller, but with a recessed ceiling the net feeling is more of a cozy atmosphere. In bedrooms, especially, this can provide a wonderful effect. Matching the color to an element of your bedroom d├ęcor, such as bedding or a bedroom dresser, can make for a truly stunning effect.

For more public areas, like living or dining rooms, a faux scene can give your room a stately elegance at a reasonable price. If you have a creative bent and have always wanted to play Michelangelo, here’s your chance. Otherwise, you probably want to leave the execution to a professional artisan (even if the design is your idea). A professional should allow you to take as active or as passive a role as you want in the design of the faux scene. Regardless of what room you install your tray ceiling in, don’t feel you can’t have more traditional ceiling fixtures as well. Ceiling fans work just as well on decorative ceilings as on any other. You may need a longer extension on a suspended ceiling fan, but that should be no problem.

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Tray Ceiling Lighting and Molding

More than surface decoration, these ceilings are great for recessed lighting and additional molding. With the lighting fixtures hidden beneath the molding, the light can spread gently across your tray ceiling for some truly stunning effects. Whether you’re lighting a specific decorative texture or simply trying to create a more relaxing ambiance for your rooms, recessed lighting almost always adds something to your ceilings. Moldings are great for creating a frame for your faux scene or producing a stately appearance in your living and dining rooms.

Building a Tray Ceiling

This may sound great, but if you have a home that doesn’t have tray ceilings, what good do these decorative tips do you? While tray ceilings do require additional framing for structural support, it may not be a terribly expensive project to build tray ceilings in second-story rooms where there’s some available attic space. In fact, if you have an attic that can’t be renovated, building tray ceilings can be a nice alternative to still get something from this space in your home.

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