details above

When we first started discussing everything we would like to do in our house, ceiling features and the ceiling height was an important discussion point. It can be a small detail that adds a lot of character and interest to a house.

For a lot of new construction, 10 feet ceilings on the first floor is common. Some builders will also recommend 10 feet on the second. After touring a variety of homes, we felt that going a little larger than 10 feet on the first floor had a large impact so we decided to incorporate that into the design. We also came to the conclusion that for us, we didn’t really notice a difference between 10 and 9 feet on a second floor so we went with 9 feet ceilings upstairs.  The key to keep in mind when doing 9 feet upstairs, is to keep the door heights at 8 feet, otherwise you will definitely feel a difference.

Below are some options for creating more character in your ceilings. Be sure to talk to a builder or architect early because some of these need to be incorporated into the roof truss design.


A tray ceiling (or inverted ceiling) features a portion that is several inches or feet higher than the areas around the perimeter of the room. Sometimes accent colors, wall paper, crown molding or other materials will be used inside the tray to create more of a focal point. They can be in a variety of shapes and sizes and often times depend upon the space available with your roof truss design. You can also inset one tray into another for a more layered look.



A coffer is a series or pattern of smaller tray-like sections that are recessed into the ceiling. Coffers can be a variety of shapes and varying depths, similar to trays. You can also finish them with paint, molding, or whatever design feature you choose.



A vaulted ceiling is easier to accomplish in a one-story house or an area where there isn’t another floor above because it utilizes a lot of vertical space. The ceiling essentially comes to a raised peak in the middle. These can be accented in a number of ways but beams are one of the more common accents. It is also common to see a vaulted ceiling in a converted second floor attic storage area.


For our house, we were able to incorporate a tray in several rooms and coffers in the kitchen / great room area. We are excited to see the final product of how it all turns out!



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