Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (2024)

Here we share cathedral ceiling design ideas including popular types of lighting and pictures of them in living rooms, bedrooms & kitchens.
Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (1)A cathedral ceiling can draw the eye upward creating a grand impression and add drama and ambiance to a room. A cathedral ceiling design can help make a space feel larger by providing a feeling of openness. Rooms with vaulted ceilings often have large windows giving them the benefit of addition natural light.

Table of Contents

What Is A Cathedral Ceiling?

By architectural definition, a cathedral ceiling has symmetrical steep and equal slopping sides joining at a higher point in the middle of the room and usually conform to the pitch of the roof structure.

The term cathedral ceiling originated from the design most popular with cathedrals, and so the style was particular to describe the certain type of element of a ceiling design now widely use in both traditional and modern residential architecture.

Cathedral vs Vaulted Ceiling

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (2)A cathedral ceiling is also known as a vaulted ceiling, but while the cathedral ceiling has equal sloping sides that are parallel to the pitch of the roof; the vaulted ceiling does not have two equal sloping sides that are similar to the roof’s pitch.

Vaulted ceiling as defined in architecture, slopes upward from both sides to form a peak and constructed with a self-supporting arch in the form of an arched or barrel shaped ceilings.

Unlike the airy cathedral ceiling, the vaulted ceiling does not have to be the same pitch as the roof and could have a single slope and uneven sides. Unlike the cathedral ceiling, a vaulted ceiling can have a curved or an ached shape.

Both cathedral and vault ceiling extend higher than a flat ceiling and create an illusion of larger more elevated space overhead, adding air space and increases the natural light in the room especially when installed with skylights or roof windows.

Both ceiling designs can greatly improve the character and overall beauty of a home. A cathedral or vault ceiling can create a more interesting design by incorporating unusual detail which help add tonal warmth, elegance, and grandeur to any room.

Cathedral Ceiling Lighting

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (3)Having a sloped cathedral type ceiling has its own challenges and requires special considerations especially in finding a suitable lighting solution. Cathedral or Vault ceiling requires several layers of light to brighten the extra space overhead while making sure the light shines in the right direction.

Here are some things you need to consider in planning and installing lighting fixtures in your design.

• Be mindful of the amount of light you require in a room.

• Consider the areas which needs to be illuminated – indicate which part or spot in the room that needs maximum lighting or any architectural features you want highlighted.

• Measure the highest and lowest point in terms of ceiling height as well as the height difference of the walls in the room.

• Take into account the floor plan and the design concept of the room.

• Consider all existing beams and exposed trusses that line the sloping ceiling planes.

• Calculate the number of watts level required for a cathedral or vault ceiling.

o Measure and multiply the width by the length of the room and multiply the number by 25. This calculation will give you the approximate watts needed to illuminate the room.

o The total number of watts can be distributed within the quantity of lights to be used to allocate enough lights and create layers in the room.

Types of Lighting Fixtures for Cathedral Ceilings

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (4)We would also like to suggest ceiling light fixtures suitable for cathedral or vaulted ceiling.

Pendants and Chandeliers – This will bring the light to a more standard level for a tall or high ceiling type.

Linear lights – These light fixtures are perfect to be installed along the ceiling edge to highlight the beams and add drama to the room’s ambience.

Recessed lights – Installing shovel-cut cans recessed lights that are angled on vaulted ceiling at a 45-degree slope allows light to shine straight down and work wonders in the room.

Track lights – These types of lighting fixtures work best for kitchens with a sloped vaulted ceiling as well as any area of your home. By using track lights, you can easily adjust the lamp heads in the direction where you need most of the light. This addition can enhance your overal decor and show off different angles and details.

Cable Lighting – These are lighting fixtures similar to track lights but without taking a lot of visual space. Cable lighting are the best option to use when you have exposed huge log beams and you want to highlight this architectural structure of your ceiling.

Cathedral Ceiling Ideas

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (5)Designing cathedral ceilings showcases several features such as installing support beams or striking hardware fixtures which create a unique and distinct combination with the beams.

One of the most popular cathedral ceiling design is where the ceiling follows the roof line in a symmetrical design using a drywall finish which lines the sloping ceiling planes and would form a ridge in the middle.

Tongue and groove planks – Using tongue and groove boards or plank and beam design in high ceiling creates a dramatic impact to the extra space and adds visual contrasts. This design element lends a touch of elegance to the overall decor of the room.

Wood trusses & beams – Another design concept is combining squared trusses, horizontal beams and wood paneling help create a contemporary cathedral ceiling look a bit retro and cozy.

Skylights – Installing skylights is another design feature a cathedral ceiling may have. These skylights allow natural light to brighten the room and the upper part of the ceiling; plus, it offers extra ventilation for the room.

Cathedral Ceiling Living Room

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (6)When decorating a living room which has cathedral ceiling always consider matching the size of the furniture with the room size.

Locate proper lighting points in the ceiling which will highlight focal points in your living room, choose appropriate accessories and décor products that will emphasize the high ceiling and create an elegant design feature in the room.

Always remember to keep the design style and color scheme of your living room cohesive to give your living room a fresher and more relaxing ambiance.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (7)This wood plank ceiling provided visual interest and brings a natural feel to the space.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (8)Mid century modern living room with high ceiling skylights.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (9)Modern living room with stone built in shelving and gas fireplace with subtle vaulted ceiling design.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (10)Large living room with high vaulted wood beam ceiling and stacked stone fireplace.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (11)Inviting living room with bright white ceiling and two chandeliers.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (12)Contemporary living room with vaulted ceiling and gray furniture and granite stone gas fireplace.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (13)This luxurious living room offers a stunning wood ceiling design with attached home bar.

Cathedral Ceiling Kitchen

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (14)A cathedral ceiling is an architectural feature which creates a huge stunning effect when incorporated in your kitchen design since it gives the room a more dramatic effect.

Innovative rafters, such as heavy timber beam helps provides a unique detail and good vibe in the kitchen area. This luxury transitional kitchen with two islands has open wood beams and rich wood finishes.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (15)Contemporary kitchen with high ceilings and open wood beams, white cabinets and quartz countertops.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (16)Kitchen with interesting wood truss design, linear pendant lighting and white cabinets.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (17)This contemporary kitchen with wood ceiling design looks stylish with its updated finishes including gray cabinets, white quartz countertops and frosted glass pendant lighting.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (18)This expansive kitchen layout is made even more grand by its high ceiling with arched support beams, which adds a unique personality to the space.

Creative ceiling designs, such as this one, can take advantage of the room’s height and provide various options such as recessed lighting, chandeliers, track lighting and other fixtures.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (19)Country kitchen with rustic open beam ceiling and white cabinets with butcher block countertops. The choice of solid wood beams paired with wood countertops and white cabinet materials in this design adds warmth and charm.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (20)This country kitchen design features black cabinets with plenty of contrast through its bright yellow wall and ceiling paint and wood butcher block countertops.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (21)Kitchen with vaulted ceiling, wood beam, white cabinets and black quartz countertops.

Cathedral Ceiling Bedroom

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (22)When it comes to architecture, bedrooms are designed to be a true sanctuary for rest and relaxation. Cathedral ceiling in bedrooms can add a stunning level of elegance to your private abode.

This design feature makes the room feel larger and create a brighter ambience. Wood beams, groove panels, and planked ceilings are just a few accents and features which produce a variety of contrast to the bedroom design scheme.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (23)Traditional master bedroom with cathedral ceiling wood flooring.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (24)Modern farmhouse bedroom with rough hewn wood beams and shiplap ceiling. Shiplap ceiling designs that are painted white can help dramatically brighten the space.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (25)

Master bedroom with vaulted ceiling, single faux wood beam and gray accent wall. The higher ceilings provide a roomy feel.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (26)

This inviting stately bedroom design with separate sitting area has an inviting fireplace and painted tongue and groove ceiling.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (27)Mediterranean style bedroom with cathedral ceiling and wood beams enhances the majestic feel and spacious layout to provide a sense of luxury.

For another related picture gallery visit our tray ceiling ideas page, where you’ll find additional tips and inspiration to transform your space.

Cathedral Ceiling (Design Guide) - Designing Idea (2024)


How do you make a vaulted ceiling look good? ›

Some simple tricks, like painting the ceiling white, will make the room brighter and reflect more natural light, in the right space, you can also use dark colors for vaulted ceilings, which can make a room look more dramatic and elegant. Exposed wood beams can also create a rustic design.

Are cathedral ceilings a good idea? ›

A cathedral ceiling maximizes the vertical space in a room in a way that conventional flat ceilings cannot. The addition of a cathedral ceiling will instantly elevate the look of your home. Higher ceilings such as this are much more space-efficient than a flat ceiling and certainly more interesting.

What is the minimum R-value for a cathedral ceiling? ›

In Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, most prescriptive building codes require ceiling insulation to have a minimum R-value of R-49. In Zones 2 and 3, the minimum requirement is R-38, while in Zone 1, it's R-30.

What's the difference between vaulted ceilings and cathedral ceilings? ›

Some designers use the terms “vaulted ceilings” and “cathedral ceilings” interchangeably, but there is a technical difference: A cathedral ceiling is typically not arched, instead following the pitch of the roof, while a vaulted ceiling incorporates an arch design within the triangular pitch of the roof.

How do you give the illusion of a vaulted ceiling? ›

11 Tricks to Make a Ceiling Look Higher
  1. Choose low, horizontal furniture. Keep everything hunkered down low. ...
  2. Use wide expanses of glass and keep window coverings simple. ...
  3. Keep lighting flush. ...
  4. Elongate with vertical stripes. ...
  5. Use patterned drapes. ...
  6. Use a vertical display. ...
  7. Include uplighting. ...
  8. Give your ceiling high gloss.
Mar 30, 2022

What is the best vaulted ceiling height? ›

Typical vaulted ceiling height in previous projects can be anywhere from 12 - 25 ft. One reason we like to incorporate a vaulted ceiling into our custom builds is because it can add more visual space to a room adding a sense of grandeur and dramatic volume.

Do cathedral ceilings add value? ›

Depending on the type of home and the market, a vaulted ceiling may be worth more or less. The size of the space as a whole, the amount of natural light, any exposed beams, and other ceiling designs all affect how much value the vaulted ceiling will contribute to your property.

What is the best material for cathedral ceiling? ›

Note: Most experts agree that closed-cell foam is best for unvented cathedral ceilings while vented cathedral ceilings can be insulated with less expensive open-cell foam.

Does a cathedral ceiling make a room look bigger? ›

There's no doubt that vaulted ceilings — also known as cathedral ceilings — can create a light and airy space and make a room look bigger than it really is, but know what you're getting yourself into before falling head over heels in love.

Does a cathedral ceiling need to be vented? ›

Cathedral ceilings covered with asphalt shingles require adequate ventilation like any other roof to prevent damage to the shingles. There should be a space of at least 1 inch (25 mm) between the roof sheathing and the insulation to allow for the unobstructed air movement.

Do you have to insulate a cathedral ceiling? ›

Cathedral ceilings are beautiful, but they must be properly insulated to keep ceiling temperatures closer to room temperatures. To do this, the cathedral ceiling must be built with space between the roof deck and your home's ceiling for adequate insulation and ventilation.

What insulation for 2x12 cathedral ceiling? ›

The rafters in cathedral ceilings are usually made of 2x12s or 2x10s, and Owens Corning makes two special high-density insulation products specifically for these rafters -- R-38C for 2x12s and R-30C for 2x10s.

Are cathedral ceilings dated? ›

Cathedral ceilings are not outdated. However, due to their high maintenance, you will need to decide if the ceiling style is worth it.

Can cathedral ceilings have crown molding? ›

Crown molding is definitely more difficult to install on vaulted or cathedral ceilings than it is on traditional ceilings, but that doesn't mean it's totally impossible. In order to do it yourself, you might need to rent out certain equipment and dust off your old calculator, but the difference in effort is negligible.

Why do people want vaulted ceilings? ›

Vaulted ceilings can take advantage of otherwise wasted roof space and create a larger dramatic room volume. Vaulted ceilings will make your home appear larger than it actually is. Vaulted ceilings do a wonderful job of enhancing your home's natural light, especially when accompanied by larger windows.

How do you decorate a high slanted ceiling? ›

Show off slanted ceilings with lots of lighting

Lots of small lamps are ideal – these enable you to light up even the darkest nooks and crannies and make a room look more structured: for example, you can easily differentiate between a reading corner, sleeping area and workspace.

What color should vaulted ceilings be? ›

As with any other room, painting your vaulted ceilings and walls the same color will tie your room together. And the same color-choice rule of thumb holds true for vaulted ceilings: light walls and dark ceilings = smaller-feeling room; darker walls and light ceilings = larger-feeling room.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rob Wisoky

Last Updated:

Views: 6441

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rob Wisoky

Birthday: 1994-09-30

Address: 5789 Michel Vista, West Domenic, OR 80464-9452

Phone: +97313824072371

Job: Education Orchestrator

Hobby: Lockpicking, Crocheting, Baton twirling, Video gaming, Jogging, Whittling, Model building

Introduction: My name is Rob Wisoky, I am a smiling, helpful, encouraging, zealous, energetic, faithful, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.