Coffered ceilings are very much in vogue today. They are elegant and great-looking without being too flashy. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about them, including types, considerations, installation steps, and ideas.
If you’re interested in adding coffered ceilings to your home, it’s essential to take the time and research everything involved, from materials and types to costs and examples. Otherwise, you might be in for a few surprises.
Coffered Ceilings – All You Need to Know
Here’s everything you need to know about coffered ceilings: definition, aspects worth taking into account, types of coffered ceilings, installation costs, building instructions, as well as coffered ceiling ideas with images.
What is a Coffered Ceiling?
A coffered ceiling is a type of ceiling that features raised panels in a grid pattern. The panels can be square, rectangular, or any other shape. Plus, the panels can be made from various materials, including wood, plaster, and metal. Some people use an alternative term – Crawford ceilings. However, it’s a mistake, probably because Crawford sounds similarly to coffered.
Coffered ceilings have been around for centuries and were initially used to hide structural imperfections in the roof or ceiling. They are commonly used to add architectural interest and character to a room. It can also modify the room’s acoustic. And that’s why many people turn to coffered ceilings when it comes to decorating their homes.
If you’re keen on renting out your commercial property, installing a coffered ceiling is one way to give prospective tenants more reasons to rent from you.
While this design element has been used since ancient times, contemporary designers continue to find new ways of using it in modern interior designs. Its versatility combined with its aura of sophistication makes it a popular choice for many homeowners and business owners.
What is a Coffer?
In architecture, a coffer means an ornamental sunken panel or recess in a coffered ceiling. It usually has a square or polygonal shape. A series of coffers forms a coffered ceiling. Initially, wooden beams spread across each other on a ceiling made up of coffers.
Coffers add architectural interest and increase the feeling of space in your home or office because they deflect sightlines and create shadows that make ceilings appear higher than they really are.
The term coffer comes from an ancient Greek banker who invented coffers – recesses in ceilings, which he used to hold his money. Coffered ceilings were typical in ancient Greece and Rome, but they fell out of use.
They were revived in wealthy homes and public buildings (including churches and banks) during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. They became more elaborate and referred to as wedding cake ceilings.
Today’s coffered ceilings are usually more straightforward than those of older times. Most feature flat surfaces with a few panels or ribs. Still, many people choose to revisit traditional architecture by installing coffered ceilings.
What is a Waffle Ceiling?
A waffle ceiling is a coffered ceiling where the beams cross each other in a shape that resembles the surface of a pattern. It can be used in any room of the house, but it’s trendy in kitchens and bathrooms since they add extra storage space. In fact, many people use waffle ceilings to create hidden storage areas that can be used to store small appliances, linens, or seasonal decorations.
Coffered Ceiling Considerations
There are several key aspects worth taking into account before installing a coffered ceiling in your home.
Coffered ceilings are best suited for high ceilings – no less than 9 feet (2.74 meters) tall, but it depends on your aesthetic preferences. Remember, the higher your ceiling is, the easier it is to create a coffered look. As such, it’s usually not a good idea to install a coffered ceiling in a room with a low ceiling since it will look cluttered.
Coffers in different spaces
Coffers can be featured prominently in various rooms – like an entryway, living room, staircase leading to bedrooms, and so on. But if you plan to use them in more than one room of your home or business, consider that they may not fit into each space equally well.
Because their layout can vary based on where you’re applying them, their size should differ. It’s best if the grid of individual panels making up the coffers are about 1/16th inch (.16 cm) smaller than the width of the space in which they will be installed. Otherwise, they will stand out like a sore thumb.
Faux or functional beams
Faux coffered ceilings are simply made by painting the ceiling. It’s not complicated and doesn’t need special tools or materials. You can quickly get the look of decorative beams of light hitting your ceiling without craning your neck to see them. However, there’s no practical reason for installing a faux coffered ceiling.
Functional beams are more expensive than their faux counterparts since they require additional labor, material, and time to construct correctly. There are two primary types of authentic coffer ceilings: box beam and hidden rod.
The box beam style is where structural joints between wood beams are covered with drywall panels. Meanwhile, the hidden rod (suspended) style uses rods about 1-1/2 inches (.81 cm) in diameter to suspend the wood beams from the ceiling.
The larger the grid pattern, the more complex the ceiling will look. Generally, it’s best to start with a simple design and then add more complexity as needed. That said, there’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to grid size – it all depends on your preferences and the effect you’re trying to achieve.
Many different materials can be used for coffered ceiling panels, but some work better than others. Wood is a popular choice because it can be stained or painted to match any color scheme.
Metal coffered ceilings are standard, especially in commercial settings where the goal is to achieve a sleek and modern look. Other materials like plaster and drywall can also be used, but they’re not as durable as wood or metal.
Installing a coffered ceiling is a big job and should be done by a professional. It’s a complex process that includes creating the coffers, installing the framing, and applying the paneling. If you’re thinking of installing a coffered ceiling in your home, it’s best to consult with a contractor to get an idea of what’s involved and how much it will cost.
There are several different types of coffered ceilings, but all share the same basic features. They consist of a grid of squares or rectangles, called coffers, set into a flat ceiling. The coffers can be plain or have a decorative pattern or molding. The panels between the coffers may also be filled with decorative elements.
The grids are usually arranged symmetrically, but this is not necessary. They can consist of several different size coffers and panels, which alternate designs. While the grid pattern is always symmetrical, its composition is not. Coffered ceilings may have regular or irregular spacing between their coffers and panels.
Let’s review the three main types of coffered ceilings: recessed, drop, and raised.
The recessed coffer ceiling is one in which the coffers are deep enough to conceal the beams, so they appear as raised panels. This type of ceiling is best suited for rooms with low ceilings since it creates an illusion of higher space.
The drop coffered ceiling features coffers that are not as deep and only go a few inches down from the ceiling’s surface. As a result, it can make a room look larger while lending a bit of extra architectural interest by breaking up the space with its recessed design, mainly if you use contrasting materials.
Plus, drop ceilings allow you to hide air conditioners and ventilation ducts – which makes them even more ideal for small spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, or closets.
A raised coffered ceiling begins at the surface of the ceiling and extends down to conceal any beams beneath it. Because each panel starts from the ceiling’s surface, this type of coffered ceiling makes a room look more monumental by emphasizing its height.
What’s more, it gives you several other design options since you can use different materials underneath each panel if desired. But keep in mind this type of coffered ceiling is best suited for high ceilings. Otherwise, the panels will seem crowded together. It would also be odd if they were too shallow or close to each other.
How to Install a Coffered Ceiling like a Pro
- Study blueprints or find grid patterns to fit your room’s dimensions.
- Measure and plan the area before construction begins. Draw out at least two grids on graph paper with the grid square measurements.
- Identify a place for extra support beams to support the weight.
- Take four 2×4 pieces and cut them to create a box frame, using 1-inch spacers between each piece to make it easier.
- Line up the two side pieces parallel to the ground and screw them together, then use a third board perpendicular to connect them in the same fashion, making sure it’s square and level.
- Add a fourth board and screw in place at 90 degrees from your first.
- Repeat this process with another 2×4 frame, but this time standing upright, so it becomes the top of your coffered ceiling.
- Attach the plywood sheeting to the frames. Cut a piece of 1/2-inch plywood that’s the same size as your frames and screw it into place on top of the frame, making sure the edges are flush.
- Now use a saw or router to cut out coffers in each square using the grid pattern you created earlier as your guide.
- Install furring strips around the perimeter of the room at ceiling height
- Once your grid is in place, you can start framing out the rest of the ceiling by installing furring strips around the perimeter of your room at ceiling height. Furring strips are simply thin pieces of lumber that provide a level surface to which you can attach drywall or paneling.
- Attach drywall or paneling to furring strips. Now that your ceiling is framed, you can attach drywall or paneling directly to the furring strips using screws or nails. Make sure to use a level as you go to ensure a smooth, even surface.
- Finish with crown molding, if desired.
- Once you finish the central part of the ceiling, you can add extra touches like crown molding for a more polished look. Just make sure everything is level and correctly spaced before nailing into place.
Ideas and Inspiration
Let’s take a look at a few great coffered ceiling images so you can get some ideas for your next home design!
1. Wood Ceiling Ideas in the Kitchen
This kitchen features a beautiful wood coffered ceiling. The rich wood tones add warmth and character to the space, and the elegant pendant light hanging over the island provides a focal point. Plus, you can easily add a touch of luxury with your choice of paint color, countertops, and other décor items.
2. Vaulted Ceiling Ideas in the Living Room
A vaulted coffered ceiling is installed in this living room. The design of the ceiling is echoed in the wainscoting, which adds dimension to the space. It’s an excellent way to add drama and style to a room. Besides, you can also paint the ceiling a light color to make it look higher and more spacious.
3. Coffered Ceiling Ideas in the Bathroom
If you’re thinking of installing a coffered ceiling in the bathroom, you can opt for dark wooden beams since it gives a nice contrast to the white ceiling without making you feel claustrophobic. Top it off by adding several light fixtures strategically placed within the coffers.
4. Tray Ceiling Ideas in the Master Bedroom
A tray ceiling is a great way to add visual interest and dimension to a room. It’s especially effective in a small space, as it can make the room feel larger. Plus, there are lots of different design options you can choose from, such as coffered ceilings, paneled ceilings, and even beadboard ceilings.
We think that this master bedroom looks stunning with a white tray ceiling. Although the beams are white as the wall paint, it contrasts nicely with the maple wood flooring. And it’s topped off by a hanging light fixture in the center of the ceiling.
5. Ceiling Beam Ideas in the Family Room
This family room features a beautiful wood-paneled coffered ceiling. The panels are painted white to match the walls, and the beams are a dark wood color. It’s a warm and inviting space that would be perfect for relaxing with family and friends.
And, as you can see from the image, the ceiling is not that high, which means that this ceiling beam idea leaves room for versatility.
6. Decorative Ceiling Beams Ideas in the Family Room
Here’s another excellent idea that involves a family room and decorative ceiling beams. What we love about it is that the beams have two colors: white and cherry.
Furthermore, the cherry matches the color of the furniture in the room, making it feel organic. It adds some much-needed depth to this area of the house, coupled with simple lighting spots in each coffer.
7. Kitchen Ceiling Ideas
This kitchen has a unique coffered ceiling that’s made to look like an exposed beam ceiling. It’s a great way to add some character to the room and make it stand out.
Plus, the white color of the beams creates dramatic contrast when paired with the dark wood color of the large bar-style island and cabinets. Simply put, we love this kitchen ceiling idea.
8. New Ceiling Design
Here’s a new ceiling design that we think is simply stunning. It’s a coffered ceiling with recessed lighting that creates a beautiful effect. And the best part is that it can be installed in any room of your house, not just the living room or bedroom.
We can imagine this looking amazing in a bathroom, kitchen, or even a patio. For more inspiration, look over the Instagram post uploaded by @topsideinn.
9. Ceiling Decoration Ideas
For those who want to incorporate ceiling decoration ideas into their home, look no further than the image uploaded by @interiorsaddict. It shows an interesting design with deep and curvy coffers, which are nicely complemented by a modern hanging light fixture in metallic gold.
The result is a unique pattern that works well with the framework of any room. Furthermore, it allows you to use the lighting however you like, whether it’s for ambient or task lighting.
10. Living Room Ceiling Ideas
This living room ceiling has an exciting design with white coffered panels installed over a wooden ceiling that resembles a fishbone parquet. It’s an interesting twist to the classical wooden beams built over a white ceiling.
And we think this living room ceiling idea works extremely well with a high ceiling. In this example portrayed by @interiors.media on Instagram, the room is two-story high. As such, the ceiling is high enough to allow for a chandelier or pendant light.
11. Bedroom Ceiling Ideas
If you have a farmhouse or a cabin, you can take advantage of reclaimed wood to redecorate your bedroom with a coffered ceiling. It’s a quick solution for adding more intimacy to the bedroom. At the same time, it ties the whole room together, especially if you have matching furniture.
This Instagram post published by @fishcampcustom shows exactly what we mean by this bedroom ceiling idea. The entire ceiling is made out of reclaimed wood, so there are no white spaces left. Besides, it makes it easier to place light fixtures in key parts.
12. Ceiling Panel Ideas
Building a coffered ceiling trim is a great way to add elegance and sophistication to any room. This Instagram post by @stacy_sells_yeg shows how it can be done using a dark pattern.
We think this ceiling panel idea is stunning. Plus, a coffered ceiling is a great way to hide any flaws in the ceiling and add some visual interest at the same time.
13. Living Room Ceiling Design
Most people turn to coffered ceilings to add brightness and depth to their homes. As such, they prefer light colors that can absorb natural light and spread it across the room. But if you want something different, consider using dark colors for the coffered area of your ceiling.
This example published by @carolynthayerinteriors on Instagram shows a beautiful living room with navy blue wooden beams and an equally dark coffered ceiling. There’s not a lot of contrast to go with here. But it’s still an elegant way to add pops of color to a living room ceiling design.
14. Modern Drop Ceiling Ideas in the Office
A home office should be isolated from the rest of the house so that you can focus on work. And a modern drop ceiling is a good way to add more intimacy and make you feel more productive. Just check out this Instagram post published by @harrisonfaedesign to see what we mean.
The coffered ceiling design is organic to the office since it feels like it was extended from the wooden cabinets. The beams are white as the shelves, while the ceiling has the same wooden texture as the back wall. It’s a stunning example of how you can turn your office into more than just another room.
15. Wood Ceiling Ideas with Low Beams
If you want to make a statement in your home with coffered ceilings but fear that they would only add clutter to the rooms, then check out this awesome wood ceiling idea with low beams that we found on Instagram, courtesy of @dnrdesignaz.
The ceiling can remain white since there’s no reason to change its colors. However, you can install low beams in a dark color, like black, in order to add contrast and change the entire dynamics of the room. It’s a great way to make a bold statement without going overboard.
16. Ceiling Beam Ideas in the Living Room
It’s interesting how this living room ceiling design turns the standard idea of a coffered ceiling on its head. Instead of having one large panel, there are several smaller ones with open spaces between them for better air circulation. Just take a look at the Instagram post published by @ariellahorowitzdesigngroup to see what we mean.
The result of this ceiling beam idea is an intricate design that creates textural contrast and adds interest. It also looks great next to other modern features, such as the recessed lights and pendant lamps. Plus, it allows enough natural light to come through for a brighter effect in the room.
17. Coffered Ceiling Ideas
Here’s another great example of a coffered ceiling idea that uses panels to add depth and visual interest. The design is slightly different this time since the square coffers spread across the room’s ceiling meet in the middle in the form of a circular coffer.
A statement pendant light fixture hangs from the circular coffer to draw your attention to the center of the room. It’s cunning and elegant at the same time. Check out @larinakase‘s Instagram post for more inspiration!
18. Barn Wood Ceiling Ideas
If you enjoy the rustic look for your home, then consider using a barn wood ceiling design. It has an authentic farmhouse feel that looks great in any type of room or interior. The only thing better would be to add beams and brick walls for full-on farmhouse decor.
Just check out this Instagram photo from @triumph_carpentry! It uses a gorgeous combination of white and natural wood for the coffered ceiling design. Besides, it’s an excellent way to make your home feel more personal and inviting.
19. Kitchen Ceiling Ideas with Dark Wood
People love using a kitchen ceiling design because it helps to make the room feel more intimate and easier to move around. However, you can also try a darker wood finish for your beams instead of going with plain white or cream.
This is the idea that @exowoodworking.htx has in mind when designing this stunning space. The wood has a beautiful deep brown color that contrasts perfectly with the white ceiling, green cabinets, and dark countertop. Plus, it gives the kitchen an extra touch of luxury and refinement.
20. Natural Wood Ceiling Ideas
If you want a more natural look for your ceilings, then consider using wood in its natural state. This might mean using unfinished beams or installing wooden panels that have been treated to preserve the natural color and texture of the wood.
Just take this wood ceiling idea we found on Instagram, courtesy of @onecoastdesign. It has just the right combination of light and dark tones in order to balance out the color scheme without being too overpowering.
Besides, it’s a great way to add some warmth and texture to your ceilings. And who knows, you might even get lucky and find a beam with natural wood grain patterns that look unique.
21. Classy Ceiling Beam Ideas in the Office
Those who work from home and regularly go into Zoom meetings know how important it is to preserve a professional look for your office. It’s not only an image you want to project to your colleagues but also a way to make you feel like you’re actually in an office building.
In this case, you can use a ceiling beam idea to achieve the desired effect. This could mean opting for a dark wood finish with sleek lines or even going with a metal beam. Just look at this beautiful office ceiling we found on Instagram, thanks to @jenniferstonerinteriors.
22. Cool Ceiling Ideas for a Rustic Home
Rustic style is one of the most popular interior design styles because it can fit almost any type of budget and decor. One way to make your home look truly rough and ready is by using a cool ceiling idea that adds texture and helps reduce noise in large rooms.
Using wood beams for this purpose may be an excellent idea since they give the room a cabin-like feel. Plus, they can easily be stained or painted to match your existing decor.
Here’s a perfect example we discovered on Instagram, thanks to @iconic.custom.carpentry. The same design of coffered ceilings is installed throughout the house to make all rooms seem connected by dark wooden beams over white paint, complete with light spots.
23. White Kitchen Ceiling Ideas
White is the perfect color for ceilings because it makes the room feel more spacious and airy. Plus, it’s a great way to brighten up a kitchen or any other room in your home. You can even use white when installing a coffered ceiling. It may not add contrast but will definitely put the room into perspective.
Here’s a stunning kitchen ceiling idea that involves white and which we absolutely love! We discovered it on Instagram, courtesy of @ottconstruction. Although it portrays a living room and kitchen in an open-space concept, the white coffered ceiling is installed in the living area and completely separated from the kitchen section through a beam used as a border.
24. New Ceiling Design in the Kitchen
Going for a new ceiling design can be a great way to refresh the look of your kitchen. The best part is that you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch. You can always give your old coffered ceilings a makeover and discover some new ideas.
So, why not try replacing all of your plastered ceilings with coffered ones? We discovered this idea on Instagram, thanks to @fourwalls.studio. By mixing various elements and styles, the designer managed to turn an ordinary kitchen into something extraordinary.
25. Ceiling Beam Ideas
There are so many ways that you can use ceiling beams to improve the look of your living room or even bedroom. It all comes down to finding a design you’ll love and which will fit in with everything else going on in your home.
In some cases, it can even make the walls seem higher than they actually are. For example, check out the coffered ceiling design portrayed by @matrixinteriorspune in this Instagram post!
It uses sunken square coffers to add drama and make the ceiling feel higher. The idea works particularly well when paired with lighting fixtures placed at different heights on the ceiling.
Discover more helpful information about coffered ceilings:
How to build a coffered ceiling?
Building a coffered ceiling is a job that a professional contractor should do. There are many steps involved in creating and installing a coffered ceiling, including creating the coffers, framing the ceiling, and applying the paneling.
It’s a complex process that requires special skills and knowledge, so it’s best to leave it to the experts. For example, it’s necessary to cut holes in your ceiling sheeting for any low beam sections, trim them out, and install drywall or plasterboard panels behind them.
How much does a coffered ceiling cost?
The cost for a coffered ceiling depends on various factors, such as the size of your room and the materials you want to use. Installing a coffered ceiling also requires special tools and skills, so it’s best to leave it to the pros.
A square foot of coffered ceiling costs around $25, depending on the design and materials. Although it covers the labor and materials, it doesn’t include additional fees like trim, paint, and finials. So, if you have a 100-square foot home and wish to install a coffered ceiling in all rooms, expect to pay at least $2500.
What is the difference between recessed and drop coffered ceilings?
The most significant difference between these two types of coffered ceilings is how deep the coffers are.
Recessed coffers are deep enough to conceal the beams, while drop coffers don’t go as far down. Depending on your preferences, this distinction can create an illusion of size in a room or add extra architectural interest.
Are there any other advantages to creating a coffered ceiling in your home?
Aside from being a stunning focal point in any room, coffered ceilings provide many advantages.
For one, they help to brighten a space by reflecting light through the gaps between beams and surfaces. They also allow for better ventilation since there are spaces within the coffers where air can pass through.
Are there any disadvantages to installing a coffered ceiling?
Since an installation requires so much precision and careful planning, there’s always a high risk of error when creating an original coffered ceiling grid.
In addition, you have less flexibility with size and design compared to using prefabricated panels.
Finally, since you need special tools and skills to work with wood beams, you should leave this task up to experts or suffer the consequences.
How do you know if your room is the right size for a coffered ceiling?
Not every room is suitable for a coffered ceiling. The size and shape of the room are key determining factors, together with the height of the ceiling.
Generally, a coffered ceiling is best suited for spaces with at least 8-foot ceilings. However, if you have a lower ceiling, you can still install a coffered ceiling using shorter beams and a shallower grid pattern.
Are furring strips required to install a coffered ceiling?
Since most coffered ceilings are made of wood, you need a solid frame to support them. If your ceiling is completely flat, you can install furring strips around its perimeter to serve as a base for your drywall or paneling.
However, if you have dropped beams on top of your flat ceiling, you may opt not to use furring strips and attach the drywall directly to the existing beams.
What are some ways I can customize my coffered ceiling?
Since there are no limits on the sky with a coffered ceiling design, you have several options for customizing or personalizing yours.
For example, you can change the material and color by painting the beams and coffers in different shades or choosing different wood types. Depending on your preference, you can also modify the pattern, either opting for geometric or more artistic shapes.
Are coffered ceilings considered high-end?
Yes, especially if you want to install a custom design with added features like lighting and sound systems.
Installing a custom coffered ceiling requires precision and careful planning since it’s something created from scratch instead of prefabricated panels.
Done correctly, it can transform any room into an impressive master suite or modern living space that everyone will admire.
How much does it cost to replace beams in a coffered ceiling?
The price depends on the materials used for the coffer and beams themselves. A square foot of plain drywall can cost as little as $0.40, but this price goes up when adding molding, corner beads, and corner guards.
Wood beams can be a bit more expensive, depending on the type of wood used and whether they’re prefinished in paint or stain. However, prices vary by geographical location since suppliers in different regions have different supply costs.
Do I need special tools to install a coffered ceiling?
It’s best to use only high-quality tools for your project to get the best results possible. Otherwise, cheaper materials might result in poor cuts and uneven joints that may fall apart over time. It’s especially true if you have to take them apart.
It would help to have a drywall saw handy so that you can trim your panels to fit snugly into the beams.
What factors determine the costs of coffered ceilings?
The cost of installing a coffered ceiling depends on several factors, including material (drywall, wood veneer, etc.), type of pattern (geometric or freeform), size and depth of beams, trim used (if any), and lighting or sound system used.
Why is it important to choose the right beam depth for my ceiling?
It’s important to consider what look you want before determining how deep to make your ceiling beams.
For instance, shallower beams will provide less depth but more light than deeper ones that provide more shade and better acoustics.
If you’re unsure about what looks best in your space, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional to get some ideas.
What type of screws do I need for my coffered ceiling?
There are several types of screws to use for a coffered ceiling, but the most critical factor is the type of wood you’re using.
For example, if you’re using treated lumber, you’ll need galvanized screws to prevent corrosion. If you’re using untreated lumber or indoor-rated plywood, then standard zinc-coated screws will work just fine.
Can I install a coffered ceiling over an existing drywall ceiling?
Yes, but are a few things you need to take into account. First, you’ll need to remove the existing ceiling and then attach the drywall directly to the existing beams. You should also check for any wiring or plumbing that may be in the way and plan accordingly.
In some cases, it may be necessary to install new beams if the existing ones are too weak or rotted to support the weight of a new ceiling.
If I’m using wood with my coffered ceiling, do I need to seal it?
Yes, you should permanently seal your wood before painting or staining it to help protect it from moisture and prolong its life. There are several types of sealers available, so read the instructions carefully to choose the right one for your project.
What’s the best way to clean a coffered ceiling?
The best way to clean a coffered ceiling will vary depending on the material you used. For example, if you have wood beams, you can use a wood cleaner to eliminate any dirt or grime buildup.
You can just use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust or fingerprints if you have drywall. It’s always important to read the manufacturer’s instructions before using any cleaning product.
So, what do you think? Are coffered ceilings something you might want to consider for your home or office? If so, consult with a professional before getting started, as it can be a complex process that requires special skills and knowledge. But with the right team on your side, installing a coffered ceiling can be a rewarding experience that will add value and beauty to your home or office for years to come.
What are your favorite coffered ceiling ideas? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!