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Add Personality to Your Interior with a Coffered Ceiling

Nothing adds instant personality to your interior quite like a coffered ceilingSometimes the sunken panels on these showpiece features are squares, and other times they’re rectangles. Throw in other geometric shapes, and you can really add a dash of unexpected style. Is it difficult to pull of this look? It depends on how ornate you want to get. While some coffered ceilings are very detailed with box beams and other interesting flourishes, others can be built with flat boards and little hassle (as shown in this DIY tutorial from This Old House). Ready to see the range of possibilities? Here are some design ideas for your inspiration…

Striking Contrast

While a coffered ceiling will add striking detail to a room on its own, consider using this special feature to add contrast as well. For example, painting the ceiling a crisp shade of white makes a strong statement when the walls are dark, as shown below. [photo from D’Apostrophe Design, Inc.]

Rich-toned family room with a coffered ceiling

The reverse is also true! If your room has white or light walls, consider a dark coffered ceiling, as shown by this next space featuring a coffered ceiling in redwood. [from Lonny]

Redwood coffered ceiling in a white living room

The contrast doesn’t have to be created from extreme light and dark tones. Note the golden tones of the rustic coffered ceiling below. Not only does it enhance the warm tones of the furniture, it serves as a contrast to the white walls, the black accent wall, and the plaid carpet. [photo from Lonny]

Living room with rustic coffered ceilings

Another fun lesson in contrast: match your coffered ceiling to the floor. White walls abound in this workspace, but dark tones can be found on the ceiling, the floor and the backs of the built-in bookcases. [photo from Studio H Design]

Modern office with a coffered ceiling

You can also create contrast within the ceiling itself! Try painting the insides of the panels a dark color while keeping the trim white. Throw in some patterned wallpaper and bold pendant lighting, and you have a stellar example of modern design. [photo from Atmosphere Interior Design via Houzz]

Painted coffered ceiling in a modern living room

Light and Airy

Coffered ceilings are the perfect choice for light and airy spaces that are clean and crisp. The detail of the coffered ceiling can add interest, mirroring other interesting details in the room, or providing a strong focal point. The bistro kitchen below features marble countertops, white subway tile, and a coffered ceiling that adds traditional flair to the the space. [photo from Mueller Nicholls Builders]

Coffered ceiling in a light and airy kitchen

Kitchens are popular choices for coffered ceilings, especially when it comes to white kitchens with an open feel. Note the large sunken panels on the ceiling below, which add to the open vibe of the room. [photo from Marvin Family Brands]

Coffered ceiling in a bright kitchen with marble countertops

If you have a high ceiling in your light and airy living room, the coffered look will help it get noticed, especially if you draw the eye upward with other standout features such as large pendant lighting. [photo from South Shore Decorating Blog]

Light and airy living room with a coffered ceiling

Don’t forget about the possibilities for coffered ceilings in the dining room! The open dining space below is decked out in light tones, yet strong details are the perfect accompaniment to this bright palette, because they punctuate the space without being overpowering. Note the grasscloth wall covering, beaded pendant lights and lace-up chair covers, to name a few. [photo from Alice Lane Home Collection]

Elegant dining room with a coffered ceiling

Coffered ceilings call attention to themselves with their intricacy. This means that you’re more likely to notice the ceiling in your abode. While some coffered ceilings make the room look taller, some can result in a boxed-in feel if you’re not careful. Light walls enhance the open atmosphere of a room, which makes them the perfect choice for interiors with coffered ceilings, such as the eclectic dining space below. [photo by Steve Tsai for Paul Raff Studio]

Dining room with a coffered ceiling

Unexpected Design

Since coffered ceilings are so unique, it’s tempting to let them speak for themselves. But sometimes it’s nice to throw in a dash of the unexpected, such as an eye-catching pendant light or an unusual piece of artwork near the ceiling. Ornate molding can also add pizzazz, as shown below. [photo from Lonny]

Shiny pendant light hanging from a coffered ceiling

Go for double the fun with a set of matching pendant lights. And don’t be afraid of other bold statements such as wallpaper or attention-grabbing paneling for the walls. [image from Amy’s Casablanca]

Dining room with a coffered ceiling and large pendant lights

Many homes featuring coffered ceilings are opulent and brand new, so it was refreshing and delightfully unexpected to come across this eclectic older home that proves good design (and coffered ceilings) can accompany warm rustic touches and retro-modern flair. The homeowners designed the ceiling to help solve wiring issues, and the result is nothing short of fabulous. [photo from Adrienne DeRosa via Houzz]

Warm tones in a dining room with a coffered ceiling

Who says coffered ceilings must always showcase rectangles and squares?! Try showcasing bold geometry with a ceiling pattern like the one below. Bring on the octagon! [photo from S.A. Baxter, Inc.]

Geometric coffered ceiling in a living room with modern style

Finally, try painting the ceiling an unforgettable color, and add a hand-painted pattern if the mood strikes you. Isn’t the ceiling below absolutely divine?! [photo from Faux-Par Excellence]

Coffered ceiling with a hand-painted finish

We hope today’s ideas have shown you a full range of design possibilities when it comes to coffered ceilings. Because in the realm of interesting design, no space is too high for adornment!

Kate Simmons

Kate Simmons is a freelance writer and design blogger with a love of all things decor. She spent her childhood writing stories and working on interior design-themed DIY projects. Kate’s published writing reflects her special interest in how design has changed through the decades. Her blog Mirror80 ( http://mirror80.com/) explores the fashion and [...]

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