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16 Cathedral and Vaulted Ceilings that Make a Statement

There are certain differences between a cathedral ceiling and a vaulted ceiling, although both are mostly interchangeable. A cathedral ceiling is defined by symmetry. It is a ceiling that aligns with the roof of a building with two equal sides that slope towards each other and then form a ridge in the middle. A vaulted ceiling, on the other hand, does not necessarily have to follow the roofing, or join at the middle; instead, they flow upward from the walls to create a joining point on the roof. They can either have a single sloping side, a curved or arched slope, or unequal sloping sides.

If you are going for vaulted or cathedral ceilings, you should go all out and make sure you create the ‘wow!’ effect for everyone that walks in. I mean, if not, then what’s the point? Cathedral and vaulted ceilings can be designed in different beautiful ways but three things to pay attention to are the shape it takes, the accessories used to adorn it, and then blend with the room. Here are a couple of shapes and designs that you can take inspiration from when creating your ceiling.

1. Cloister Vaulted Ceiling

Cloister Ceilings are like Dome Vaults, and as the name suggests, they are mostly circular in shape. For this shape, the spring points along the wall arch into the center of the roof to give the ceiling its shape. This ceiling has the natural ability to draw eyes up, and if you want heads to stay turned a little longer, you can beautify it using long chandeliers, ceiling fans, skylights, and embellishments. This design is perfect for living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. The ceiling does not take up a lot of space and if you like height in your room, it will happily give you that.

Cloister Vaulted Ceiling
Cloister Vaulted Ceiling

2. Barrel Vault Cathedral  ceilings

Originating from ancient Egypt, these ceilings are quite simple and almost regular. The Barrel ceiling takes a C shape, curving from one side of the wall to the other.  It is lightweight in nature and has a flexible design structure that makes it a perfect fit for corridors, entryways,  and dining rooms. Based on your taste, you can leave these ceilings plain, or you can adorn them with items like chandeliers, or shiny wood to give it a rustic feel instead. You can also mix colors for your ceiling if you want lots of attention drawn to it.  This ceiling is very easy to install and has an elegantly simple design.

Barrel Vault Cathedral Ceiling.
Barrel Vault Cathedral Ceiling.

3. Beamed Ceilings

A beamed ceiling is definitely one of the best design options for your cathedral and vaulted ceiling design. It involves the addition of beams to your ceiling to give it some extra character; making it more interesting and reducing the sense of emptiness that cathedral or vaulted ceilings can cause. Using beams is recommended because you can create several designs for your ceiling with them. Beam options range from white beams to dark, rustic beams. You can also experiment with the shape of your beams, from straight to triangular and many more.

Beamed Ceiling.
Beamed Ceiling

4. Plain White Vaulted Ceilings

This type of design commands elegance. With a plain white ceiling, your room develops an airy, calm feel. It also gives room for more light, creating an unbeatable brightness in the room. Can you picture a plain white design on a simple two-sided cathedral ceiling with simple embellishments, an elegant chandelier, neutral-colored walls, shiny furniture, and long, beautiful windows? If you can, there is not much to say anymore. This theme for your ceiling would be purely beautiful, and definitely worth consideration.

Plain White Vaulted Ceilings
Plain White Vaulted Ceilings,

5. Long Planks in Ceilings

Long planks in your ceiling create a mirage of space. Making use of these planks for your ceiling is highly recommended for small rooms because they make your room appear longer and more spacious. Their simplicity makes the design suitable for living rooms, corridors, and bedrooms.  The planks can be vertical or horizontal making your room look wider or longer according to your preference.

Long Planks in Ceilings.
Long Planks in Ceilings

6. Tall and Pointed Ceilings

Tall and pointed ceilings are another option for your vaulted or cathedral ceilings. This type of design draws attention immediately to your ceiling because it dominates the room and speaks for itself with its unique design. The ceiling also makes the room appear longer and taller. For rooms that are not demarcated by walls, this ceiling design would be a great option to use

Tall and Pointed Ceilings
Tall and Pointed Ceilings.

7. Lit Up Ceilings

This design involves putting lots of light in your vaulted ceiling, this makes your ceiling less boring and gives beautiful illumination to the room. It also gives warmth to the room because it reduces the appearance of distance and makes the ceiling feel closer than it is. The design is a perfect addition for high ceilings; all you have to do is include roof lights or skylights. Feel free to play around using different kinds of lights for your ceiling because they can make all the difference that makes your ceiling stand out.  Another variant of this design is making use of high windows that allow the flow of natural light.

Lit Up Ceiling.

8. Contrasting Wood

Using contrasting wood for your ceilings is also a good option. If you prefer a ceiling that is loud and attention-grabbing, you can use this design. It almost adds a lot of style, uniqueness, and elegance to your ceiling. You have to make the right mix. This design is good for almost any room because using timber for vaulted ceilings makes it homier.

Contrasting Wood in Ceilings.
Contrasting Wood in Ceilings.


When it comes to your cathedral and vaulted ceilings, you should choose and beautify your ceiling as much as possible. Consider things like space, the other items in the room, the installation, ease of accessory repair, the feel of the room, and much more. Also explore the possible variations in terms of color, texture, and shape of the ceilings. Your ceilings do not stand alone, so make sure there is a smooth blend with the other elements of your rooms. Your ceiling can definitely make people fall in love with your house, all you need is to design it right.

Emmanuel Ojodun
I write for decoist.

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