Above and Beyond! A Dozen Design Ideas for Your Ceiling

When designing a custom home, the ceiling is often the last thing buyers think of but a beautiful home without an eye-catching ceiling may feel unfinished. Of course, there are a wide variety of ceilings to choose from when designing your home.

To many people, ceilings are just utility but what if they were also viewed as design elements? Not only are raised ceilings fantastic for making the room feel and look larger, they can add character and interest in the way that they are raised. If you're ready to start building and see a ceiling design that stands out, browse our floor plans to find what home style matches you.

There are so many different types of ceilings to explore but here are 12 we’ve gathered ranging from cathedral ceilings to ceilings with multiple exposed beams. Check out our custom designed favorites and differentiating characteristics! 

Kurk Homes Ceiling Types

Groin Vault

This four-sided vault is also called a Cross Vault. The rounded sides join at a lowered point in the middle - what can also be pictured as two barrel vaults intersecting.

Consisting of angled domes and arches, groin vault ceilings create a stylish look that can typically be seen in kitchen spaces, dining rooms, and living rooms.

We love the shadows cast by the different angles, giving you a dynamic style to design around.

Groin Vault ceiling by Kurk Homes

Barrel Vault

As the name describes, a barrel vault is a fully rounded portion of the ceiling - half cylindrical in appearance. Much wider than an "arch", a barrel vault can typically be seen in intricately designed foyers or bathrooms.

The barrel vault name comes from the fact that it looks like a barrel cut in half.

Barrel ceiling

Cathedral Vault

Cathedral ceilings bring a grandness to a room like few ceilings can. Raised to a top point or ridge beam, a cathedral vault is the highest ceiling design possible. These ceilings have to be specially engineered for wide spans, and can give the illusion that even a small room is quite spacious.

Cathedral ceilings are typically crafted to be symmetrical, with both sides matching to meet in the middle.

Cathedral Ceiling by Kurk HomesCathedral Ceiling by Kurk Homes

Flat Top Vault

A variation of the cathedral vault, above, this type of vaulted ceiling has a top portion (custom designed in width) that spans across the vault with a joist system in lieu of a ridge beam. 

The main idea of flat top vault ceilings is that the wall transitions into the ceiling at a wide angle.

Flat ceiling by Kurk Homes

Flat top vault Ceiling by Kurk Homes

Domed Ceiling

A fully circular "pop-up" or raised portion of the ceiling is called a dome. Most commonly seen over spiral or rounded staircases, this ceiling design can also highlight the ceiling of a foyer or above a large jacuzzi tub. 

Many enhancements can be made to dome ceilings to further improve the dramatic approach.

Domed Ceiling by Kurk Homes

Tray and Double Tray (or Step) Ceiling

Popular in master bedroom suites and family rooms, a tray ceiling is a great way to add vertical height to the room without sacrificing living area or attic space above. The idea behind a tray ceiling is that it elevates towards the center in a gradual manner.

Adding rope lighting and crown molding in the double tray, as shown here, is a wonderful way to highlight this architectural feature.

Tray Ceiling by Kurk Homes

Tray Ceiling by Kurk Homes

Sheetrock Design

A sheetrock design can be created in a formal living or dining space by "furring down" the outer edges of the ceiling, giving the illusion of a raised ceiling.

Similar to a tray ceiling, a sheetrock design does not take a full foot of lumber, but a sheet of plywood or OSB cut to design and applied directly to the ceiling.

Sheetrock Design by Kurk Homes

Coffered Ceiling

A coffered ceiling has several names throughout the industry: caisson, lacunar, and waffled all point out the same basic structure as pictured. These ceilings offer a luxurious and elegant look with square or rectangular patterns.

The base height of the room and the decorative "beams" interlace in a grid or tic-tac-toe pattern that can be as deep as one foot, and as little as three inches.

Coffered Ceiling by Kurk Homes

Beamed Ceiling - exposed or faux beams and/or trusses

Highlighted with exposed or faux beams and/or trusses, a beamed ceiling can add both a rustic or contemporary flair depending on the type and color of wood selection.

Typically, a smooth pine painted or stained a dark color is for more modern or contemporary appeal while a rough cedar stained a natural color is frequented in rustic or farmhouse design.

Custom Homes Kitchen

Beamed Ceiling by Kurk Homes

Tin or Tiled Ceiling

Common in barrel ceilings, as shown, a decorative or metallic tile can add visual interest to a bathroom ceiling.

Tin ceilings are a great feature in billiard or game rooms, either a raised portion as in a tray, or throughout the entire room.

Tin or Tiled Ceiling by Kurk Homes

Tongue & Groove Pine Ceiling

Frequented in the Texas Hill Country designs, a tongue and groove pine ceiling can bring the warmth of wood into both outdoor and indoor spaces.

Commonly seen on large rear porches, the wood ceiling application can also add wonderful visual interest to large family rooms with cathedral vaults.

Tongue & Groove Pine Ceiling by Kurk Homes

Tongue & Groove Pine Ceiling


How Can Kurk Homes Help?

Kurk Homes is proud to offer affordable quality-constructed custom homes on your lot with a 20-year warranty. We take pride in providing our clients with a “no surprises” policy by maintaining constant communication throughout the building process.

Whether building from an existing plan, a Southern Living Plan,  or consulting with our talented Design Team to plan your dream home, we take pride in going above and beyond to make your dream home a dream building experience as well.

We are #BuiltOnTradition and have been designing and building from the Gulf Coast to the Hill Country for over 30 years. Contact us today to discuss building your custom home!


This article was originally published on October 16, 2019 but has since been updated.

Tags: Design, Tips