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Intro to reno: Understanding ceiling types

Ceiling types aren’t usually a top priority on the minds of most home renovators. Typically, homeowners dream about things like marble counter tops, soaker tubs and hardwood flooring. But, it’s just as important to put some thought into your overhead view.

Renovating your ceiling involves much more than just having that awful popcorn removed. There are actually many different ceiling types available. Let’s take a look!

Ceiling Types

Aside from the standard, flat option, these are the ceiling styles you can find in Canada.

Barrel Vault

A barrel vault ceiling consists of a single curve extending from one wall to the opposite wall. This ceiling style is not commonly found in Canadian homes of the last couple of generations. However, certain higher-end homes may utilize this particular ceiling type.


Originally found in, well … cathedrals, a cathedral ceiling follows the symmetrical shape of the roof structure. This option gives height and drama to a home’s interior, making it popular among home buyers and renovators alike. A cathedral ceiling opens the space up to receive generous portions of natural light, due to the room height’s allowance of extra windows.



ceiling type coffered

Source: Home Bunch

The architectural, sunken grid pattern of the coffered ceiling makes it one of the more ostentatious ceiling styles. While most ceilings simply showcase the rest of the space, the coffered ceiling wants to be the star. The grid pattern can be deep or shallow. More often than not, the sunken panels are square; however, it is possible to create square or octagonal panels. Additionally, finishes can be added to the recessed areas, such as planking, tin tiles and more.



ceiling type coved

Source: Home DIT

A coved ceiling actually encompasses not only the ceiling but also the wall as well. Coving a ceiling involves the creation of a curved transition between the ceiling and the wall. A concave molding is installed.


A tray ceiling is recessed at the centre to create added height and architectural interest. They add a decorative overhead flair that offers punch but with a lighter touch than its coffered counterpart. This style has been very popular over the last several years and can be seen in just about any room –from dining rooms to bedrooms.



To some, vaulted ceilings and cathedral ceilings may seem identical. They aren’t, however, and the difference is all in the symmetry –or in the case of the vaulted ceiling, the lack there of. The sloping sides of a vaulted ceiling are unequal; whereas a cathedral ceiling’s slope is equal on both sides.

Drop Ceiling

ceiling type

Source: House Logic

Nearly ubiquitous in residential basements and office buildings, the drop ceiling is suspended below a room’s true ceiling. It consists of a metal grid and a series of tiles. While the white, textured mineral fibre panels are the most recognizable of all drop ceiling panels, it is possible to find ceiling tiles in different finishes.


 Ceiling Finishes

Some additional ways to add interest to your home’s ceiling. Many of these can be used in combination with other finishes and ceiling types.



Exposed ceiling beams are a rustic, architectural detail. At times they are a natural component of a home’s skeletal makeup; however, they can also be added as a merely decorative detail. Exposed beams are often displayed in conjunction with cathedral or vaulted ceilings.





Paint on ceilings does not have to be white. There, it’s been said. Of course interior designers have known this for about as long as interior design has existed; however, homeowners tend to be a bit skeptical about coloured ceilings. However, one easy and fairly low-commitment way to add interest to a room is to paint the ceiling a bold colour in contrast with what appears on the wall. In fact, some designers are even doing ceilings in black.



Wood Planks

Ceiling planking is the process of adding wood planks to a ceiling. The planks are then typically left natural, stained or painted white. Recently planking has been touted as a way to hide popcorn ceilings. Its recent popularity can also be attributed to a resurgence of certain interior design languages, such as farm house and cottage.





Embossed tin tiles create a classic look. The tin tiles can be painted, aged or oxidized for a verdigris effect. Of course they can also be left in their original metallic finish.





Paintable textured wallpaper has been around for a while, providing the same faux finishing options that certain ceiling tiles provide. However, traditional, non-textured wallpaper can also makes its way onto the ceiling. Some designers and homeowners have been using wallpapered ceilings like statement walls.

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