Learning About Tray Ceilings

The appearance of the ceiling is not frequently taken into account when choosing the major design components you want to use in space. However, the texture or shape of the actual ceiling is typically left unadorned, perhaps with the exception of crown molding or striking lighting fixtures. There are more inventive ceiling solutions, such as the usage of tray ceilings, even though this might be chosen in some designs. These can give a space an entirely new dimension and alter the atmosphere. 

Learn more about tray ceilings, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to design a tray ceiling that looks good in your house. 

What Are Tray Ceilings?

A ceiling with a raised center is referred to as a tray ceiling or a recessed ceiling. A tray ceiling is often referred to as a spread ceiling. The term comes from the appearance of the ceiling, which appears to hold an inverted tray due to the various heights. Depending on the design of the house and the height of the room, the distance between the two ceiling levels might range from a few inches to nearly a foot. 

Benefits of Tray Ceilings

Tray ceilings are not just aesthetically pleasing; they are also functional. This solution not only works well with a variety of architectural types but also gives the impression of having high ceilings.

    • Creates the illusion of more room
    • Gives a room depth and visual interest
    • Adaptable to practically any room’s design aesthetic
    • It is possible to use it to cover up ugly wiring, piping, or venting

Drawbacks of A Tray Ceiling

However, take into account your ceiling height before adding one or more tray ceilings to your house. The drop-down border surrounding the recessed tray may restrict headroom, which can exacerbate the cramped feeling in a compact space. Alternately, the drop-down border can determine the size of your cabinets if you’re thinking of installing a tray ceiling in your kitchen. Measure your space to be on the safe side. Before constructing a tray ceiling, many building rules need a minimum ceiling height of eight feet.

Added disadvantage? Tray ceilings may be a little more challenging to paint and clean because they have two unique heights. Tray ceilings’ visual impact, meanwhile, may outweigh any additional maintenance requirements.

  • Installation costs may be high.
  • For this feature to be added, the ceilings must be at least 8 feet tall.
  • Compared to a flat ceiling, ledges require more upkeep and cleaning.
  • Adding one to an existing ceiling may be difficult or impossible.

How To Construct A Tray Ceiling

Example of a Tray Ceiling

Although a tray ceiling should only be installed by experts, the building process is surprisingly simple. In order to provide the impression of a high tray, contractors frequently add wood to the room’s edges. After installing the framework for the drop-down border, the wood is often drywalled over. You can apply a trim or molding before painting the walls.

How To Decorate A Tray Ceiling

Some people think that a tray ceiling can be regarded as a blank canvas even though it can easily make a statement on its own. By including flashes of color, patterned wallpaper, or textured trimmings to the layers and centers within, tray ceilings are a fantastic opportunity to provide variance to otherwise bland areas. By wiring lights beneath their edges to generate a glitzy glow, they’re also a fascinating way to add contemporary lighting where more traditional fixtures, like chandeliers, cannot. However, one thing is guaranteed no matter how you design a tray ceiling: Your room will be eye-catching from any viewpoint.

1. Color

A tray ceiling can be made to stand out, blend in, or appear to disappear into the distance by using color. Try keeping color palettes modest and muted for a straightforward, contemporary look. Paint the ceiling a rich color that contrasts or deliberately matches the other colors in the space to add a touch of drama and elegance. To emphasize the height difference, these might be put to the tray’s trimmings. Utilizing dark hues inside the tray might heighten the impression of height and make the tray appear to be receding or farther away than it actually is.

2. Stencils, Wallpapers, Tiles, Or Mural

Tray ceilings make the ideal backdrop for ceiling art. For a more understated touch of art, try adding stencils to the border. To go all out, use wallpaper, and consider painted murals on your ceiling, or patterned tiles inside the tray. 

3. Lighting

Tray ceilings only amplify the effect of lighting fixtures, which have a significant influence on how a place feels. Hang a chandelier from the tray’s middle to give the room an upscale feel. Along the margins of the tray ceiling, install recessed lighting or rope lighting for a cleaner, more modern appearance. 

4. Experiment With Shape

Because they conform to the geometry of the room, tray ceilings are often rectangular. The inner shape, however, is completely up to you and can be anything from circular to diamond-shaped. Don’t be scared to test the design prior to installation. 

How Much Does A Tray Ceiling Cost?

The price of tray ceilings varies greatly from project to project. Everything is based on the size of the area and the simplicity of installation. For instance, altering the ceiling joists or trusses in an existing house may be necessary in order to add a tray ceiling, which calls for a significant amount of labor and engineering knowledge. Even permits might be necessary. As a result, the ceiling would be expensive. If it is even doable, this can cost anywhere from $2,000 and $10,000. 

On the other hand, constructing a drop-down frame and covering it with drywall might add a tray ceiling to a space that already has high ceilings. This involves significantly less effort, and an experienced homeowner might even be able to complete it on their own. Tray ceilings can be readily incorporated into the design of a new home if you choose to do so, which will make the addition much simpler and more seamless than if you chose to add them to an already-existing building. This may cost between $500 and $1,500, or between $2 and $4 per square foot.

Challenges of Tray Ceilings

Even while there are numerous ways tray ceilings can be both attractive and useful, there are still certain issues to take into account. Here are some things to remember:

1. Very Tall Ceiling Heights

Tray ceilings are challenging to reach, which can make hanging lighting or painting challenge. Before attempting to operate on these ceilings, make sure you have a secure way to access them.

2. Increased Cleaning

Tray ceilings will require more cleaning than flat ceilings due to their various layers. On ledges and crevices, dust and debris can collect and need to be cleaned. Again, before attempting to clean these high features, make certain that you can do so safely. 

3. Space Considerations

The lower borders of the tray ceiling may affect headroom, tall furniture, or built-in cabinet space, depending on the height of your ceilings. Before installing a tray ceiling, make sure you take these factors into consideration.