All About Tray Ceiling Ideas That You Should Know

A tray ceiling is an inverted ceiling, meaning the center of the room is elevated higher than any perimeter. Ceiling design ideas for tray ceilings could include a rounded design, molding, different paint colors, lighting, wood shiplap, or arched construction.

Tray ceilings have been in use for hundreds of years and are still being used in homes today. Traditionally they were used on houses because they added architectural design, but more recently, they’re often used to hide ductwork before the invention of central heating and air conditioning. However, in the past few decades, tray ceilings have served almost exclusively as a design element.

Why Have A Ceiling Tray?

Ceiling trays are a great alternative to flat ceilings because they come with benefits that make your home more aesthetically appealing, but they are best suited for rooms like the bedroom, dining area, and kitchen. Ceiling trays are most commonly found in master bedrooms.

They provide a very traditional and almost classical feel. Some people will argue against these props, claiming they look outdated or out of place - but those who are more tasteful often enjoy their timeless nature. In fact, many homeowners have been using modern reproductions to add this type of decor once again.

Ceiling trays have a dual function-they not only provide design detail, but they can also make the room appear taller. This can be useful for us who live in lower-ceilinged or even smaller spaces that need to look more expansive.

Things To Consider With Ceiling Trays

You have reached this page because you are looking for inspiration from other people’s ceilings tray. However, there are some things to consider before investing in this type of project.


What rooms you want to add ceiling trays in. The best thing about a ceiling tray is that it can be placed on any wall, but what room or rooms do you find most appealing? Kitchens, bedrooms, and dining rooms are usually the most popular spots in the home to put them. So even if you have a small room you will benefit from having one.

In smaller rooms, they will open up space; however, they can illustrate a focal point in larger rooms.


A side effect of having a ceiling tray is the variety of lighting designs available. This can be perfect for rooms that don’t benefit from natural light because they appear darker and smaller. The many illumination options include rope lighting, pendant lights, and even chandeliers if desired.


The trim on a ceiling tray can often describe it because this is the part that runs around the entire tray. This allows for greater design flexibility. Trim is the finishing touch for a ceiling, and it can be as simple as painted trim or wallpaper. As you will see in our top inspiration below, this added feature is an important one to consider.

Ceiling trim is often the finishing touch that separates the wall from the ceiling, which is why it can be tricky to get this detail wrong.


A ceiling rail or tray makes it possible for you to mix and match colors across the same ceiling space.

If you have a white or light-colored ceiling, painting it to match the trim will make the room seem bigger. You could also try painting a ceiling tray with paint that contrasts with your walls and trim. This will help create a very high contrast effect that might fit in with the style of your home.

Ceiling trays come in all different colors, so it’s important to consider the color.

Coffered Ceilings VS. Tray Ceilings

A coffered or box beam ceiling uses molding and beams to form a grid across the ceiling, usually forming rectangles that are lower than the rest of the ceiling.

A tray ceiling is a variation of coffered ceilings, and there are a few differences between these two types. The difference lies primarily in the design but also in what materials were used to construct it.

A coffered ceiling is recessed like a tray ceiling, but in addition to possessing the features of a coffered ceiling, it also has additional design elements. Coffered ceilings are shaped with recesses to form box-like indentations. In contrast to coffered ceilings, tray ceilings have only one recess running the full width of the ceiling.

While coffered ceilings are usually made of wood or faux wood beams, tray ceilings may be constructed from plaster or drywall.

Both coffered and tray ceilings offer recessed areas from which design elements such as warmth and light arise. Both designs are limited in part by the size of the room. While a tray ceiling is limited by the area available, a coffered ceiling is limited in the decoration that can be placed inside.

How Much Does a Tray Ceiling Cost?

A tray ceiling is most commonly installed when a home is being constructed. The price varies according to home size, location, and other factors, but it usually ranges between $500-2000 for the installation. If a home is well past the construction stage and has not yet been connected to utility infrastructure, installation costs are often in the range of $1,000 to $3,000.

One thing to consider when installing a tray ceiling is the room’s elevation. Tray ceilings are only easily installed in rooms at the top level of a house. It’s unlikely one could install a tray ceiling on the lower level floor due to construction constraints.

If the room is on the upper floor with an attic, the ceiling will be raised using space in the attic. Alterations to an attic can raise costs by thousands of dollars due to structural alterations.

How To Modernize a Tray Ceiling?

Paint the walls and ceiling the same color as one another for a more cohesive look.

A tray ceiling’s variation in height is often what creates the desired aesthetic appeal. Depending on your interior design style, less may be more, and painting the tray ceiling to match the wall color can help create a cohesive look with your home.

Ceiling trays are a spatial design element that can accent the room without interfering with other focal points. One of the popular home decor trends, statement ceilings like tray ceilings, can be a great way to still make an impact on your room without overcrowding it.

Choose a darker tone than the wall color for something cozier.

Painting the tray ceiling a darker color than the walls will draw more attention to it and make your room feel cozier. When the color variation does not need to be drastic, choosing a slightly darker color in the same color palette can work well.

Sometimes, when people want a focal point with the ceiling, they’ll choose a richer color. But it’s important to keep in mind that the effect will be determined by how those colors work together throughout the room. Painting a room’s ceiling at the darkest possible hue doesn’t always work well; if not done correctly, it can be too heavy or create a low-hanging effect.

For a subtle enhancement, choose a lighter color than the walls.

Painting the room’s ceiling a lighter color than its walls still creates some variation and brings attention to it. But you may not notice the difference until a darker ceiling color has been installed. It will also help to improve a room’s overall feeling of brightness and space. Determining what kind of room, its intended use, and the atmosphere you’re looking for to create in it gives you a better idea of which direction to go.

Light up the perimeter.

One aspect of tray ceilings to consider when designing your custom home is lighting. Good lighting around the perimeter of the tray ceiling can really enhance that effect.

Lights can be employed to draw attention and light up the ceiling. Perimeter lighting on a dimmer switch can be used independently of the rest of the room, which is another great feature to consider when designing a tray ceiling.

Tray Ceiling Option Decorative Finish

You have a variety of options when decorating your tray ceiling. You can paint it, create a texture with plaster or metallic paints, or even make a mural for the room’s focal point.

Please speak with your custom home builder about any other finishing options they have in mind for your tray ceiling. Finishing a ceiling in a unique and customized way is a great option for enhancing the room and, through it, your entire home.

Include Crown Molding

Crown molding and decoratively placed trim are a great way to add elegance to any room. Tray ceilings are no exception. Consider installing crown molding along the top of the tray ceiling for a luxurious look with added touches of design detail.

Crown molding provides an additional structure and depth and can add some color variation within the tray ceiling. The crown molding is usually the final touch that really makes a tray ceiling stand out.

Bedroom With Tray Ceiling

Wooden Bedroom Ceiling Tray Ideas

This bedroom ceiling-mounted tray has a lovely, contrasting wood finish that adds depth to space.

The trim in this bedroom is blended smoothly into the walls and other furnishings, largely due to its wooden design. For that reason, the tray really stands out and catches your eye as soon as you glance at it.

The low hanging light is a great detail for its “transformative” effect on the high tray. It’s a great alternative to going for an ordinary-looking ceiling fixture that usually hangs way too high and barely lights up where it matters.

Bedroom Ceiling Tray Same Painted with Wall

If there is a feature, painted wall in the room and you would like to add a ceiling tray, this design should work well.

The tray is the same color as the feature wall and it blends in but still has its own space. Inbuilt lights on the tray provide a simple and uncluttered character while furnishing light.

This type of ceiling tray can seamlessly fit in with both a contemporary design and a formal style. Very versatile. It’s not overbearing but extremely effective from an aesthetic point of view.

Bedroom Ceiling Tray With Fan

Ceiling trays don’t always have lighting as the main feature. If the room has good natural light, this lamp with a fan can add something different.

This bedroom has already received a lot of natural light, so it is unnecessary to install another large light. The homeowner opted for something unconventional as the central design: a fan mounted on the ceiling in a deep dish shape.

Ceiling Tray With Wooden Beams

We really like this design with wooden beams in the bedroom. The tray also takes on a new look. The beams cover the tray, and though the impact of additional height is reduced, it has a somewhat muted effect on the overall aesthetic.

This design may work well in a bedroom with wooden floors and be used in other rooms of your home. By using some low-hanging lighting, this ceiling tray fixture highlights its beams and creates a classic look.

Dining Room With Ceiling Tray

Beautiful Dining Room Ceiling Tray


Bulk up whole family appetites with an orange tray ceiling. The color invokes feelings of enthusiasm and positive vibes that hopefully contribute to your appetite. The tray ceiling with the lighting rope partly situated lights up. The tray ceiling’s shape is unique and appealing, its chandelier light furthermore dazzling it.

Monochrome Ceiling tray

One of the first things you notice in a room is its ceilings, and this ceiling tray is an interesting part that makes it stand out. It is painted a different color than the rest of the space, making it one of the focal points.

The space looks bright and inviting despite the dark shade of paint. The trim is white, reflecting light from the windows, while the walls are a lighter shade. Hanging lamps provide plenty of illumination for comfortable dining experiences.

Rustic Dining Room with Yellow Ceiling Tray

A rustic-inspired ceiling tray can help people with the rural style of home decoration. The painted ceiling and trim blend into the rest of the room, matching a country-inspired color scheme with wooden furniture. This ceiling tray is both refined and rustic in appeal. It opens up space, and the addition of a low hanging light overhead makes for pleasant dining.

Modern Dark Ceiling Tray

The rest of the walls are light-colored, but this ceiling tree is a very dark shade. The lighting and color help ensure that the area is lit even on a night.

This type of design may be better in large spaces because it can sometimes make smaller rooms feel dark and tight with little air.

However, the dark modern ceiling tray would add an interesting feature in a larger space.

Living Room With Ceiling Tray

Ceiling Tray With Beautiful Chandelier

A living room ceiling tray can create an already naturally bright space that seems even larger. This ceiling tray integrates seamlessly with the rest of the design and has big enough lighting that creates even more light.

The trim on this light is eye-catching and natural-looking. Compared to more complicated designs, it might seem a little plain, but its simplicity also helps it effectively do what it sets out to do.

This ceiling tray opens the space up and creates a greater height, contributing to enhancing the design of an overall fantastic decor.

Grey Ceiling Tray

Grey is becoming surprisingly popular these days, and this grey tray design reflects that. Bringing color palettes down to one color can be great if it’s the right color and goes well with your home design. These wood-like planks are perfect for modern homes.

The lighting is bright and creates an atmosphere. With this type of ceiling tray, you should combine it with brighter colors to make the design more lively. This approach will provide a focal point and avoiding an all-grey, monochromatic design.

Living Room Ceiling Tray With Fan


This living room features a wood tray ceiling that supports the rustic design. The diversity of shades gives decorating versatility and lends itself to many different styles. The lighting rope completes the tray ceiling. During daylight hours, the tray ceiling feels dramatic as its picture shows, making the living room space warm and welcoming.

Ideas for Living Room

The grand formal living room’s inverted ceiling and large window provide plenty of natural light. The ample seats are perfect for hosting guests.

Kitchen With Ceiling Tray

Shiplap Tray Ceiling Design


The shiplap ceiling seems to offer a cool kitchen design at first glance. The pictures of shiplap ceilings show a sleek and modern-looking kitchen with black trays matched by white walls.

The tray ceiling covers all but the front of the kitchen area. The chandelier lamps that comply with an old-school look are housed in it.

Tray Ceiling in Galley Kitchen


The tray ceiling in this kitchen best exemplifies the design philosophy of clean lines and minimalism. The round, attractive pendant lighting hangs above a delicate walkway that separates the living/dining area from the kitchen. By design, this is an absolutely appropriate option for those with a modern or galley-style kitchen.

Small Kitchen Ceiling Tray


The tray ceiling is noted in this small modern kitchen design. The example shows its position relative to the layout of the space. The tray ceiling takes up every square inch of the area, giving a sense that it’s smaller than it is due to its narrowness. It has a wavy trim and employs integrated lighting given the low ceiling height be.

Unique Tray Ceiling Design


The kitchen ceiling is unique, and it follows the shape of the room. Moreover, the tray hallway has lighting that makes this ambiance feel dramatic. This type of light does not cover every kitchen area; rather, it provides some emphasis for certain areas. The white color palette of this type of ceiling allows you to keep your kitchen looking tasteful.


Adding a ceiling tray can be a big DIY project for your room, but the results will look great.

Ceiling tray designs are available in both a classic and contemporary look. The modern trend is to use ceiling trays for eclectic design elements or open up space by bringing the tray down from the ceiling.

Whether you are looking for rustic charm, a modern touch, or transitioning from an existing style in your home, there is a ceiling tray that will inspire you.

Leave a Reply