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Coffered Ceiling: 100+ Design Ideas, Cost Calculator & DIY Videos

A coffered ceiling treatment is an effective way to add visual interest to your interior living spaces in a way that makes them feel larger and more grand. While the origin of coffered ceilings date back many centuries, they’re still just as fashionable today and continue to be one of the most popular ways to enhance any room.

What is a Coffered Ceiling?

A coffered ceiling has recessed (sunken) panels that create a three-dimensional relief and give the illusion of space in a room. Looking up at it from below, you may get the impression of a deeply-grooved checkerboard.

In architectural terms, the word “coffer” is defined as an indentation or recess. In the case of a coffered ceiling, beams are arranged in an intersecting grid pattern creating a series of recessed spaces between them. The beams protruding downward, with the coffers occupying the upward indented areas.

Coffers can be made in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit any ceiling, so you’re sure to find the perfect style to match the overall décor of your project. Squares and rectangles are the most traditional coffer shapes, but for those looking for a more intricate aesthetic, polygon (think hexagons and octagons) coffered ceiling designs are an excellent choice. Material options include synthetics such as MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and HDU (High Density Urethane) as well as a variety of real wood species such as Pine, Maple, Oak, Cherry, Mahogany & Walnut to add warmth and character to your coffered ceiling.

What is the Origin of Coffered Ceilings?

Ancient Greek building styles and Roman architecture exhibit some of the earliest forms of coffered ceilings where they played a more functional role, such as in the Roman Pantheon, where the intersecting grid of beams served to support the weight of the stone roofing above.

With antique building methods, architects used solid wooden cross beams arranged in a grid pattern for their structural benefit which subsequently created a coffered effect. Baroque, Renaissance, and Neoclassical architectural styles feature these types of ceiling designs.

The Pisa Cathedral (Duomo) in Italy is a classic case of coffered design. The church, which dates back to 1063, sports a refurbished coffered ceiling with a host of stunningly intricate details. Everything about it is outstanding, from the out-of-this-world joinery and carving to the exquisite trim work and mind-blowing painted finish. Over 400 years after its restoration, this architectural marvel stands beautiful and solid.

To the city of Pisa, a coffered ceiling served a lot more than just an aesthetic objective. The grid ceiling design demonstrated a commitment to architectural excellence—a public manifestation of wealth and power.

However, things are different today because coffered ceilings are no longer the domain of just a few ornate public buildings. You don’t have to be living in an exclusive, posh residence to consider a coffered enhancement for your ceilings.

Also, with the advent of modern materials and manufacturing processes, the installation of coffered ceilings has become much easier while reducing their overall cost, making them an affordable architectural option to homeowners (including DIY enthusiasts), architects, builders, and contractors.

Why Installing a Coffered Ceiling Makes Sense Today

A coffered ceiling treatment is an ideal enhancement for a wide range of property types, across both the commercial and residential spectrum. It offers a host of benefits for both new construction and restoration type applications.

AESTHETICS

Are you looking to add a sense of elegance to your commercial or residential building? A coffered ceiling will do the trick. You can paint and embellish it as you’d like to visually transform your kitchen, living room, or any other interior living spaces.

ILLUSION OF SPACE

With a coffered ceiling, you add texture while creating an illusion of grandeur and space in your room. You can achieve this with a Box Beam System.

AUDIO COMFORT

Did you know that coffered ceilings can help with sound transference, echoing and noise? You can install them to enhance audio comfort in spaces that require a higher level of serenity. Study rooms, theatres or work areas would be ideal for such a project.

VALUE ADDITION

You can boost the value of your property and its appeal to potential buyers by installing an elegant coffered ceiling.

Coffered Ceiling Ideas

The best way to understand the beauty and simplicity of our low profile Shallow Beam Coffered Ceiling treatment is to see the results it can achieve for you. All of the projects shown in the ceiling design gallery below were designed and completed using our proprietary Shallow Beam Coffered Ceiling Kits.

How to Install a Coffered Ceiling

You can install a prefabricated coffered ceiling treatment in as little as a day with a superior level of quality and precision that was once reserved for seasoned artisans. It just takes just basic skills and tools to get the installation right the first time.

Here are the steps for setting up a Tilton Box Beam Coffered Ceiling System. Keep in mind that some details may differ from installation to installation, depending on the preferred configurations:

STEP 1: MEASURE & MARK

  • Measure and mark the center lines for the length and width of your ceiling (shown in blue)
  • Locate and mark all of the joist locations across the entire ceiling area (shown in red)

TOOLS NEEDED FOR THIS STEP

STEP 2: MEASURE & ADJUST THE MODULES

  • Secure the pre-assembled coffer modules to the ceiling by driving the included shim-screws through the integrated fastening flange at the joist locations.
  • Using a horizontal lazer level as a guide, adjust the shim-screws on each coffer module to achieve a perfectly level finish across the entire ceiling.

TOOLS NEEDED FOR THIS STEP

STEP 3: INSTALL THE BEAM BOARDS & PERIMETER MOLDINGS

  • Trim to length and install all of the included Beam Bottom Boards with the longest runs installed first and the shorter runs fit between them.
  • Install the included Perimeter Molding around the entire perimeter of the ceiling.

TOOLS NEEDED FOR THIS STEP

You now have a complete Tilton Box Beam Coffered Ceiling System!

WATCH OUR INSTALLATION VIDEOS

Different Types of Coffered Ceilings

Once you’ve identified a desire to install a coffered ceiling treatment, the next step is to choose from the many types available. You can order them pre-made, or have the manufacturer customize the design options like size, shape, material, texture and finish.

MOST COMMON COFFERED CEILING TYPES:

Box Beam System vs. Shallow Beam Kit

Between a Box Beam Coffered Ceiling System or a Shallow Beam Coffered Ceiling Kit which one is best for your project? While both of these ceiling treatments are for aesthetic, non-structural use, a Shallow Beam Kit is a low-profile alternative that’s more cost effective than its Box Beam style counterpart.

THE TILTON BOX BEAM COFFERED CEILING SYSTEM

The Box Beam System is a custom, pre-assembled, manufactured-to-order product available in materials such as HDU & MDF (for painting) and Wood (for staining). It offers design options such as classic, geometric and bespoke.

The hollow “box-beams” are available in both an Overlay and Inset style in 90 optional sizes (45 Overlay and 45 Inset).

You may also choose from seven standard and custom Ceiling Panel style options.

THE TILTON SHALLOW BEAM COFERED CEILING KIT

The Shallow Beam Kit is an HDU product whose modular components are an outcome of seamless one-piece casting. It’s available in both custom-fit and pre- designed kit forms such as Patten Kits, Ceiling Medallion Kits and Tray Ceiling Kits. Components can also be purchased separately to create your own unique designs.

The available beam style has a classic nose and cove profile at 8”W x 1 ½”D that works well with any decor.

Coffered Ceilings Costs

Coffered ceiling installation costs depend on factors like customization choices and the type of wood. The typical range is $18 to $32 per square foot.

The cost of materials like MDF and fiberboard ranges between $3 and $20 per a 4-by-8-foot sheet. But if you’re going to use mahogany, each board foot will cost you $6-$28. Cherry and red oak raw woods cost $7 to $15 and $8 to $34 per board foot respectively.

Tilton Coffered Ceiling Treatments

The cost of materials like MDF and fiberboard ranges between $3 and $20 per a 4-by-8-foot sheet. But if you’re going to use mahogany, each board foot will cost you $6-$28. Cherry and red oak raw woods cost $7 to $15 and $8 to $34 per board foot respectively.

Shallow Beam Coffered Ceiling Kits

Our modular shallow-beam kits let you put up a custom coffered ceiling treatment of any size or shape with ease. No complicated cutting is required to get started.

Kit types include:

  • Custom Fit Kits
  • Pattern Kits
  • Ceiling Medallion Kits
  • Tray Ceiling Kits
  • Individual Kit Components

Shallow Beam Coffered Ceiling Kits

These modular manufactured-to-order coffered ceiling solutions are ideal for both professional builders and DIY homeowners. System types include:

  • Custom Fit Systems
  • Pre-Sized Systems

Frequently Asked Questions About Coffered Ceilings

Here’s a list of questions homeowners, designers, or contractors often ask about coffered ceilings:

DO COFFERED CEILINGS ADD VALUE?

Yes, installing a coffered ceiling increases the appeal and market value of your property.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COFFERED CEILING AND A TRAY CEILING?

A coffered ceiling is a grid pattern comprising multiple recessed areas. However, a tray ceiling features a single recessed area that looks like a giant inverted tray.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO INSTALL A COFFERED CEILING?

The cost depends on many factors, including the size and height of the ceiling and the configuration options chosen.

ARE COFFERED CEILINGS IN STYLE?

They’re catching on among residential and commercial real estate owners.

WILL A COFFERED CEILING MAKE A ROOM LOOK OR FEEL SMALLER?

The recessed panels draw the eyes upward, creating visual depth, which makes the ceiling seem taller. But the beams that extend into the room occupy some extra overhead space, so they’re not ideal for low ceilings.

HOW TALL SHOULD A CEILING BE FOR A COFFERED TREATMENT?

It depends, but high ceilings (9 feet or taller) are the most suitable for the grid-pattern design.

HOW DO YOU MAKE A ROOM WITH LOW CEILINGS LOOK AND FEEL LARGER?

Options include painting the ceiling a dark color, or installing a ceiling treatment such as moldings, panels or a Shallow Beam Coffered Ceiling Kit.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COFFERED CEILING AND A WAFFLE CEILING?

A coffered ceiling can be a waffle slab made of reinforced concrete. While a waffle slab sports a grid pattern, it can be a roof, floor, or other reinforced concrete structure.

HOW DEEP ARE MOST COFFERED CEILINGS?

It depends on the depth desired. A Shallow Beam Coffered Ceiling will have 1.5 inch deep beams, while a Box Beam Coffered Ceiling will have 4 to 8-inch beams may be ideal for a deeply coffered ceiling.

HOW DO YOU CALCULATE A COFFERED CEILING LAYOUT?

With just a few simple measurements, such as the Length and Width of the ceiling and the desired width of beams, the dimensions for each coffer module can be found (depending on the number of modules being used). 

HOW DO YOU BUILD A COFFERED CEILING?

The easiest way is by using a pre-fabricated coffered ceiling treatment product such as a Box Beam System or a Shallow Beam Kit.

WHAT ARE COFFERED CEILING PHOTOS?

There are great examples of modern, stylish houses featuring stunning coffered ceiling designs.

WHAT DOES COFFERED CEILING MEAN?

A coffered ceiling features grid patterns comprising multiple recessed areas that create an illusion of three-dimensional space.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CEILINGS?

Different ceiling types include coffered, cathedral, coved, beam, and tray.

CAN YOU RAISE THE CEILING IN A HOUSE?

You can, but it’s a complicated process.

 

Feel free to refer to our FAQ Page for more specific answers.

Tilton creates ceiling treatments that are much simpler to install than traditional methods. We employ efficient and precise manufacturing techniques to deliver made-to-fit, gorgeous products that suit both new constructions and restoration projects.

Would you like to elevate the value of your property by installing a superior-quality coffered ceiling system? Contact Us right away to Request a Quote!

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