20 Architectural Details of a Stand-Out Ceiling

Many of us think of two adjectives when we hear the word “ceiling”: flat and white. But this doesn’t have to be the case! There are so many architectural details that can be incorporated into or onto a ceiling to bring the entire room to life. From rustic to contemporary, from cottage charmer to modern urban apartment, appropriate and appealing ceiling details can be found. Although there are countless ways to spice up this “fifth wall,” here are 20 inspiring ideas to get your creative architectural minds rolling:

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A woven ceiling design looks like the opening of a flower. A very cool, modern, abstract flower.

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Speaking of modern ceilings, this one with architecturally hidden lights has a distinctly chic, contemporary look and feel.

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For an unmistakably industrial vibe, consider exposing ductwork and the ceiling’s “innards.” Painting them all one color adds continuity and lessens the potential chaos.

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A ceiling medallion adds a touch of baroque style without having to change the entire ceiling. White on black is very dramatic.

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Herringbone is a classic look anywhere, and the ceiling is no exception.

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A textural take on the classic herringbone pattern takes the drama of this warm wood ceiling to new heights.

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Contrast exposed chunky dark wood beams with white.

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While we’re looking at exposed ceilings beams, let’s admire the subtle graphicality of white-on-white.

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It’s going the extra architectural mile when you add planking between beams for added depth and visual interest.

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The use of pale (whitewashed? limestone-treated?) weathered wood is a textural ceiling detail without being too obvious. Plus, built-in boxes are a great way to incorporate overhead lighting.

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Roughened wood used for exposed beams adds warmth to this rustic space. Pairs nicely and seamlessly with other natural materials used in the kitchen.

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A versatile white-on-white box beam ceiling provides cottage charm or chic style.

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Dark wood trim on a white ceiling brings out the beautiful wood tones throughout the space.

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Built-in architectural blocks add modern depth and dimension to the ceiling. These almost look like a piece of artwork.

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Handmade ornamental plaster is a rare and beautiful ceiling requiring the artisanship of a skilled craftsman. It certainly makes the room.

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Embossed metal ceiling tiles add sparkle and instantaneous drama, even in small doses.

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A diamond-style pattern is a subtle reinterpretation of the black-and-white tile floor in this narrow, but style-wide, space.

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Trim used in geometric patterns play across the ceiling for a lovely transitional feel – both contemporary and classic.

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“Plain” whitewashed wood planks are anything but plain in this French country style. Especially glamorous when the humble, rustic wood ceiling is paired with a crystal chandelier.

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Bold color, like this cobalt blue, carried up the walls and onto the ceiling makes any architectural detail stand out.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13  and 14.