Cathedral Ceiling Ideas Flourish Amid New Home Architecture

The cathedral ceiling aesthetic continues its upward ascent. When describing a ceiling that isn’t flat, the term cathedral ceiling will come to mind. Driven by high demand from new homeowners, builders today are incorporating the ceiling style more than ever before. 

Cathedral Ceiling

If you’re not familiar with cathedral ceilings, we’re here to change that. To help you understand more, we’ll show you the latest cathedral ceiling designs. Also, we’ll help you understand why the ceiling style is special, which should offer plenty of inspiration for your next home purchase or roof makeover. 

Cathedral ceilings are used in structures other than cathedrals. Today, it’s not uncommon for a residential home to have. a cathedral ceiling.  

Difference Between Vaulted And Cathedral Ceilings

Before we get into the specifics of the cathedral ceiling style, you should understand how it’s different than a vaulted ceiling. The ceiling designs are often confused, but there are major differences that make them distinct of each other. 

What Is the Difference Between a Vaulted Ceiling and a Cathedral Ceiling

A cathedral ceiling will feature two sloping sides that meet in the center and at a ridge. The slope is identical to the building’s roof. Thanks to prefabricated high ceiling trusses, their easier, safer, and faster to build.  

On one hand, vaulted ceilings aren’t sloped in the same direction as the roof. Instead, a vaulted ceiling will feature a single steep side, an arched or curved slope, or uneven slanted sides. Vaulted ceilings are framed with prefabricated scissor trusses.

Cost Of A Cathedral Ceiling

Are Cathedral Ceilings More Expensive?

Cathedral ceilings are divided into multiple expenses. Here, we’ll break down each category and show you how each one influences the price. The special ceilings require specific roof trusses that are manufactured off-site. The cost for basic framing could be five to 20 percent for a ceiling that could cover a 20 x 20-foot room.

New Construction

Among new home construction, the unique ceilings are easy to install with standard frames. However, they require specific roof trusses that are typically manufactured off-site. Even so, your costs are going to be considerably higher. 

Existing Construction

Finishing a cathedral ceiling in your home may provide opportunities for savings where a small second floor is concerned. The floor’s ceiling is lower, like the flooring, trim, and other finishing touches. On one hand, the ceiling uses living space on the second story, which may detract from your home’s value. 

Additionally, if you install the ceiling in an existing home, be prepared to throw some serious money at it. A structural engineer and architect will need to identify load-bearing walls. They will also evaluate if ceiling sections can be removed to expose the roofline. Depending on the size of your home, you could expect to pay between $18,000 and $25,000.

Cathedral Ceiling Design Ideas For 2022

The following cathedral ceiling examples illustrate the latest and greatest ceiling designs.

Wood Cathedral Ceiling

The Chateau Look Cathedral Ceiling

The first project features a living room from Tahoe Donner, in California. It’s a two-story contemporary house developed by WA Design.

Northwest Peach Farm Cathedral Ceiling

Naturally, what we’re most interested in is the ceiling. The design has all the characteristics of a typical cathedral ceiling plus a few cool custom details.

Northwest Peach Farm Cathedral Ceiling

Symmetry is a hallmark characteristic of a wood cathedral ceiling. As you can see, the roof structure has two steep sloping sides which connect in the middle.

Exposed Beams

Northwest Peach Farm Cathedral Ceiling

The ceiling style is known for its ability to take advantage of natural light.  In addition to that, the design can include a variety of other features such as additional support beams or visible hardware focused on creating a pleasant contrast in combination with the beams.

Northwest Peach Farm Cathedral Ceiling

This brings us to another example: a two-story home designed by Hammer Architects in Truro, Massachusetts where the ceiling is a focal point in the dining room and living room. 

Modern Clean Lines

Northwest Peach Farm Cathedral Ceiling

Apart from being very tall compared to the usual king, a cathedral ceiling is also special because it mirrors the pitch of a roof structure and that creates a wonderful sense of comfort and familiarity, diminishing the dramatic impact that a high ceiling would otherwise have on a space.

Bedroom Cathedral Ceiling

Northwest Peach Farm Cathedral Ceiling

In this contemporary residence designed by Bates Masi Architects in East Hampton, New York, things are a bit more complex. On one hand, the cathedral ceiling has sloping sides. The pitch helps it look retro, but on the other hand, the design is minimalistic. 

Vaulted Ceilings With Beams

Northwest Peach Farm Cathedral Ceiling

Vaulted ceilings with beams take advantage of space that’s often ignored. The structure is a cozy home but that wasn’t always the case. The space was converted by architect Richard Smith who saw its potential. The ceiling was preserved and the timber beams exposed, just like the concrete flooring.

Bright and Spacious

Northwest Peach Farm Cathedral Ceiling

By now you should have a clear idea of what a cathedral ceiling looks like. The white track lighting remains hidden in the white walls. They share a few key characteristics like sloping sides and how they make rooms feel more spacious without interfering with their ambiance.

Bedroom Cathedral Ceiling

Pouring into the Bedroom

Some would argue that vaulted ceilings are pretty much the same thing as cathedral ceilings. In some ways that’s true but there are a few major differences between these two styles. A vaulted ceiling is not symmetrical as it can have a single sloping side. Also, it can have a curved or an arched shape whereas a cathedral ceiling can’t.

Warm and Cozy

Northwest Peach Farm Cathedral Ceiling

There are many cases when a cathedral ceiling makes sense in the context of a building’s design. As mentioned before, each design or structure has separate qualities. For instance, the height and materials.

Rustic Cathedral Ceiling Design

Rustic Mountain Getaway

Sometimes a vaulted ceiling and a cathedral ceiling are difficult to distinguish. Recessed lighting a another common design trait. Often it’s all reduced to the exact length of the sloping sides of the angle or exact shape of the pitch and by extension of the whole ceiling. 

Retro Chic

Retro Chic

Both vaulted and cathedral ceilings are great for skylights. It makes sense to install skylight windows on a sloping ceiling. They let in lots of sunlight and they also provide a dreamy view of the night sky.

Statement Piece 

A Statement Piece 

The space overhead isn’t ignored among cathedral ceiling designs. There are several cool ways to take advantage of its style. First, you can put an emphasis on its dramatic nature with the help of beams or by hanging certain types of light fixtures, like this awesome dining room chandelier.

Classic and Traditional

Classic and Traditional

In many cases, less is more and that also applies to cathedral ceilings. The easiest design is one that emphasizes the height and structural elements. It’s in the details that stand out but the basic elements, the one that defines this style.

Best Lighting For Cathedral Ceilings?

What Is the Best Lighting for Cathedral Ceilings?

Recessed lighting is the finest solution for vaulted ceilings. Skylights provide essential natural light, while pendant lights give a splash of color. Track lighting is another option, as it allows you to move the lights around the room. If you prefer not to have lighting directly on the ceiling, wall lights are also an alternative.

Pendant Lighting

Pendant lighting is another option for a cathedral ceiling. They can infuse any place with personality. Numerous pendant lights also include interchangeable shades. Changing your shade enables you to update the decor of your space without breaking the wallet.

There are numerous styles of pendant lights currently on the market, so you’re sure to find one that complements your taste. Additionally, the cables are available in a number of lengths.

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is concealed within the ceiling. They are available in circular and square shapes and can be installed at any location on the ceiling. One of the many benefits of recessed lighting is that it can be directed in whatever direction you like. 

This is a more permanent approach, as it requires drilling holes to accommodate the lights. You are going to need one light to cover every four to six square feet of ceiling. This will ensure that light is distributed evenly around the room. 

If you wish to install recessed lighting in your cathedral ceilings, we recommend contacting a professional to ensure the installation is completed properly, as you should never mess with wiring unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

Track lights

Track lighting is an excellent alternative because the lights can be moved to the desired location. If you choose to rearrange your space, you can also move the lights on the track to focus the light on the region that needs illumination.

Additionally, these are available in a variety of colors, designs, and sizes. Certain songs can even be bent into any shape you like. This option allows you a little more leeway when it comes to lighting your vaulted ceilings. Due to the adjustability of the head, the light will always point precisely where you require them to.


Skylights are an excellent method to bring natural light into any room. Aside from the fact that they look they are also extremely functional. It can help you save money on your electric bill and they also offer heat because of the natural sunshine that streams through. They are energy efficient and reduce the demand for daytime lights. They can serve as an excellent focal point for any space with vaulted ceilings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Are Cathedral Ceilings Outdated?

Cathedral ceilings are not outdated. However, due to their high maintenance, you will need to decide if the ceiling style is worth it. 

Are 10 Foot Ceilings Too High?

Most older homes have ceilings that are eight feet tall. The height was considered ideal. Today, new homes will feature nine-foot ceilings. Anything above that would be considered a high ceiling. For example, you might find a home that has a having room with a 10-foot ceiling, you might also find a single room space with a higher ceiling.

Are Cathedral Ceilings Energy Efficient?

Any type of ceiling that’s higher than normal will consume more energy. Energy loss is magnified in vaulted ceilings that have windows and skylights. Additionally, cathedral ceiling rooms are more drafty due to the natural convection patterns created by warm air ascending and cool air sinking. 

A portion of this can be addressed by adding additional insulation to the ceiling or by purchasing ceiling-mounted fans to drive warm air downward into living spaces. However, these spaces will feel chilly during winter months, which could be a real problem for those that live in colder regions.

What Kind Of Insulation Do You Use For A Cathedral Ceiling?

You should use closed-cell foam when insulating unvented cathedral ceilings. Although it is the most expensive insulation on the market, building inspectors won’t allow it to be left uncovered as it’s a potential fire hazard. If you want something cheaper, try foil-faced iso-board insulation for cathedral ceilings and attics?

Can You Flush Mount A Ceiling Fan To A Vaulted Ceiling?

Flush mount ceiling fans are designed for flat ceilings. Since flush mount fans are anchored to the ceiling, an adapter and down rod is required when installing them on vaulted or sloped ceilings.

How Do You Stop Condensation In A Cathedral Ceiling?

One way to prevent moist air from entering your roof is to have an airtight air barrier at the ceiling level, right under the insulated rafter cavities. To achieve this, seal the drywall or use foam board insulation taped at seams and then sealed around the perimeter with canned foam.

Cathedral Ceiling Conclusion

When you. have a wood cathedral ceiling, your lifestyle and mindset will change. Often, homeowners take for granted a roof structure. What they don’t realize is how the space overhead is just as important as any other area in their home. Whether a dining room, living room, or bedroom, a cathedral ceiling is a way of thinking rather than an overhead structure.

Because of its unused roof structure space, the ceiling  leaves room to experiment with recessed lighting, natural light, and track lighting. Although exposed beams make it appear vulnerable, the ceiling plays a major role in keeping your home warm during the winter months.