Soaring Ceilings


Few architectural features add character and grandeur to a room like a cathedral ceiling. Sometimes called the “fifth wall,” ceilings represent an important opportunity to express creative architectural design and to emphasize a home’s style and theme.

The height and shape of a ceiling have the power to change a room’s atmosphere and positively impact the overall aesthetic. Because of its raised position, ceilings are among the first things we sense upon entering a room: our eyes are drawn upward as we subconsciously calculate if the space feels open and airy or restrictive and closed.

Cathedral ceilings are sometimes confused with vaulted ceilings, but each has its own distinct design pitch. Cathedral ceilings typically feature straight sides, designed to slope upward at the same angle as the roofline, allowing the room to open up to the highest possible point. Vaulted ceilings, on the other hand, are traditionally curved or domed and do not necessarily follow the roof pitch.

Cathedral ceilings have the capacity to make a space visually larger and airier, and because additional windows often accompany higher ceilings, the room receives more natural lighting. Extra yearlong lighting – particularly here in New England – is always welcome, whether in the kitchen, living room, or bedroom.

The beadboard cathedral ceiling and wonderful lighting help create a quintessential cottage bedroom.
Cathedral ceilings offer a wonderful way to expose and celebrate wooden beams.

To recall the craft and quality of historic homes, we often use reclaimed beams or antique wood when designing our client’s ceilings. Cathedral ceilings offer an excellent opportunity to emphasize beam features and create warmth and rustic character within the home.

With its beamed cathedral ceiling, this kitchen exudes a bright, farmhouse feel.

While cathedral ceilings increase the visual look and feel of a room, the space can still be designed with intimacy and elegance in mind. Beadboard walls, which lead to a trussed ceiling, for example, create a room that is both grand and intimate.

Articulated trim and antique wooden beams serve to frame and emphasize the ceiling.
This family room, with its soaring trussed ceiling, still exudes a sense of intimacy.

Cathedral ceilings are an important design element used to create architectural impact within a room, create an added sense of space, and effectively emphasize the home’s aesthetic tone and style.