Vaulted Ceilings: Everything You Need to Know About This Home Trend may earn commission when you buy something through the links or banners on this page.

The idea of vaults conjures up images of lofty cathedrals and fairytale castles. Not exactly the types of structures we tend to call home, right?

Nonetheless, vaulted ceilings, or cathedral ceilings as they’re sometimes called, are a household trend that can drastically change your home’s space.

So, if you’d like to look up and see the curving lines of a vault in your own home, consider these factors before making any investments.

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What are vaulted ceilings?

Vaults don’t have to look like ancient or renaissance structures, and they also aren’t restricted to Elizabethan or Victorian homes. In fact, vaulted ceilings fit perfectly within contemporary spaces, too.

That’s because “vaults” have become synonymous with “raised” ceilings.

What does a vaulted ceiling look like? In short, one side of the ceiling rises to create a slanted surface. In some cases, opposite ends of the ceiling rise in a slant and meet in the middle. These raised ceilings create a majestic, lofty atmosphere in any room.

Why are vaulted ceilings so popular?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and design is subjective. And when it comes to vaulted ceilings, they’re quite a polarizing home topic. Some people love them and some people can do without.

But here are some of the reasons why vaulted ceilings have such a strong appeal to homeowners:

  • Vaulted ceilings add space to your home

If you live in a smaller home, a raised ceiling can add space to any room and make the home seem larger. It can create a more expensive and open feeling which can help you feel less boxed in.

  • Skylights and windows brighten your space

Many vaulted ceilings use skylights, which makes your home look like it has the best Instagram filter. If you don’t have skylights, you can use tall windows to flood your home with natural light.

  • Vaulted ceilings add interest to space

A vaulted ceiling gives your room a unique touch in so many ways.

First, the point of interest goes up. Secondly, vaulted ceilings can show rustic wood beams.

And finally, vaulted ceilings are a fun way to combine old design with contemporary style. And being able to mix different eras in your home interior is a classic way to create a winning look.

Is your home set up for vaults?

If you’re already moved into your home but are thinking of upgrading it with some vaulted ceilings, there are some important factors to consider before you commit to them.

Budget and taste aside, you have to understand whether or not the structure of your home is actually outfitted for vaulted ceilings.

So, here’s what you need to look out for:

  • How is your roof framed?

If your roof is framed with rafters, you should be able to remodel your ceiling. However, if the roof is constructed with trusses, the process becomes more complicated and can cost up to 40 percent more.

  • Where’s the chimney?

If your chimney is built flesh along an outside wall, you’ll probably be able to construct vaulted ceilings. However, if the chimney stands in the middle of the room, it’s not going to be easy working around that.

  • Electrical and plumbing concerns

If you have electoral lines, pipes, and ducts running through the ceiling, all of these have to be removed and rerouted throughout the home.

It’s not an easy task and it definitely requires the expertise of a professional home contractor.

  • What’s your budget?

Some experts estimate that a basic vaulting project can cost nearly $20,000. So, it’s important to ask if it’s an investment you’ll be happy with in the long run.

How to style vaulted ceilings in your own home

If you’re ready to make the plunge and incorporate vaulted ceilings into your home, consider these design tips to optimize your lofty rooms.

  • Expose beams

Exposed wood pieces – especially those that stand in stark contrast against a crisp, white ceiling – create a space that is airy and grounded all at the same time.

  • Expand attic spaces

Your attic space may feel a bit cramped. By building vaulted ceilings, it can become a functional and beautiful part of your home, instead of leaving it for dark and dusty storage bins.

  • Install low-hanging lamps and chandeliers

Your ceilings might be sky-high, but that doesn’t mean your light fixtures have to be. In fact, when they drop down into space, they can recreate the feel of an ancient dining hall.

  • Floor and ceiling color contrasts

Opposites attract and the visual appeal, which floor and ceiling contrast make, is a simple yet striking interior design tactic.

If you have a lightly colored vault, offset this with dark hardwood flooring. Similarly, if your ceiling is exposed wood, balance this with white tiling or carpeting.

  • Create ceiling-high libraries

Do you remember that romantic moment in The Beauty and the Beast, when he gave Belle his majestic library? It takes your breath away.

And with vaulted ceilings, you can create an impressive library to hold all of your beloved books, too. It’s a great way to display your literary passion, but it also adds a touch of instant coziness and Danish hygge to your interior space.

  • All-wood ceilings for a rustic atmosphere

Some ceilings expose selected wood beams, but you can create a rustic chic feel when the entire vault is covered with exposed beams. This way, it will feel like the great outdoors but you won’t have to go outside.

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Consider The Cons of Vaulted Ceiling

While there are many advantages to having a vaulted ceiling, it’s important to remember that they’re not always ideal. Here are a couple of cons to consider before you opt for vaults.

  • Heat rises

This is an indisputable fact, and if you live in an area with cold winters, remember that all of the heat that’s meant to warm you will float up to the vaulted space. Be prepared for higher heating bills.

  • Cleaning concerns

Skylights, lamps, and fans are going to be out of your reach. Nonetheless, they’re going to collect dust. Are you prepared to invest in additional tools to keep your home looking clean and fresh?

  • Additional but useless space

It’s true that vaulted ceilings add space to any room, but most of the time, this space is purely aesthetic and entirely useless.

If you’re okay with that, you’ll probably love your vaulted ceilings, but if you prefer a more functional space, you might want to consider other interior options.

Vaulted ceilings add instant majestic to your home, but they also come with their own unique set of challenges. Do you think they’re worth the effort?

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