A coffered ceiling is one that has patterns that form indentations on ceilings for the purposes of decoration. This type of ceiling dates back centuries ago and offers an appeal that is undeniable. In fact, many homeowners love the architectural appeal home with a coffered ceiling gives.

What Is a Coffered Ceiling?

The word “coffer” refers to a sunken panel in a ceiling.

Mostly used for interior decorative purposes, coffered ceilings have been popular for centuries and remain a beloved feature in many buildings. Historically, coffered ceilings made buildings look very formal, but now they are a feature in many modern homes.

In the past, coffered ceilings were often used to support and contribute to the architectural engineering of a building. An example of this is when a beam would be necessary to support the ceiling but then additional beams were used to aid in the symmetry of the building.

Although coffered ceilings were sometimes used to support architectural design, they have always been decorative and used to enhance the interior appeal of a building. Coffered ceilings have a way of making a room appear larger, which many homeowners like.

waffle ceiling GTA

Many people often wonder about coffered ceiling vs tray ceiling. The difference between a coffered ceiling and a tray ceiling is that coffered ceilings are usually in the shape of a grid while tray ceilings form a single raised area that covers the room. In addition, tray ceilings are usually made of plaster and drywall while coffered ceilings are typically made from different types of wood or a variety of other materials.

amazing coffered ceiling by trim team toronto

A huge advantage of coffered ceilings is that they are so versatile, giving homeowners the creative liberty to incorporate just about any ceiling design they please. Coffered ceilings are also an affordable way to renovate a room and create allure without hefty cost or months or a lengthy project.

One of the best things about coffered ceilings is that they can add enormous value to a home. They can be customized to suit your personal style and the options are limitless because they can seamlessly blend in with the current theme and style of your home.

Coffered Ceiling Considerations

amazing dining room with waffle ceilings and baseboard trim

Ceiling Height – As mentioned earlier, coffered ceilings tend to make a room look more spacious. However, this only works when the height of the ceiling is considerable – typically, 9 ft tall or more. The reason why coffered ceilings are better suited for rooms with high ceilings is that rooms with lower ceilings often look cluttered once coffers are added.

When determining the type of coffered ceiling pattern to go with, you should remember that deeper indentations require an even taller ceiling because the coffers will consume so much space going downward. The last thing you want is to have your coffered ceiling overwhelm the room.

living room with amazing waffle ceiling trim

Functional Beans – while most coffered ceilings are purely decorative, coffered ceilings are sometimes necessary and factored into a home’s architectural design specifically to support the structure and weight of the ceiling.

An important thing to remember when thinking about adding a coffered ceiling is to determine how much weight they are going to add to the ceiling. Large and deeply indented coffee may require an engineer to determine whether additional ceiling support is needed to support the added weight from the coffers.

Coffered Ceiling Cost

baseboard installation cost

Due to the intricate nature of coffered ceilings, knowing what the cost will be to install the pattern of your choice upfront can help you in your planning and also determine what type of coffered ceilings to incorporate in your home. The more intricate the design, the more labor-intensive the job will be and the more skilled the technicians will need to be in order to install the coffered ceiling correctly.

This is something you do not want to go cheap on because it involves the safety of your family. On average, you can expect to pay about $25 (USD) per square foot for professional coffered ceiling installation. Keep in mind that the amount of detail and the type of wood you select will also have an impact on the installation cost.

How to Build a Coffered Ceiling

The decision to hire a professional for your coffered ceiling installation or to take it on as a coffered ceiling DIY project are options that homeowners need to decide on early on. Both have pros and cons to consider. Regardless of the choice you make, the first step is always to plan well.

If you choose to install the coffered ceiling yourself, here are some steps you should take:

crown moulding installation

Step 1

From the get-go, you’ll need to decide on the design and the type of coffered ceiling you want. You’ll need to determine how many coffers to install and the depth and width of the beams. Precision when it comes to measurements will be critical. You need to know the dimensions of your ceiling and coffers so that the beams can fit neatly onto the ceiling.

custom home with waffle ceiling and coffered wall cover

Step 2

Once you have your measurements, the next thing you’ll need to do is outline where the beams will be placed on the ceiling. You can use chalk lines to do this.

waffle ceiling decor

Step 3

Then position the main beams that will run across the ceiling in a perpendicular direction to the ceiling joists. These main beams will provide support for the ceiling, so they need to be secured properly using an appropriate adhesive and a nail gun.

Custom coffered ceiling in GTA

Step 4

Next, you will need to install the base crossbeams. These complete the grid pattern and need to be cut from the same type of wood used for the main base beams. The crossbeams will run parallel to the joists and be connected to the inner edges of the main base beams. When this is done you should have something that looks like a checkerboard pattern, which forms the frame of your coffer.

photo of painting crown moulding

Step 5

What you will need to do next is install faux beams. It’s a good idea to paint these beams before installing them onto your ceiling. Doing so makes it much easier since trying to paint the beams when they are suspended from the ceiling will be difficult. You can decide to either frame the sides and bottom of the faux beams directly on the base beams or construct the beams as three-sided boxes on the ground and then lift them and directly install them over the base beams.

Modern coffered ceiling GTA

Step 6

Once you have done this, install the coffered ceiling trim including any other decorative accents onto your coffered ceiling.