1. Clad Ceilings

Make a focal point of your vaulted ceilings by using cladding. Timber is often the material of choice for cladding ceilings, and can add texture and warmth to a room. Here, the homeowners’ son, Murray Kerr of Denizen Works, introduced whitewashed timber cladding to the curved vaulted ceiling of their Hebridean home which gives a cosy, Scandinavian feel to the interiors.

rounded vaulted ceiling made with whitewashed timber in a Scottish longhouse

2. Glazed Gable End

Adding glazing up to the apex of a vaulted ceiling can be a great way of bringing in additional light, as well as drawing the eye upwards, and is suitable for contemporary and traditional schemes alike. As this project from WG+P shows, frosted film to the gable glazing allows a master en-suite to enjoy plenty of natural light without compromising privacy. Plaster-clad rafters, painted white to match the walls, also enhance the contemporary theme and prove vaulted ceilings aren’t just for traditionalists.

glazed gable end of a bathroom with a vaulted ceiling

3. Light from Above

Allow natural light to pour into your home and make a design statement at the same time by installing banks of rooflights above a vaulted ceiling, as shown in this self build by Oakwrights — alternatively, introducing structural glazing in between the ceiling rafters can prove equally effective.

rooflights in a vaulted ceiling of a bedroom with timber frame

4. Exposed Steel Ties

It’s not just the rafters that can be exposed: steel ties can look extremely effective, and give contemporary and traditional interiors alike an industrial-style edge — as this extension, designed by Paper Igloo, shows.

exposed steel ties on vaulted bedroom ceiling

5. Partial Vaulting

Where top floor accommodation can’t be left open to a fully vaulted ceiling due to restrictions on space or where a wall is necessary, partial vaulting can look equally effective and create interesting shapes.

In this SIPs and oak frame self build project, designed by Carpenter Oak, the first floor galleried landing sits beneath a dramatic sloping ceiling, with rooflights bringing light flooding down to the ground floor below. This idea is also a useful way of adding height to what would otherwise be a cramped space.

vaulted sloping ceiling with rooflights

6. Mezzanines

Mezzanines make perfect nooks for studies, play rooms or TV snugs, and are a great way of gaining additional floorspace under a vaulted space. Installing a glass balustrade – as demonstrated in this oak frame extension by English Oak Buildings – will also allow natural light to enter the tucked-away space, and provide a visual connection with the room below.

mezzanine with vaulted ceiling and glass balustrade stairs

7. Loft Conversions

Creating extra space within the home is often a top priority for many homeowners, which is where vaulted ceilings can prove beneficial, as this project from POW Architects shows. Converting the loft can make way for an extra bedroom, bathroom, games room or home office.

vaulted ceiling of loft conversion living space

8. Curved Ceilings

Add interesting, soft shapes to your vaulted ceiling by using glulam beams to create a generous curve. This self build project by architectural practice Birds Portchmouth Russum, whose clients were wine connoisseurs, was designed so that the grand dining hall space within the home created the appearance of a wine barrel. The glulam arches were treated with Fiddes wood oil to give them a white tint — and to avoid the dreaded orange hue.

curved ceiling glulam self build dining area

9. Exposed Rafters and Trusses

Exposing the frame of the roof can add character to the building. This works particularly well in lofty double-height spaces where rafters serve to add interest. In this self build, ‘faux’ rafters have been introduced to lend character to this traditional new home.

exposed rafters and trusses in a bedroom with a vaulted ceiling

10. Feature Fireplaces

A great design idea for making the most of high vaulted ceilings is the inclusion of a feature fireplace. This oak frame home from Welsh Oak Frame is a prime example, with an impressive stone fireplace complete with woodburning stove sitting underneath a vaulted ceiling with exposed rafters.

Welsh Oak Frame vaulted ceiling living room

11. Pods

Large spaces with tall vaulted ceilings, complete with exposed trusses and rafters (often common in barn conversions), often lend themselves to large, open plan kitchen/living/dining spaces — but what if you want to create more intimate, cosy rooms? Pods – created by stud walls and partitions – can help divide and zone areas within the larger space, without fear of losing the beautiful vaulted ceiling above. This Oakwrights barn-style self build is case in point.

vaulted ceiling of an open plan bedroom and en suite

12. Galleried Landings

The galleried landing is a staple of double-height vaulted hallways, and can add real wow factor upon entering a home. Whether you opt for an oak staircase to suit exposed timber trusses in your traditional home or fancy a more contemporary design of glass where light can flow through, the galleried landing is a firm favourite among self-builders and home improvers. (Note the textured ceiling by Clayworks.)

galleried landing with a vaulted ceiling

13. Varied Ceiling Levels

Designing in varied ceilings levels can prove a clever design tool for zoning open plan spaces. In this 1960s home, remodelled by Will Lasdun Design, the study area and kitchen sit under a ‘standard’ ceiling, while the living and dining zone within the open plan space is open to a vaulted ceiling complete with full-height glazing overlooking the garden — a great way of adding visual interest.

varied ceiling heights in a 1960s remodelled home

14. Improving Small Spaces

Think vaulted ceilings are for big rooms only? Think again — vaulted ceilings can be a useful feature for smaller, confined spaces too, as this example goes to show. This guest bedroom in a chapel conversion, designed by Evolution Design, maximises on available space thanks to clever full-height built-in storage while the vaulted ceiling adds height to the small bedroom, helping it to feel larger and less cramped.

converted chapel bedroom with vaulted ceiling

15. The Gangway

Barn conversions can often boast voluminous vaulted ceilings, but providing access to rooms above can prove troublesome. Designing in a ‘bridge’, as Hudson Architects did with their award-winning barn conversion project here, can prove the perfect solution for linking the first floor accommodation within the dramatic vaulted space.

gangway in double height ceiling space of a converted barn

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