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Vaulted Ceilings: 16 Clever Design Ideas

broken plan bedroom and ensuite with vaulted ceiling
(Image credit: c/o Oakwrights)

Building a new home, extending an existing property or converting a loft can all be ideal opportunities to do something a little different with your ceilings. We’re accustom to flat ceilings in our homes, but with some forward planning, vaulted ceilings can add interest and volume to any interior.

What’s more, vaulted ceilings can add wow factor to double and single-storey spaces alike. And, from curved to angular shapes, vaulted ceilings can also suit both contemporary and traditional homes. Here, we explore some of the clever ways you can employ this architectural feature in your home.

1. Timber-Clad Vaulted Ceilings

curved ceiling with whitewashed timber cladding

The curved ceiling in this traditional-style new build features whitewashed timber cladding, which gives a cosy Scandinavian feel to the interiors (Image credit: David Barbour)

Make a focal point of your vaulted ceilings by using cladding. Timber is often the material of choice here, adding texture, character and warmth to lofty spaces.

2. Maximise Glazing to Dramatic Effect

bathroom with vaulted ceiling

 A frosted window film allows this master en suite to enjoy plenty of natural light without compromising privacy. This project was designed by WG+P (opens in new tab) (Image credit: WG+P)

Glazed gable ends can be a great way of bringing natural light into rooms with vaulted ceilings.

3. Partially Vaulted Ceilings

galleried landing below vaulted ceiling with rooflights

In this SIPs and oak frame self build project, designed by Carpenter Oak, the first floor galleried landing sits beneath a sloping ceiling; rooflights bring light flooding down to the ground floor below (Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Where top floor accommodation can’t be left open to a fully vaulted ceiling due to restrictions on space, partial vaulting can look equally effective and add visual interest.

This idea is also a useful way of adding height in one and half storey homes.

4. Make the Most of Vaulted Ceilings with a Mezzanine Level

mezzanine study in chapel conversion

The mezzanine study, in this striking chapel conversion, ensures the full height of the original building can be enjoyed when entering the building (Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Mezzanines are a great way of gaining additional floorspace under a vaulted ceiling — and creating both single and double-height zones in one area. Mezzanines can be put to good use as studies, play rooms or TV snugs.

5. Vaulted Ceiling Can Provide Opportunity to Introduce Light from Above

remodelled and extended a 1930s bungalow with clerestory window

In this renovated bungalow, a partially vaulted ceiling has provide scope to introduce clerestory window — bringing light flooding into this space (Image credit: David Barbour)

Vaulted ceilings can provide an ideal means of introducing natural light from above. Installing rooflights or structural glazing in a vaulted ceiling are two ways of achieving this.

6. A Clever Loft Conversion

Vaulted ceiling in living room

Scheme designed by POW Architects (opens in new tab) (Image credit: POW Architects)

Creating extra space within a home is often a top priority for many homeowners, which is where vaulted ceilings can prove beneficial.

This partially vaulted ceiling creates the illusion of space in the living room, while providing scope for a further bedroom to the other side.

7. Rafters and Trusses Lend Character

bedroom with vaulted ceiling and faux rafters

In this self build, ‘faux’ rafters have been introduced to lend character to this traditional new home (Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Exposing elements of the roof structure, including the trusses and/or rafters, can add character to a home. This works particularly well beneath lofty double-height vaulted ceilings, but can also work beneath in single-height rooms, as this example goes to show.

8. Exposed Building Materials Can Add Interest

bedroom with vaulted ceiling and rooflights

The exposed glulam beam and steel ties add industrial flair to this two-storey extension and remodel scheme (Image credit: David Barbour)

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.

9. Vaulted Ceilings Can Create Height for a Feature Fireplace

stone fireplace complete with woodburning stove beneath a vaulted ceiling

This oak frame home from Welsh Oak Frame features an impressive stone fireplace complete with woodburning stove beneath a vaulted ceiling (Image credit: Nikilesh Havel)

A great design idea for making the most of high vaulted ceilings is the inclusion of a feature fireplace.

10. ‘Pods’ Can Add Privacy in Large Vaulted Spaces

broken plan bedroom and ensuite with vaulted ceiling

A dividing wall in this Oakwrights barn-style self build provides privacy between the en suite and bedroom (Image credit: c/o Oakwrights)

Large spaces with tall vaulted ceilings are great, but what if you want to create more intimate, cosy areas beneath?

Pods and/or dividing walls can help zone areas, without fear of losing the beautiful vaulted ceiling above.

11. Vaulted Ceiling Can be Used to Create Galleried Landings

natural plaster finish on vaulted ceiling

The natural plaster finish, from Clayworks (opens in new tab), lends texture to this vaulted ceiling (Image credit: Clayworks)

A galleried landing beneath a double-height vaulted ceiling can add real wow factor upon entering a home.

12. Vaulted Ceiling Can Help Zone Open Plan Spaces

open plan kitchen diner with vaulted ceiling

This stunning Scottish self build mixes contemporary finishes and large areas of glazing, with reclaimed materials (Image credit: David Barbour)

Designing in different height and shaped ceilings can help zone open plan spaces. In this spacious kitchen diner, a vaulted ceiling helps delineate the kitchen from the dining area.

13. Vaulted Ceilings Can Add Head Height

vaulted ceiling adds height to small bedroom

This guest bedroom in a chapel conversion, designed by Evolution Design, maximises on available space thanks to built-in storage. The vaulted ceiling adds height to the small bedroom, helping it to feel larger (Image credit: Chris Humphreys)

Think vaulted ceilings are for big, lofty rooms only? Think again — vaulted ceilings can be a useful feature for smaller rooms, or those with limited head height.

14. The Bridge Landing

Bridge landing in dramatic vaulted space

This award-winning barn conversion project was designed by Hudson Architects provides circulation space to the first floor accommodation, without distracting from the impressive original trusses (Image credit: James Brittain)

Barn conversions can often boast voluminous vaulted ceilings, but providing access to rooms above can prove troublesome. Designing in a ‘bridge’ landing can prove the perfect solution for linking the first floor accommodation within a dramatic vaulted space.

15. Vaulted Ceiling Can Add Drama to Bathrooms

exposed frame in bathroom with vaulted ceiling

This colonial-style bathroom in this self build takes its cure from the impressive exposed frame (Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Vaulted ceiling should not simply be the reserve of your main living spaces. They can work well in bathrooms — with areas which need less height head (i.e. above the bath) being accommodated beneath the eaves.

16. Built-in Storage Works Well Beneath Vaulted Spaces

built in wardrobes beneath vaulted ceiling

This spacious bedroom features in a home built by a young couple, for just £80K! Built-in wardrobes maximises space beneath this sloping ceiling (Image credit: Dave Burton)

One of the challenges associated with vaulted ceiling is furniture and storage — off-the-shelf furniture does not always suit such spaces. Built-in, bespoke storage solutions will help you maximise potential in rooms with vaulted ceilings, however.

Claire became Editor of Homebuilding & Renovating in 2016 and has been a member of the team for 14 years. An experienced homes journalist, her work has also appeared in titles such as Real Homes and Period Living.

She has a particular interest in green homes, and interior design is a passion too; she has undertaken qualifications in this area. 

After finishing a major renovation of a period cottage, she is now onto her next project: overhauling a 1930s property in the Shropshire countryside.