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The Ultimate Guide To Tray Ceilings

Modern Master Bedroom Ceiling with Tray Ceiling and Radius Curves
A tray ceiling created from double Radius-Curved Ceilings is the focal point of this modern master bedroom - by Archways & Ceilings

It may seem strange to the average homeowner, but what often ties a room together is the style of its ceiling. Ceilings are commonly overlooked when people want to redesign their houses and it is such a shame. If you are interested in redesigning, you should get familiar with tray ceilings.

We are going to better acquaint you with the beauty of tray ceilings. It is the finishing touch you never even knew you needed! 

What is a Tray Ceiling?

Picture a recessed ceiling within a ceiling, and you’ll probably have the image of a tray ceiling clear in your mind. Tray ceilings get their name from the fact that they look like a big, upside-down tray in place of your roof.

This type of ceiling is usually rectangular, but it can be oval or round. Depending on the shape and lighting paired with it, they can make any room dramatic and elegant, or more intimate. These ceilings can be plain and straightforward or ornate and dramatic. The choice is completely up to you and the impact you’d like to make in your room.

Once you have the style down, you may even want to add recessed lighting to accentuate your masterpiece. The tray ceiling is a popular choice for dining rooms, living rooms and hallways, but it really can be installed anywhere.

Tray Ceiling in a bedroom - Cove Ceiling from Archways and Ceilings
This simple yet stylish tray ceiling is made by using Cove Ceiling kits - by Archways & Ceilings

Why Install a Tray Ceiling?

Ultimately, you’re only going to install this design element for its dramatic flair and the aesthetic it brings to a room. It is structurally sound, but it has no structural purpose. If you want to break up the monotony of your ordinary flat ceilings by adding depth and architectural interest, you might want to consider a tray ceiling. It’ll give the room the feeling that it’s larger and more spacious than it really is. 

If you have a home with a high ceiling, this will also be a perfect option for you. It will emphasize the space in the room without it looking too cavernous. A tray ceiling is also a great base for exciting lighting options in the room.

Aside from adding to a room’s appearance and ambiance, installing a tray ceiling will likely add to your home’s resale value . And, it’s a very simple way of elevating the space in each room.

Double Radius Ceiling With Ceiling Fan In Living Room
A custom tray ceiling features a double Radius Ceiling for an ultra modern look - by Archways & Ceilings

How to Accentuate a Tray Ceiling

Tray ceilings look impressive in any room, and if you install one, you will want to draw attention to it. You can play around with various lighting and paint options to accentuate your new architectural feature.


The use of lighting is the most commonly used method to accentuate a tray ceiling - and for good reason! Light naturally attracts attention and catches the eye.

If you are going for a more elegant or charming style in a room, chandeliers or other elegant light fixtures will really compliment your tray ceiling. Interesting light features make your tray ceiling impossible to ignore.

Rope lighting is also a great way to draw attention to your tray ceiling. It is a long tube with little lights inside and is installed along the outline of the ceiling. Different colored rope lights are great for entertaining rooms while standard rope lights are perfect for a romantic bedroom setting.

In warm and cozy rooms, cove lighting and recessed lights contribute to an intimate interior. They provide good lighting to a room without overwhelming it with visible light fixtures. With this source of light, any eye will be drawn to the tray ceiling’s design.

Tray ceiling with double coved ceiling in dining room
A double Coved Ceiling with recessed lights creates a magnificent tray ceiling in this dining room - by Archways & Ceilings

Inverted Tray Ceiling Designs

An inverted tray is the exact opposite of a tray ceiling. So instead of being recessed, it juts down into the room. A combination of the two types with recessed lighting can create a really spectacular look.

Created an inverted tray ceiling to add even more dimension to your room may be easier than you think. Whether it's a tray ceiling or an inverted tray ceiling, our easy-to-install ceiling kits allow for countless design options.

Inverted tray ceiling made from a Grome ceiling with pendant lights  A  custom Grome Ceiling creates an inverted tray ceiling with a recessed tray ceiling inside of it - by Archways & Ceilings

Paint Ideas For Tray Ceilings

Paint is another way to accentuate your tray ceiling. A tray ceiling in the room gives you more surface to paint and color. You can choose the color based on the effect you want the tray ceiling to have in a room.

If you paint the tray ceiling a different color to the walls, your tray ceiling will be the center of attention. Go for bolder colored tray ceilings in your entertaining rooms for a dramatic yet artistic flair. Your kitchen and bedroom will work better with a tray ceiling painted a softer color.

If you match your tray ceiling to your wall color, you can still have a really interesting and layered effect on the room. You can add some crown molding to give a bit of a break in between the colors and draw attention to the depth of the ceiling.

If you want a room to be dark and intimate, you can paint your tray ceiling a darker shade of the wall colors. This is perfect for entertainment rooms like home cinemas where you do not want the room to be light and open.

Faux painted tray ceiling from a Cross Vault Ceiling in a Living Room
A custom Cross Vault with a stylish finish creates a remarkable tray ceiling in this living room - by Archways & Ceilings

How to Install a Tray Ceiling

A tray ceiling may sound intimidating or highly specialized to create, but we have made this design accessible for everyone!

In the past, it was more difficult to install this design element. Each piece had to be created from scratch by a master craftsman. You no longer need to find several specialists who know how to build tray ceilings and create each part from scratch. You can simply order from us and our specialists will send you what you need in one order.

Now, you can use on of our ceiling kits to create the tray of your choice, our Cove Ceilings are a popular tray ceiling choice. Just take the measurements, order the kit, and then follow the simple installation instructions when the kit arrives.

Tray ceilings are popular for those who want just a little bit of depth added to the room. They don’t want the drama of a Dome Ceiling or a Barrel Vault . They just want a little flair; a little excitement in what are otherwise boring, flat ceilings.

Tray ceiling installation - cove ceiling kits
A Cove Ceiling kit being installed to create a tray ceiling - by Archways & Ceilings

3 Tray Ceiling Design Ideas To Enhance Your Home

Tray ceilings can work in just about any room with any style and color scheme. They give you a great chance to tap into your creative side.

Here are some tips to get the best out of a tray ceiling in each room.

Tray Ceilings for Living Room

Tray ceilings add an excellent architectural feature to the main room in your home. There is nothing worse than a crowded living room, so why not open the room up with a tray ceiling?

Think about installing an Astroid Curve Ceiling for your living room to make it a real show-stopper. This is a very creative, modern design that works well in a big space.

Astroid Ceiling in living room for a unique tray ceiling
This Astroid Curve ceiling creates a tray ceiling that will have your guests talking - by Archways & Ceilings

Tray Ceilings for Dining Room

This is the room you will likely be entertaining the most and a tray ceiling gives a comfortable sense of depth to the room so it does not feel crowded.

A Radius Ceiling is a great option. You can either keep it simple with a circle or oval design to complement your beautiful dining table or go for something a bit bolder like the quatrefoil design. You could even just use outside radius corners in a tray ceiling design to create a sense of elegance in the room. The options are endless!

While simple, it can have a big impact on the room and your guests are bound to be amazed. Pair this tray ceiling design with a beautiful lighting fixture to truly make a statement.

Tray Ceiling in dining room - radius ceiling kit from Archways & Ceilings
A dining room tray ceiling made from a Quatrfoil Radius Ceiling - by Archways & Ceilings

Tray Ceilings for Bedrooms

Bedrooms are more of an intimate setting and do not need to seem overly spacious. Instead, you want your tray ceiling to make the room seem tranquil and serene. This is your place to relax.

For a simple yet impactful look in your bedroom, consider a Cove Ceiling . It can soften the edges of the room and you can pair it with molding to create and paint to create an elegant and luxurious atmosphere for your bedroom.

Tray Ceiling in Master Bedroom  - Cove Ceiling Design
Colorful Cove Ceilings create a stylish tray ceiling in this bedroom - by Archways & Ceilings

Final Thoughts About Tray Ceilings

Tray ceilings have become incredibly popular and it’s easy to see why. They elevate any room they are installed in. You can make a crowded room feel more spacious or a large room feel more layered and organized.

They will spark your creative side as you choose which light fixtures and paint color to pair your new ceiling with. Create the ambiance you want with the variety of tray ceilings we offer. This way, you can get the most out of every room in your house!

Design Your Tray Ceiling Today

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