A dramatic design option for the great room of a new home is a cathedral ceiling. In contrast to a flat ceiling, a cathedral ceiling soars above your head, creating a vaulted physical layout. With high-placed windows and faux wooden beams, a cathedral ceiling can open a room and increase the spaciousness.
Some home designs do not benefit from a cathedral ceiling. In general, a cathedral ceiling in a room that is not sufficiently wide makes the room feel narrow. Also consider the comfort level of the room. While a cathedral ceiling may be awe inspiring, it may not create the most livable space.
Pros and Cons of a Cathedral Ceiling
Consider both the positives and negatives of a cathedral ceiling before you decide on the architectural arrangement of your home. If a cathedral ceiling will open the space without limiting its coziness, it may be the right fit. By contrast, if it seems out of place in relationship to the rest of your home, it probably is.
Cathedral Ceiling Pros
Increased spaciousness is the most visible advantage of a cathedral ceiling. In a home with the right layout, a cathedral ceiling complements the rest of the structure by giving character to an otherwise unexceptional home. A 2-story home with an adjacent great room and a vaulted ceiling balances perfectly. With a stairway running through the middle and a small loft opening out over the cathedral area, the design is functional without being ostentatious.
Another advantage is light. Well placed windows high above the floor towards the ridge of the ceiling permits sunlight into the upper portion of the cathedral ceiling. After dark, high artificial lights shine into the room below from several angles, depending on the number of faces on the ceiling. An ornamental beam sized and positioned relative to the height of the ceiling is another stunning design feature possible with a cathedral ceiling.
Cathedral Ceiling Cons
The aesthetic advantages of a cathedral ceiling might be drawbacks if the design looks awkward. Just because you can install a cathedral ceiling does not mean you should. It is largely a matter of taste, but if a cathedral ceiling will detract from a home’s cozy charm, don’t build it.
Other disadvantages are of a more practical nature. In terms of construction cost, cathedral ceilings can double the price for framing a room. It also increases costs for heating and cooling because more space means heat and air conditioning are stretched thinner.
If there are light fixtures in the upper area of the ceiling, changing light bulbs becomes a huge ordeal. Finally, cleaning the windows and walls in a room with a cathedral ceiling requires either a professional or a very tall ladder.
While cathedral ceilings offer more height and openness to a room, they will not fit with every house. Aesthetically, a cathedral ceiling could go either way. Practically speaking, cathedral ceilings pose some problems as well. If the design intrigues you, and your home would benefit from it, a cathedral ceiling is a lovely addition.