44+ Best Tray Ceiling Ideas and Designs

Last Updated on March 7, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

When it comes to home improvements, installing a gallery wall is one thing but having a tray ceiling can be everything.

If you intend to put a 3D effect to any room in your home and play with lighting fixtures to give your home some needed dramatic effect, you can consider installing a tray ceiling. 

If you are searching for design ideas for tray ceiling, here are some design schemes that you can consider. The list has been diversified at best for you to have limitless ideas to what you can incorporate in your own tray ceilings, so, read on. 

What is a tray ceiling?

It is also called an inverted or recessed ceiling because it resonates an upside-down tray, literally. It features a raised center (a few inches higher than the edges of your ceiling) with borders that have a dropping down effect.

Because you can incorporate different colors in the trims and stack it up with woodworks, your tray ceiling can become the focal point of a room. 

Tray ceilings are common aesthetic points in master’s bedrooms. It offers a lot of luxuriousness and the illusion of space in any room. 

Related: 34 Different Types Of Ceilings and Their Pros and Cons

44 Awesome Tray Ceiling Ideas

best tray ceiling ideas designs

Being a versatile, aesthetic feature of a home, there are a lot of design ideas to go for when it comes to tray ceilings. Here are some of the most notable tray ceiling ideas across various design categories for you to sift through. 

Tray ceiling lighting

One of the default pieces of a tray ceiling would be lighting fixtures. If there is one thing that would truly upscale a tray ceiling and evoke the right vibe to it, it would be choosing the best lighting for it. 

This contemporary chic kitchen here maintained its clean, elegant look through minimal lighting.

It sports well-spaced rows of canned lights and topped it all with this elegant pendant light, hanging by the kitchen island.

The minimal lighting here makes sense because the white walls and ceilings already give off a lot of natural light. 

Related: 35+ Modern and Cheap DIY Kitchen Ceiling Ideas and Designs

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Source: RKI Interior Design

Hidden lighting is another way to accentuate any room with a tray ceiling. With the raised edges, one can easily install interior lights to accompany other lighting features around the space.

Most of the time, warm yellow track lights or colorful LED string lights are installed for the hidden lighting to give a variety of hues and dramatic flair to a room. This one is a prime example of light play. 

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You can also install crown moldings around the tray ceiling if you want the effect of indirect lighting. This compact hallway here is in for a lot of moody and dramatic flair with this large yellow LED, built-in the tray ceiling. 

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Tray ceiling paint ideas

Neutrals are the most common color palettes used for tray ceilings for them to be more flexible design-wise. But there are a lot of ways to spruce up a tray ceiling with paint patterns if you do not want to settle for just traditional neutrals. 

For one, adding a touch dark blue in a room of whites is a solid way to intersect modern and vintage in one room.

The proper use of bright, white light, neutral furniture set and colorful decorative and accent pieces are a good match for this deep blue and white tray ceiling. 

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Painting the tray ceiling with magenta is one thing but lining it with hidden string lighting on the raised edges? You are in with spectacular paint and light magic.

Let us just allow this look to speak for itself but fantastic is surely an understatement. 

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And if you want to go all-out unconventional in a good way, this modern circular tray ceiling with a mural painting uniform to the muraled walls does not just offer a sophisticated look but also a cohesive, color and texture play for this compact bedroom.  

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Reverse tray ceiling

A traditional tray ceiling has dropping perimeters and a sunken center. As such, a reverse tray ceiling would have a dropping center and sunken perimeters.

If you want to be a bit more edgy, here are some reverse tray ceiling ideas for you. 

If you want a modern, industrial look, you can drop the conventional perimeter look altogether and just go for a 3D, embossed look like this one here.

By adding hidden lights around the edges and some industrial pendant lights, you get this cozy feel in this kitchen. 

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And since you are going for an out of the box look, might as well have a layered, octagon tray ceiling that does not take up all the space of the ceiling for its perimeter.

With this warm glowing, ornate chandelier to adorn it and the neat paint style of the room, this dining room here exudes a very luxurious look. 

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Or what about these modern, eclectic style ceiling boxes, interlocked to create one standout reverse ceiling tray?

With the corner canned lights, a ceiling fan in the middle and the play of organic tones, even the simplest room design can be transformed immediately.

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Bedroom tray ceiling

As have been mentioned, tray ceilings are staple designs to master’s bedrooms, offering elegance and standout look which differentiates it from other rooms in the home. But you can always incorporate tray ceilings for any bedroom and here are some looks to consider.

This plush bedroom is definitely softened by this bedroom tray ceiling. It follows a multi-paneled tray ceiling to give separation to the different nooks in this bedroom.

The play of warm lamp lights and recessed can lights are all it took to give it a cozy, intimate aura. 

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To imprint that sophisticated, rustic look in a bedroom, the use of alder wood planks in the tray ceiling’s center is everything you need to exude warmth in such an edgy look.

If the aim here is to have a polished, balanced look, you got it with this tray ceiling. 

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Sometimes, the magic of tray ceilings in bedrooms has something to do with the paint patterns incorporated in the perimeter.

For one, this bedroom here features a small, traditional style tray ceiling but the light green and white stripe pattern for the perimeter give it a trendier look.

It complements the neutrals very much and that is why we dig this look for this compact bedroom. 

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Living room tray ceiling

Another typical room where you could find a tray ceiling would be the living room. Being the main receiving area, it is important to make a living room look compelling and adding a tray ceiling is one of the pro tips to upscale it. 

It makes sense for this lakeside home to install a traditional tray ceiling which covers the entire living room area.

The clean lines and symmetry of this tray ceiling along with the use of minimal recessed can lighting complement the off-white walls and the balance of wood details, fireplace and polished stones. 

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Speaking of clean lines and symmetry, you can install a multiple tray ceiling in your living room to exude the ultimate modern look.

This is an elegant living room idea to draw inspiration from if you want to go for the outstanding beauty of multiple tray ceilings. 

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Another elegant, out of the box touch would be transforming the sunken center into a view of its own by adding a tray ceiling wallpaper.

It all started with a traditional tray ceiling but with this minimal addition, the living room has become a luxurious high-ceiling nook with all these tufted and ornate pieces around. One for the books in look and feel, indeed. 

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Master bedroom with tray ceiling

Here comes the deep bond between master’s bedrooms and tray ceilings. From traditional square trays to more ornate ones, you have a lot of tray ceiling ideas to choose from when it comes to master’s bedrooms. 

There is nothing more luxurious than this master’s bedroom. The crown moldings are very on point, making the transition to the tray ceiling seamless.

The perimeter of the sunken center is extended so it gets this accented dropping look. With just white paint and bright LED lights, the black and gray embellishments give it a very modern look. 

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This moody, canopied, master’s bedroom with a lot of rustic elements, is improved by these two-layer tray ceilings.

The decorative mirror, the spacious floor plan, the wood accents and the wood lining of the tray ceiling’s perimeter give this room an overall organic flair. 

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And if you are eyeing for a more geometric tone, you can accentuate the tray ceiling’s center by adding some ornate patterns in the area.

To give this room an angled, more textured tone, the geometric pattern by the tray ceiling along with the corner canned lights and chic, white chandelier gives this master’s bedroom an airy and spacious feel. 

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Farmhouse master bedroom tray ceiling

When it comes to farmhouse designs, the use of wood, shiplap and other rustic decorative pieces are its hallmarks. The same is true when it comes to tray ceilings. 

It is easy to incorporate wood in the tray ceilings center or along the perimeter but never on the tray ceiling’s entirety.

If you want to present that total distressed, farmhouse look, here is an idea which makes use of washed cedar wood for the entire tray ceiling. 

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Source: The DIY Mommy

This one here is another case of an all-wood tray ceiling but with crafty, X-shaped, exposed beams to give it a standout look.

The raw look of this oakwood and the distressed, white center complements the white walls very well.

Overall, the balance of neutrals here is very strong, giving it a traditional farmhouse master’s bedroom look. 

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Source: White Sparrow Farm

High ceilings for master’s bedrooms accompanied by wood tray ceilings do not just give the right farmhouse vibes but also the airy, spacious feel of tropical hotel rooms.

The contrast of white walls and pinewood tray ceiling here with an angled look is so simple, yet hard to forget. 

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Kitchen tray ceiling

We love kitchen tray ceilings because it gives it a lot of upscale look. From industrial, modern to contemporary, tray ceilings in a kitchen are such an understated addition that must be done more often. 

This tray ceiling here might have taken after a more traditional style, but it is effective in framing the countertop island which literally is the focal point of this posh bar and kitchen.

The polished, titanium finish of the sunken center reflects the bust glass countertop. The wood details sure softens it but the granite tile walls keep it textured

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There is a reason why coffered and tray ceilings are often confused with one another and for good reasons.

But there is no time arguing which is better because this coffered style, multiple tray ceiling in a compelling, regal, copper color is something that would surely leave a mark to anyone who gets the opportunity to hang around in this kitchen. 

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Opting for a conventional tray ceiling which covers the entire kitchen to give it a separate look from the adjacent rooms, here is a clean, contemporary look to consider.

The white ceiling, complete with bright, recessed can lights, give a lot of unparalleled natural light. The balance is kept by the wood details and task lighting around this kitchen. 

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Tray ceiling with beams

If you feel like going for the rustic or industrial look in your living room or bedroom, the use of a tray ceiling with beams is a good call.

It keeps the tonal balance of any room and keeps it grounded and earthy. 

This bedroom here might be compact but this asymmetrical, tray ceiling with exposed beams and polished finish give it angle and neat dynamics.

In a pool of white contrasts, the tray ceiling beams are standouts. Minimalist yet luxurious is the theme of this small bedroom. 

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For a makeover in the dining room, incorporating these X-shaped exposed beams using stained oakwood in the tray ceiling might be a minimal touch, but it gives a lot of character.

If you are going for a rustic, farmhouse look for the dining room, this is a good idea to follow. 

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If you want a multi tray ceiling using wood beams to frame the perimeters and the interior squares is a classic touch.

Spreading recessed can lights in the sunken center and along the wood beams give it a balanced look. It is such a beautiful, modern coastal living room to have in your home. 

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And for a contemporary tray ceiling with beams that serves as the frame of this small dining table, here is a high ceiling look that is hard to miss.

With the addition of this modern chic, pendant light, the exposed wood beams in the tray ceiling are accentuated because one is compelled to look up and see where the pendant light is connected. 

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Dining room tray ceiling

When it comes to dining rooms and ceiling trays, the available tray ceiling ideas are virtually limitless.

Aside from bedrooms and living rooms, the dining room is another good match for tray ceilings and these ideas prove that. 

Concrete and wood are the most popular in-lays for the sunken center of a tray ceiling but if you have money to splurge, might as well go for marble tile inlays for a glaring, polished finish to keep the dining room a very sleek and luxurious look like this one. 

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For a modern rustic look in a transitional kitchen and dining area, incorporating an equally modern style reverse tray ceiling like this one is a sensational option especially if you have a high ceiling room.

It has a very edgy charm, moody and cozy at the same time. The pendant lights are also phenomenal so overall, this is such a modern look for the ages. 

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If you want to go all in with polished wood, this multi tray ceiling with a coffered look, stretching from the living room to the dining room is not just decorative but also offers a cohesive look.

This is a space that intersects modernity and Asian tones, with a lot of contrast and natural light seeping in. 

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For the traditional tray ceiling which frames the entire dining area, here is a clean look to draw inspiration from. The gray and white tones are very cool yet cozy looking.

The warmth of this industrial pendant light gives it the tonal vibe but predominantly, its bright feel makes it an elegant dining room to look at. 

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Tray ceiling with crown molding

The purpose of installing a crown molding is to give the room a seamless look by providing a meeting point for the wall and the ceiling. As such, tray ceilings are given a more incorporated, layered look with crown moldings. 

This one here gives this dining room a very angled look with those square crown moldings and octagonal tray ceiling.

The balance of the color palette and the warmth of the lighting fixture and pendant light keep it vintage looking. 

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In the same design vein, this is also the case for this oblong shaped tray ceiling with the crown moldings as its extended perimeter.

The ornate, knotted patterns around the crown moldings and the tray ceiling give this one an elegant, Victorian vibe. 

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For a molding effect in a sea of neutrals, nothing gets cooler and cozier than this bedroom here.

It sports a very angled look with the square crown moldings and double tray ceiling with an irregular square look.

The low-level ceiling and 5-light chandelier are such a fine balance to this tray ceiling idea. 

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Shiplap tray ceiling

The effect of shiplap tray ceilings transcends common associations of rustic and farmhouse design schemes.

It is versatile on its own, creating an illusion of space and bringing a lot of organic and soft tones to a space. 

You would love the polished look of this vinyl, shiplap tray ceiling in this bedroom. It frames the bed space, with the crown moldings offering a textured look for the window treatments to be hung seamlessly.

It is very suburban looking which is good if you are into simplicity and beauty design schemes. 

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For a double tray ceiling for the kitchen and adjacent dining room, trying a shiplap tray ceiling offers emphasis on each space but maintains the uniform look of the entire area.

Using neutrals for this transition room is also a fine, elegant touch along with those complementing glass walls for lots of natural light. 

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If you want to give an illusion of space and maintain the lightness and airiness of compact entryways, opting for shiplap tray ceilings gives this one a lot of texture.

The shiplap, white walls, along with some wood and herringbone central pattern is all the contrast that you need for a traditional farmhouse look like this one here. 

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Basement tray ceiling ideas

If you are planning to extend your living space in the basement or to create a family den or mancave down there, going for a basement tray ceiling upscales the aesthetics of this normally bland space. 

This basement home theater is simply a head turner. Aside from the color, the black tray ceiling features a polished corner and then fades into a matte texture.

The off-white lining and warm lights give it a glistening look, apt for a luxurious home theater like this one. 

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For the ultimate man cave and game room, try having a basement tray ceiling with exposed wood beams.

This one here is asymmetrical looking since its purpose is to accentuate the entertainment and seating area. 

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Related: These Basement Ceiling Ideas Are Perfect for Your Home

Cathedral tray ceiling

This one is also known as angled or vaulted tray ceiling. They offer a lot of vintage grandeur to a home and an unparalleled sense of openness.

Here are some looks to go for if you are opting for a Cathedral tray ceiling. 

It is not that common but try having a vaulted tray ceiling in your bathroom. If you have a high enough ceiling to support it, this tray ceiling style could give a calming retreat even to a small and minimalist bathroom like this one here. 

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Bringing in that Cathedral tray ceiling into the bedroom is also an elegant way to give it a romantic charm.

The white, vaulted tray ceiling here allows the natural light to be evenly distributed around the room. As such, the room is illuminated even with those moss green walls. 

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Tray ceiling with wood planks

Wood planks on the ceiling give you a lot of homey vibes whatever the overall design of your room would be. 

This small dining room is softened and made warmer by the long wood planks at the sunken center.

The raw look of this repurposed branch chandelier also proves to be a standout piece for this space. 

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This one here offers the ultimate rustic design scheme not only with the predominance of polished and stained wood but also because of the wood plank tray ceiling panels up there.

The effect of well-spaced recessed can lights give it a bright, striking look that you would not forget. 

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Tray ceiling vs coffered ceiling 

There is a basic confusion between coffered and tray ceilings because of their aesthetic appeal.

They are traced from ancient Rome as an architectural amendment in reducing the weight and volume of stone stacks used in the columns and ceilings.

Coffered ceilings are classic architectural touches featuring sunken panels or patterns in the ceiling. They can be square, rectangular, circular or octagon grids that also offer a 3D effect like tray ceilings. 

On the other hand, tray ceilings are considered as the minimalist version of coffered ceilings.

A tray ceiling is said to be just the process of raising the edges of a ceiling to give more angle and 3D, sunken effect to a previously flat and bland ceiling.

Function wise, coffered ceilings are said to improve the room’s acoustics while tray ceilings are functional in hiding the home’s vent systems. 

Related: 38+ Best Coffered Ceiling Ideas and Designs

Tray ceiling cost 

Installing a tray ceiling is based on a lot of factors including location of your home, details incorporated in the tray ceiling, the general plan and the size of the room.

It is said that installing one would be cheaper if it is already part of the construction plan. If installed during the home’s construction, expect an average cost of $500-2000. 

In contrast, if the tray ceiling is installed way beyond the construction, the range of the cost excluding labor costs would range from $1500-3000. 

Does a tray ceiling add value to home?

Because it offers a luxurious end to a home, tray ceilings ensure 100% ROI once the home is sold. In so far as the reselling value is concerned, it is said that the percentage depends on the intricacy of the woodwork incorporated in the tray ceiling. 


As have been reiterated here, the main function of installing a tray ceiling is to give a more angled and textured effect to a previously flat ceiling.

The aesthetic value of a tray ceiling is unparalleled and compared to coffered ceilings, it is relatively cheaper.

The good news is that you can choose from a range of tray ceiling ideas out there to draw inspiration from. And with all the aesthetic value and actual property value that you get from a tray ceiling, installing one is worth the shot.