contemporary cabin bedroom with wood ceiling

Sara Ligorria Tramp

When it comes to bringing warmth and texture to a room, paying attention to your floors and walls is important, but your ceilings—aka the crown of any room—deserve some love too. There are plenty of ways to make them shine, whether you opt for a pop of paint or wallpaper, but today we’re putting the spotlight on wood ceilings. Whether you inherited a space with preexisting wood ceilings and are wondering how to decorate in a way that brings out their best qualities, or you’re starting from scratch and want a little inspiration, these examples, ideas, and styling tips for wood ceilings will guide the way. From modern to rustic and everything in between, there’s a wood ceiling for everyone.

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Add Recessed Lighting

In this Kona coast home, designer Catherine Kwong opted for a sleek and sophisticated monochromatic color scheme, complete with elegant yet casual decor throughout. The vaulted wood ceiling suits the Hawaiian beach location well, but also feels just formal enough. Plus, it’s outfitted with plenty of overhead task lighting, which is a must in a kitchen.

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Create a Pattern

You don’t need to use wild colors and prints to create a unique and playful bathroom. Take, for example, this neutral-hued space by Leanne Ford Interiors. In lieu of a glass or curtain enclosure, the white hexagonal ceiling tiles meet the stained wood shiplap to visually separate the shower and the sink area, all the while, packing plenty of design punch.

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Add Grit With Cocrete

From the polished concrete floors to the plaster walls and wood paneled ceiling, this open plan dining room and kitchen by Tamsin Johnson is a texturally rich oasis. And the mix of raw materials with a more soft and serene color scheme along with laidback furniture strikes the ideal balance for a modern and edgy yet classic coastal escape.

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Use Slim Panels

Opt for darker, slimmer wood panels on the ceiling for a bedroom setting that feels both cozy and formal, relaxing and stimulating. Consider this timeless bedroom by interior designer Gail Davis your blueprint.

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Make It Work With Any Style

Exposed beams in this country home bedroom are brightened up by the crisp blue-and-white bedding and silver table lamp. The mix of warm and cool tones balance each other out well and prove that wood ceilings don’t have to look bohemian or rustic—they can be preppy and prim, too.

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Arrange Panels Horizontally

Installing wood panels vertically will elongate your ceiling, but if you’d rather make a room feel wider, considering arranging them horizontally. This will be especially useful in a smaller space, like a bathroom, as exemplified here. The sloped wood ceiling, mossy green cabinets, and charcoal floor tiles in this bathroom by Heidi Caillier pay homage to the Queen Anne’s surrounding Pacific North West environment.

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Embolden Beams With a Mural

In this Mediterranean-style dining room, the elaborate iron wrought door and chandelier, imposing dining table, and bold antique carpet are only surpassed in intricate beauty by the stylized ceiling of exposed beams framing a mural. Because the carpet makes such an eye-catching impression, the ceiling does a nice job of containing the space for a full jewel box effect. The thoughtful design of the space ensures a truly magical setting for intimate dining and conversation.

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Keep It Light

If you’re worried that a wood ceiling would make the room feel too dark, think again. As seen in this bedroom by Tamsin Johnson, the light wood ceiling actually grounds the bedroom, giving the light pink, beige, and cream color scheme a more inviting and finished look.

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Paint It White

Interior designer Andrew Flesher restored his historic White Plains home with bursts of fun colors, unexpected pattern play (who knew banana leaf fabric and a tight houndstooth print carpet could complement each other so nicely?), and gallons of bright white paint. Consider it proof that you don’t have to strip and replace all the the original wood surfaces to brighten and modernize a space so completely. The eclectic layering is such a nice way to honor the historic bones while marking its design forward present.

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Pair It With Color

The wood panel ceiling and green zellige tiles in this bathroom by Romanek Design Studio are both ultra-modern and totally down to earth. Aside from giving the room an invigorating yet soothing surge of energy, the wall-to-wall green tile floor means that basically everything in the room will hold up well when wet.

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Create Consistency

Emily Henderson creates visual consistency in this spacious, open environment by bringing the wood walls in the dining room into the entryway and living room—but this time, on the ceiling.

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Embrace the Architectural Quirks

This space decorated by Reath Design looks like more like a treehouse portal to a magical realm than a mere sitting room. She played up the dark, mysterious energy of the wood shiplap with a burnt orange pendant and shaggy faux fur carpet but then asserted a sense of whimsy with pink and purple gingham and floral prints. It’s also well-advised to customize a sectional that encourages conversation and enhances the architectural structure.

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Contrast With High Gloss

Designed by Matthew Ferrarini, this kitchen is smart and stylish. The folding wood pocket doors conceal the entire counter and cabinet area against the wall, but when they’re open, the glossy statement tiles add so much personality and cool off the wood materials.

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Scale It Down

A grand vaulted ceiling is always welcome, but if you want to dial down the drama to make the space feel warmer and more approachable, introduce some wood paneling. The variation in material helps bring the scale down to a more human level, as seen in this bathroom by Emily Henderson Design.

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Stay Understated

The pared back design and floor-to-ceiling windows in this living room by Romanek Design Studio allow the eye to focus on the outdoor scenery beyond. But just because it’s pared back does’t mean it’s boring—far from it, in fact. The modern, nature-inspired materials (hello, blond wood ceiling) create an understated canvas while the hanging leather chair and coffee table bring in some sculptural, playful flair.

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Mix In Modern Elements

Studio Razavi ushered this old country home in Lyon, France, into the modern era with bold, saturated colors and fresh, architectural designs. The firm chose to preserve the existing bones of the space, like the exposed beams and arches while also giving it their signature forward-thinking treatment. Modern eclectic design at its finest.

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Reflect the Outdoors

This Montauk bathroom designed by Robert McKinley Studio feels both woodsy and intimate, expansive and cosmopolitan. That’s thanks to the minimalist color palette that lets the materials do the talking and nods to the surrounding environment, like the nautical pendant lamp, long, parallel wood panels, and glossy natural stone tiles.

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Opt for Limewash

If you want to emulate the worn look of the white wood ceiling in this mod California living room designed by Leanne Ford Interiors, opt for a lime wash instead of a classic paint. The whole space, from the retro wood burning fireplace and stone hearth to the sheepskin throw, is very Flintstone-chic.

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Add a Touch of Rustic Style

Designer Dee Murphy gave her family kitchen a new life by repainting the cabinets, swapping out hardware, installing task lighting, and sprucing up the window treatments. But what really makes it feel homey and historied are the unique and handmade qualities of the surfaces, from the zellige tile backsplash to the stone tile floors and rustic wood paneled ceiling. The variation in the wood panels brings so much character.

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Strike a Balance With Soft Materials

This bunk room by Studio Razavi feelts like like a warm little mountain home cocoon, thanks to the built-in bunks that blend the ceiling and wall together so seamlessly. The plush velvet carpeting is cool in tone, picking up on the adjacent gray wall and balancing out the yellow base of the wood panels, but still brings so much tactile softness and warmth—an essential in a bedroom.

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Leave a Few Beams Paint-Free

Brighten up a bathroom by covering every surface in white paint and tiles, but keep the country chic elements alive by sparing the exposed beams and opting for a grand copper bathtub.

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