Many people really love the idea of beams or coffers on the ceiling.
And I don’t blame them! Who doesn’t love a ceiling that reflects some style or pattern, or a ceiling that dances with the rest of the room!
Unfortunately, it’s not always feasible. And these are the factors you need to consider when exploring this type of ceiling treatment:
1. Beams and coffers need height
Some years ago, I had a new home construction project where the homeowners wanted such a ceiling. However, they had only planned 9’ ceiling heights in all the downstairs. So, to get the depth of the beams that was necessary in order to make the statement they desired, those ceilings should have been much higher. Adding beams or coffers to a 9’ ceiling height would just bring that ceiling down into the space and feel heavy and oppressive. Besides, coffers can feel especially heavy. Sure, they are lovely, but they need a tall space to be properly appreciated. In this instance, I encouraged them to look at some kind of flat, or a slightly-raised effect, simply because the height wasn’t there to do the job they originally wanted.
2. Working with the walls
When a space is designed with beams or coffers, consideration of the wall elevations needs to occur. As you can see in the photos below, the beams/coffers align with the fireplaces, doors/windows, etc. Many times, beams serve to marry one side of the room with the other, and the beams have to die into the wall, that is unless a furr down or lowered section of the ceiling spans the perimeter of the room. So... a beam that hits the wall on one side of the space will hit the wall on the opposite side, and consideration needs to be taken for how that will look on the wall elevations. This can also affect room layout, window, door locations, etc. That’s why it can be difficult to add beams and coffers in a remodel where openings, and such, are already existing and may not line up across the room.
While ceiling treatments are a wonderful addition to any space, they cost money. In many instances, it’s like putting up paneling on the ceiling, and that can be quite costly. If you’re working with a budget that needs to stretch, these treatments are likely to be icing on the cake.