What A Homeowner Should Know About Tray Ceilings

April 29, 2013

Tray ceilings are a feature that looks good and helps to make a room appear more spacious than it actually is. By painting the “tray” part of the ceiling a lighter color than the rest of the ceiling, you can also brighten up a room that may not get a lot of natural lighting. These ceilings are particularly ideal for the living room, dining room, bedroom, and even a hallway. They can also be a good option for the kitchen. Here’s what a homeowner should know about tray ceilings:

What are the Options?

A tray ceiling can be either recessed or inverted. A recessed tray ceiling works from the outer edges of the room, meaning that the highest part of the ceiling will be located in the center of the room. Inverted ceilings work in the opposite manner. Instead of making a room appear larger and more spacious, inverted ceilings are made to put an emphasis on ornamental decorative objects.

Both recessed and inverted tray ceilings use crown molding to create both depth and height. A home builder making a custom home can use various faces and finishes to emphasize various levels of the ceiling. 

Lighting Options for Tray Ceilings

Choosing the right lighting will help to beautify the new ceiling.  Chandeliers, rope lighting, and pendant lights are some of the most popular options for a tray ceiling.


A low-hanging chandelier is an ideal option for a recessed ceiling. The fact that the highest part of the ceiling is located in the center of the room enables a homeowner to install a larger, more decorative chandelier than would have otherwise been possible. 

Rope Lighting

Rope lighting consists of a resin tube with various small lights and is one of the most popular features for homes with tray ceilings. The crown molding on the ceiling conceals the light fixtures, thus emphasizing the ceiling itself and giving a room a soft, romantic glow. This type of lighting comes in various colors and is easy to purchase and install.

While this form of lighting is not sufficient to brighten up a room for regular use, it is ideal for parties, evening events, or a romantic time with your significant other. Rope lighting can be installed on any tray ceiling and is commonly used in the bedroom, living room, dining room and even kitchen. 

Pendant Lighting

Pendant lighting refers to a single light fixture that hangs from the ceiling. They are often implemented in multiples and hung in a straight line suspended by a chain, metal rod, or cord. They are common in kitchens and also look good with a tray ceiling. They can be used to further emphasize wall decorations or provide direct lighting to a particular area of the room.

Adding a tray ceiling is a great, yet simple, way to beautify the room. There are various style options to choose from. Once the ceiling is built, adding the right type of lighting will emphasize the ceiling or one or more decorative objects in the room. Suitable lighting will also help to provide the type of ambiance desired by the homeowner at any given time.