Tray Ceiling vs Coffered Ceiling – 9 Critical Points

The debate of generations is going to end today, the debate of ceiling, TRAY CEILING vs COFFERED CEILING. As the interior world is flooded with different types of ceilings, it’s hard to choose the right ceiling for your home. I am going to make you available with a design guide which includes their pros and cons and why to refrain yourself from choosing anyone, in short, you will be knowing every then and there of the product by the end of this article.

When it comes to decorating one’s home, we mostly focus on walls, floor, and also there is a gist that makes us feel this way that interior designer is meant to focus on such things, but the most overlooked part is the ceiling. 

We either make it well painted or either some lights are attached, but designing is more than that, and when given proper attention, ceilings can also become the attractive point or can say the dear part of a room too.

 Let’s see what we are going to discuss in a further section.

  1. Tray Ceiling: How to identify and what is it?
  2. Pros and Cons of Tray Ceiling
  3. Coffered Ceiling: How to identify and what is it?
  4. Pros and Cons of Coffered Ceiling
  5. Variations of Tray Ceiling and Coffered Ceiling

What is Tray Ceiling ?

Tray Ceiling vs Coffered Ceiling

You might be knowing the ceilings with other names, as Recessed or inverted ceiling due to the built. As the construction is somewhat built in the center of the ceiling and is built a little higher than the surface of the ceiling, which gives an illusion of a tray, but upside down.

Often it is seen that the ceiling contour the room’s roof- square rooms having square tray ceilings and rectangular tray ceilings are embellished within the rectangular roof.

There is no hard and fast rule, that it will go this way only, it can take any shape you want to match your aesthetics, I have seen an oval ceiling to contour a rectangle roof too. So it just depends on the creativity of oneself.

Tray ceiling designs are known to be flexible, they can be fully customized, height and the inner carved part is also not fixed, it can be customized to suit yourself,

The design is mainly dependent on the height of the room, generally, in most cases, the central dome or structure is at least seven to eight feet higher than the whole perimeter of the roof.

Tray ceiling increases the roof’s visuality and makes it more apple to the eye, adds unique style, and adds more aesthetics to the room. Also if there is a vent system, it is perfect to hide the same, not just vent it can hide wires, plumbing mistakes, or any irregularities on the roof. It also makes it a little compact that’s why it is suggested while installing to have at least a minimum height of eight feet.

Tray Ceiling Pros & Cons

There are pros and cons too of anything, what we expect is just a balance of both.

Tray Ceiling Pros & Cons


Creates an Illusion of a larger space – Tray ceiling creates the illusion of a larger space because of extra space created by the center carving after center filling offering a vivacious space that looks large compared to roofs with not a tray ceiling.

Customizable: It is very easy and doable to customize the tray ceilings, normally it is done by installing planks and after that creating other patterns such as Shiplap ceiling design or tongue-and-groove planks ceiling patterns.

After adding planks many other designs other than these two patterns can be added as well. It is not only restricted to it.

Can use unique light fixtures: When attaching tray ceiling, many components come along with it, as ceiling lighting schemes, and it allows designer and owner to have a different combination with different lights, techniques and can customize according to the mood.

Creates an elegant feel – Tray ceiling has a special power to transform any boring ceiling, with a ceiling with three-dimensional effect to the room, the room gets a makeover and the look is transformed.


A drop-down border is needed: – without a drop-down border, the Tray ceiling is incomplete. As the drop-down border is not completed without the recessed tray.

So it would not be suitable for a room with less height of the ceiling, as the dropdown border will decrease the height resulting in making the room smaller and can also result in looking smaller.

The kitchen can be compact: In the Kitchen, ventilation must be there always and air must be flowing always. So eventually it needs space but due to the tray ceiling, the drop-down border can make it compact and will make less space available for cabinets which will lead to making it look small and space will be reduced which is not advisable.

Cleaning is tough: Since the ceilings will be having a lot more projections and carvings, and also will have distinct heights, painting and cleaning can be tedious and are going to require extra maintenance.

What is Coffered Ceiling ?

What is Coffered Ceiling ?

Coffered ceilings are the most classic detailed architecture, which consists of multiple segments, it could be rectangular, square, or octagon grids in three-dimension panels, which will be recessed with some height.

The word “Coffer” means indentation, so we can conclude that when we are saying coffered ceiling it will be a pattern of indented patterns, including the interior surfaces. Because of widely used square boxes for Coffered ceilings, it is also called box beam ceilings.

Since the renaissance, this structural detail is popular and signifies dignity and formality.  People also know this as Caisson ceiling which basically means cross-beamed ceilings.

Astray, coffered ceilings also create an illusion of height, It constructively hides various ceiling imperfections and disguises the architectural faults. It can also disguise exposed beams or any structural rectifications needed can be hidden by the design which is needed.

A simple pattern of a coffered ceiling can be easily designed by crisscrossing beams which will be creating a geometric pattern that will be either square or rectangle. A coffered ceiling can create an illusion to make it look larger.

Back in past, traditionally coffered ceilings were being made of wood, nowadays there are many options to make coffered ceilings as metals, concrete. Even there are some engineered materials too.

According to the height of the ceiling, if height is over 8 feet and 6 inches of height then the crown must be measured as 4 and 5/8 inches. Those ceilings which are at least height of 8 inches must be using a 3 and ½ inch crown.

According to needs, the best height which can be coffered should have a minimum of 9 to 10 feet for best results. Considering depth, width and appearance are important while constructing ceilings, mainly coffered.

The depth could be anywhere between 1.75 inches to 3.5 inches, and the width measures 4.5 to 8.5 inches and a length of 3 inches to 5 inches. If you want to love the result after designing coffered ceilings, it would be very important to take care of the dimensions to achieve what you wish for.

There are many which are used for designing coffered ceilings, but few forms are common as square, circle, cross, or diamond.

Pros and Cons of Coffered Ceiling

Pros and Cons of Coffered Ceiling


Creates an Illusion: Due to indentations carved on the ceiling, it can make the room look spacious and bigger. Adds attractive designs changing its appearance: Adding a coffered ceiling can make them vivacious and can give them a decorative design pattern.

Customizable: The panels are customizable and can have a customized design, wallpaper, or even the paint of your choice.

Reduces sound and echoes: Due to the pattern it forms, it also helps in reducing the sound and can absorb and eliminate the echoes. For acoustics, they are going to be the best choice ever.

Increase home values- Coffered ceiling eventually increases home value by a definite amount while reselling.


Expensive: Coffered ceilings, stands out beautifully for obvious reasons but also they are expensive, even for a basic design to install, you must have professional installers who is having advance carpentry skills. More extensive patterns can cost you higher.

Requires ceiling of certain height: Coffered ceiling requires ceilings with the height it can take up some space and will not touch the head. Needs more support: For the structures to stand forever, they may need extra support as beams to prevent the ceiling for being collapsed.

The low ceiling can look untidy: even it makes a room bigger, with low ceilings it can make the room look even smaller and untidy.

Difference Between Tray Ceiling vs Coffered Ceiling

Difference Between Tray Ceiling vs Coffered Ceiling

Looking at their features, both tray ceilings and coffered ceilings are having similar designs, similar elements, included similar recession even. Both ceiling treatment provides dimension and depth to a room. No wonder they have the same attributes while lightning and scaling.

Even while they have numerous similar configurations, still they have variations that we will be seeing. Coffered ceilings are supported by a series of beams that are dropped to create all the geometrical grids as rectangular, square, hexagons, octagons, and many more.

Usually, we can see coffered ceilings with two primary design, which are crossed beam patterns and the other one is infill panels that extends over between the beams. On the other hand, the Tray ceiling is made up of a single raise followed by the drop-down border which follows around the perimeter of the room.

Usually, the shape which is seen in the roof reflects the tray ceiling but there could be other shapes included also. A coffered ceiling gives the effect of the space looking more intense while a tray ceiling creates an illusion of the room as larger, spacious, and vivacious architecture.

There are enormous numbers of materials to be chosen from the coffered ceiling but for tray ceilings, they are started with wrapping them in drywall and plaster, giving a finishing touch with a crown molding.

A coffered ceiling can have multiple options as well as customizations but in a tray ceiling, there are limited options. With a coffered ceiling, it comes with a wide range of options to choose from.

Talking about the cost it doesn’t differ much as the only difference which will be taking place is the materials used and the design embedded, and of course, the professionals hired for the work.


Are Tray Ceilings More Expensive?

The answer is ” NO”. Genrally, tray ceiling will cost you around 1500$. According to the information that we got from various home improvement service providers, tray ceiling is significantly costs lower when you install during the period of construstucting your home.

What is the Purpose of a Tray Ceiling ?

Tray ceiling is defined as inverted ceiling or recessed ceiling. It has a center part which is in servral inches greater than the areas around the living room. This tray ceiling design gives the customer to paint various color designs on the trim which makes your living room from a bland ceiling to eye catching looks.

Also read :

Ceiling Fan vs Standing Fan

Ac vs Dc Motor Ceiling Fan – 7 Critical Points

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