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Ceiling Treatments Add Dimension and Character to Your Home

Architectural ceiling treatments are becoming more popular as homeowners look for unique and creative ways to enhance the look and design of their home's interior. New materials such as faux wood, urethane millwork, PVC trim and plaster are eco-friendly, lightweight, affordable and very versatile, so you can easily dress up any room in your new home.

This gorgeous two-story French Country home features rich plaster walls, which are highly durable, fire-retardant and resistant to mold. Because of their ability to retain and release heat more efficiently than traditional sheetrock you can enjoy total home comfort. Accenting these beautiful walls are faux wood beams.

Solid wood beams are typically reserved for use in rustic constructions such as log cabins, Craftsman and ranch-style homes because they are too heavy and bulky to be used on traditional drywall ceilings. Today beams are available in faux wood, which is made of molded fire-retardant foam that is lightweight, versatile and stylish to complement any home décor. Virtually indistinguishable from real wood, faux wood beams offer unlimited design possibilities for new construction or remodeling projects.

Coffered ceilings add height, space and drama to any room. They are one of the most beautiful and expensive ceiling treatments available. Typically, your builder works from a detailed house plan to install a coffered ceiling. Solid or hollow hardwood beams combine with moulding to form a grid, and the ceiling itself is left untouched, painted or paneled. An affordable way to achieve the same deep box-like effect is to use lightweight foam beams or timbers that can be attached to the ceiling with small nails and adhesives. For rooms with a low ceiling, you can create a modified-coffered look by using flat boards instead of beams.

The Olmstead house plan is perfect for entertaining. The great room is stunning with custom coffered ceilings, a row of columns, rich hardwood floors and fireplace.

Tray ceilings have become very popular for dining rooms and master bedrooms. They add height to rooms with standard ceilings and create architectural interest for little cost. Tray ceilings are constructed of regular drywall. The center portion of the ceiling is raised about 12 inches higher than the border area that meets the walls. The width of this border (typically 18 inches wide) and the size of the raised or recessed area depend on the size of the room and personal style. For a more elegant design you can add crown molding around the center section. If the tray ceiling is in your dining room, consider adding a faux plaster medallion around a chandelier.

An easy way to create a custom look on a modest budget is to stack mouldings. The standard width is five inches, but by combining different profiles you can create the effect of a single piece of wood several inches wider. You can add more drama by casting light onto the ceiling by hiding cove lighting behind the moulding.

Another affordable way to design your ceiling is to add a faux (false) finish, which is a treatment that imitates a particular material like brick, metal and leather.

Dropped ceilings, also known as suspended and false ceilings, are secondary panels or structures that hang below the main ceiling. To create a unique, contemporary look many designers use panels of varying sizes and shapes and suspend them at various heights. These additional layers add depth to the space and produce a stunning look. For a more conservative look, you can use symmetrically shaped panels and hang them at uniform heights.

Design Tip
Glass cloth is a textile comprised of woven glass fibers. It comes in a variety of different colors and gives ceilings a dimensional, textured quality that standard paints and wallpapers cannot achieve. It's a great insulator, absorbs sound and is made from recycled materials. Using sheets of the fabric on your ceilings — either directly or on dropped ceiling panels — is the latest trend for creating modern ceilings and a contemporary atmosphere.