Vaulted Ceiling Options

After my forced two-week DIY project hiatus, I’m finally getting back into the swing of things. I finally finished my entryway credenza (which you can see here if you missed it), and today I’ll be working on some artwork to go over the credenza. And while I’m determined to make progress on my official 2017 to-do list, I’ll admit that I’d love to be working on my studio instead.

The problem is that the next step is electrical. And while I have my plan in place (with just a couple of tweaks needed that y’all brought to my attention), I’m not quite up for crawling through the attic just yet. I need to give it at least another week before I tackle that. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming and planning!

I think I’m still leaning towards very light lavender walls, but of course, that’s subject to change without prior notification. 🙂 And I want to stick with white for the ceiling to keep the room light and bright. This wall color is pretty much perfection in my humble opinion.

But in my planning, it dawned on me that for the first time in my life, I have a room with a room with a vaulted ceiling. I’ve only ever lived in houses and apartments with 8-foot ceilings until now. And painting walls and ceilings different colors in rooms with vaulted ceilings isn’t quite so cut and dried. Where does the wall color end and the ceiling color begin on the gable walls?

It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the two options really do look drastically different (at least to my eye), and I’m not quite sure which one I like better.

The first option is to paint the wall color all the way up on the gable walls.

What I’ve noticed about that option is that I really like it when the ceiling is something special, architectural, and textural, like in the first two pictures. But when the ceiling is just flat, plain white, like in the second picture (imagine it without the cross beams), the wall color going all the way up looks strange to me. And I have no idea why. I can’t put my finger on it.

The other option is to install crown molding all the way around the room at the 8-foot mark, and keep the wall color below and the ceiling color above, even on the gable walls.

I think I might like this option better, but that could just be my lazy side dictating my decision. 😀 Installing crown molding evenly around the room is doable. Frustrating, and one of my least favorite DIY tasks ever, but doable. But installing crown molding on a vaulted ceiling is something I can’t even wrap my head around, and would have to hire out.

But I really do like the idea of having crown molding around the room at the 8-foot height, and then putting rope lights inside the crown for uplighting on the ceiling.

Any thoughts? If you have vaulted ceilings, how did you do yours? Did you paint the wall color all the way up, or use crown installed horizontally and paint the wall color above and the wall color below?

I’m also having a hard time finding examples of each option that just have plain, drywalled, white ceilings. So if you come across any of those, feel free to forward them to me. 🙂



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. You lost me at lavender!!! But that’s just me! You’ll do a great job whatever design you choose . . . I know that 🙂

  2. We had white vaulted ceilings in our previous house and it was painted up to where the ceiling started. It never occurred to me that there were any other options, lol. One thing I did notice with it painted that way was that I felt like I needed to decorate higher up with the tall walls painted and I found that challenging. I like the idea of crown molding at eight or even nine feet to visually put an stop to the area that is decorate-able (totally not a word, lol.)

    1. But now that I look at it, all of the photos with the crown molding have a wood treatment above it and on the ceiling. Not sure how that would look with just drywall, maybe a bit flat?

  3. Your post on the electrical was so interesting and well developed, and I’m sure this will all come together in an amazing way.
    I didn’t have time to post a comment on the electrical but when you plan the electrical for the inside have you thought about outlets on the exterior. When we moved into our home built in 1995 we added outlets inside our garage and on the exterior. The extra exterior outlets have been used frequently.

  4. I have a vaulted ceiling in our living room and the wall color stops where the ceiling begins and I’m very happy with how it looks.

    1. I think, nope, because rope lights are like Christmas lights and only have a certain life span. IMHO. There may be more permenant alturnative, but that is my idea.
      I like the picture with the bead-board above the molding, myself, either white or your lavender, But it might like a small trim board [1X4, 1X3] at the ceiling. Those wood ceilings are just my style, may be why I like it!

  5. LOVE the lavender for sure!
    How tall is your vault at the tallest point? I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to go up to the ceiling. If you break it up you break your gaze and all that trouble you went through is – well, it’s not lost but it’s not maximized. But I do love beams and board and batten ceiling for sure. Lavender walls and a white board and batten ceiling?

    1. I was thinking the same thing. The beauty of a vaulted ceiling is the grandeur and height. Adding crown molding breaks the eye, so your work is lost.

  6. I’m so happy for you! Rarely do you see “showcase “homes or beautiful rooms on Houzz with 8 foot ceilings. My husband and I have had 10 foot ceilings and vaulted higher. We recently bought a farm and the house that came with it has only 8 foot ceilings and we are really disliking that. The roof is made with some sort of uncuttable trusses. So if anyone has some advice short of removing the current roof, raising the walls and installing a new roof system I would be grateful.

  7. I’ve never thought of the crown molding method. It’s kind of nice, but I honestly could go with either one. I think without the crown is a bit simpler and less formal, which for some reason seems more appropriate to me for an office/workspace/studio (no actual reasoning here…just a feeling).

    1. As Justin says, this is going to be a workshop/office for you…..and there are going to be built-in cabinets/bookcases and desk all around the room so the walls are going to be busy enough without adding crown around the top as well. I think the simpler treatment of painting the wall up to the gable peak will add calmness to your workspace……and more of your beautiful lavender paint color 🙂 If you want the rope up-light, add them to the top of your built-ins 🙂

  8. The living room in my house has a vaulted ceiling, and I just recently repainted. The previous owners installed crown molding using the decorative corner pieces (i assume to make installation easier). When we first moved in a year ago, I wasn’t wild about the corner pieces. They’ve grown on me, and I think they add a little extra something to the otherwise standard crown. I’m sure whatever you do will be amazing!

  9. I’ve lived in homes that had vaulted ceilings and most often If there’s any crown, it’s just at the horizontal not up the gable. Whenever crown was used as a set perimeter it gave a heavier formal feeling like your picture molding did. Molding definitely will create a defined line and give the room a different feel. Have you thought of a wide shelf on the wall for your office? You could decorate it like a mantle. The lighting on molding is great, just power it with a hidden plug that is operated with a switch so you could change it over time.
    I got a vaulted living room and regular dining next to each other. I hung some vintage movie posters at the same height along the same sight-line/wall in both rooms. I got unexpected complements from a friend. The complement was that, it was visually refreshing than he thought, he’d just moved in to awkward bachelor pad/house he’s sharing. Just having larger pictures vs little frames was enough, I had pointed out the blank wall portion but, thinks it no big deal since there is nothing to draw your eye away. I will note we are going for some more contemporary/minimal (but with storage) style, than traditional style.

  10. Hi Kristi,
    Where I live high vaulted ceilings are the norm for houses built since the 1980s. Here with vaulted ceilings, it is the norm to paint the walls all the way up to the vaulted ceiling. Crown molding if installed is also installed on the wall all the way up along the vaulted ceiling line. Here high vaulted ceilings are highly valued and drawing attention up to them to highlight the desirable feature is what is done. In my opinion, paint the walls all the way up to the vaulted ceilings. If you decide to add crown molding run it along the wall where it meets the ceiling and then paint the walls up to the crown molding. Another option that is beautiful too is to instead paint the walls up to the lowest portion of the ceiling all the way around the room and then use a different material on the walls above the paint up to the vaulted ceiling line. Exactly as pictured in your photos where wood planks were installed on the walls above the 8′ line up to the vaulted ceilings. This creates a special feature and also draws attention to the desirable vaulted ceiling feature. Loving your new workshop space! 🙂

  11. I have vaulted ceilings and I painted walls and ceiling the same color throughout. It seemed right thing to do….makes room feel “complete” without having that delineation between ceiling and wall

  12. I thought I had an answer but went back to your photo of the studio to envision it and now I’m in the same boat as you. Can you do a mock up? I love the lavendar!!! I’ve seen some decorating shows where they’ve painted walls and ceiling the same color but maybe that’s passe’.

  13. I have tongue in groove paneling painted to the top of my peak without trim at the top. I do have the same on my ceiling in between the beams. I wouldn’t like the trim at 8′ drawing my eye down personally.

  14. Don’t put crown at 8 feet high if you have never lived with higher ceilings, you mostly likely will love your vaulted ceiling once you actually move in. I highly recommend you prime and then live in the studio for a while before making a decision. I had vaulted ceilings for about 10 years with the expected white ceiling. When it came time to repaint we painted the walls and ceilings the same color and it was magic!

  15. As others have said, I also used to have vaulted ceilings without any architectural detail, and we just painted all the way up. We never thought it looked odd at all. Just like a room with tall ceilings. 🙂

    In my opinion, with as many other projects as you are wanting to devote both time and money to (and how time-consuming molding can be in a room that huge!), putting crown molding in a WORKROOM would not be anywhere near the top of my priority list. I would lean towards just painting it and living with it like that, and if it bugs you after you have spent time in that room put up some molding after you have tackled some of your other projects. Like you said, it isn’t a project you tend to enjoy and it takes quite a bit of time.

  16. I wonder if your misgivings about painting the wall color up the gable to the ceiling — see especially the 3rd photo by celia welch — has to do with there not being much contrast between wall and ceiling. In the photos with crown all around at 8 feet or so, there is not much contrast between wall and ceiling either, but the molding provides some visual interest. However, the molding also keeps your eye low. I think if there is contrast between wall and ceiling, you will like it. Now, to throw in another wrinkle – have you thought about a darker ceiling???

  17. This is not particularly helpful, I admit, but the reason for a vaulted ceiling is to create drama in a room. Painting it completely white (beams included) as in picture 5 erases much of its interesting detail. IMHO. A white vaulted ceiling needs, at least, wooden beams left natural, stained or clear coated.

  18. If it were me, since your ceiling will be drywalled, I would treat it like any other room – paint the walls to the ceiling in lavender, and the ceiling white. Not sure I would do crown, but if you wanted to uplight the ceiling, maybe do a more simple narrow box or 2×6 mounted horizontally along the wall/ceiling line and add the lights on top. ( Will that be hardwired? We had outlets installed on a plant shelf and above cabinets so I could uplight if I wanted.) Does that make sense? In other words, a more simplified version of crown. If you had exposed beams or windows in the peak, highlighting the ceiling makes sense, but just plain drywall doesn’t require drama. LOVE that paint color though!!!

    1. I was just typing the same thing. The last photos looks flat. You could still do the lighting if you built out a channel to install the lighting behind. Something like a three piece molding profile..make sense?🙃 I know you hate crown, it can be a pain. Fine Homebuilding magazine ( my favorite) has some great tips. I think you have made the task impossible in your head😝 Maybe your half bath would be a good small space to practice again. Wipe your brain clean, like you have never attempted it before, take a deep breath and tackle it like we know you can!

  19. Absolutely LOVE LOVE the lavendar! This is your studio/office. If I were doing this, I’d just paint it all the same and leave the crown off. Crown at 8′ seems to me to defeat the purpose. But that’s just me 😉 I know your final decision will end up beautiful as usual.

  20. Like everyone, I love the lavender. When I search for “paint scheme vaulted ceiling”or “crown molding vaulted ceiling” and look at the pictures, I really like the ones where the crown molding follows the line of the ceiling so that the two ends are painted the wall color all the way up. It gives an open feel that having all the molding at 8 feet doesn’t. I like the last photo with it around at the 8 or 9 foot mark but the dormer window opens the ceiling space up there and keeps it light and airy.

  21. This is a little off topic but I had this idea when you posted the first photo of the finished framing of your floor joists in the studio. Then watching a episode of tiny house, I saw it in action! A mechanism that lifts a table out of the floor😃 It could give you a lot more wall storage space. The floor would be the actual top and the mechanism would fit in between the joists, and lift up when needed. A little out there, but possible. Throw a rug over the ” cut out seams” and you would never know it’s there, until you needed it! Could be costly, I don’t know, but a cool space saving idea.

  22. Once you put your tall storage cabinets against the walls you will lose the sense of volume of the tall ceiling. I would not put any molding at the eight-foot level because it will start to look congested.
    The lavender color is great.

  23. To me, the purpose of a vaulted ceiling is to bring your eye upward. It makes the room appear larger, and if you stop the wall at 8 foot with crown molding–you just as well have only 8 foot ceilings. I’m not sure how tall your ceiling is at the highest peak. The pictures you shared all looked at about 18-20 foot high. I don’t imagine yours are that high. I just question filling the room with an overpowering ceiling. I love the lavender colored walls, and think they should go all the way to the ceiling.

  24. We have vaulted ceilings in a couple of our rooms and they are all painted to the ceiling. Our living room is a dark gray with natural pine board ceiling. Our bedroom is an even darker gray with a white ceiling and our sun room, while it has ship lap walls, is still painted white all the way to the ceiling which is also white. So a little different in each room but I do like them all. But I also like the pictures you posted as well. Whatever you decide it’s going to be great because everything you do is great!

  25. Two thoughts: Definitely the light grayish lavender. That color is said to stimulate creativity, and when I wrote one of my books, I sat in my then-dining room painted that color at all hours and drafted it in two weeks. So I guess it does what it is said to do. The other thing is here in my current home, I have some ceilings with odd gables and vaults here and there, and since none of them have interesting architectural features like beams or millwork, I found that painting the ceiling and the walls all the same color to be a better option. The different planes reflect the light in different ways, and I find that they often look like a lighter shade than the walls even though they are the same. When I bought the house, one rather large room had dark red walls and a white ceiling, and I cannot tell you how ungodly this looked, like a jagged line on a graph chart or something.

  26. Kristi, I am surprised at you! I totally think you can do the crown moldings yourself. I don’t think it would be that different than doing a regular room. The rope lighting sounds like a great idea.

  27. I have 2 ?s/comments:
    Why when I click on “Pin this” does it go to Pinterest and then say “this site does not allow Pinterest”?

    Don’t have an opinion about love or hate lavender but will offer opinion about it with light. Last year my daughter turned upstairs into a suite, repainted. I was agreeable to her color choice as long as it was from the neutrals. Now that she has moved out, am reclaiming the space, I have discovered that her “neutrals” had a touch lavender/mauve to them. Learned that they really have a different feel/change in daylight, evening/artificial light. This has been interesting as I have moved my furniture in (their finishes, some that are painted others stained), fabrics, etc. Some look great, others not so much. Daughter’s furniture was clear/blonde oak from 1950 that looked great. It just didn’t occur to me that there would be so much change in different lighting, with different finishes. Naive perhaps. Don’t recall what you are putting with your paint in finishes but wonder if lavenders are always that way, how that could play into your decor. You are so experienced you probably have such a handle on colors, lighting, finishes. Just throwing it out there.

  28. Our living room is vaulted and we painted wall colour on the wall and kept the ceiling white. This emphasizes the volume of the space in my opinion. May I suggest adding white to the lavender to make a lighter colour for the ceiling?
    If you add crown moulding I feel it will be visually busy and “stop” your eye which negates the voluminous space. I think the rope lights would give a wonderful effect in a dining room or hall. As you will have a lot of visual interest with all the cabinets etc. on the walls it may be too busy.
    Looking forward to your decision, as always!

  29. Why would you have a vaulted ceiling and then try to drag it down and camouflage it with 8′ crown?

    Girl, celebrate that ceiling! Put the lavender wall paint all the way up…up…up. It will make the white ceiling shine!

    May I suggest a lavender color called “lilac vapor?” It’s lighter, brighter, and far less grey that the color shown above. It makes my sewing room (with a common, 8′ ceiling) sing!

    You have a super special room. Give it the super special treatment. 🙂 Oh, and don’t use “ceiling” paint. Pick a good quality wall paint in the sheen you love, a true bright white and you’ll love it.

  30. I think the first two pictures look great in part because there is crown molding where the ceiling begins and the same paint color all the way up to that point. the picture that doesn’t have the crown molding looks off.

  31. In the perfection photo, I noticed that the lower half of the wall is white, as well as the mirrored closet door, which leaves a sandwich filling of lavender. Will your shelves, bookcases, cabinets, etc. be white giving you proportionally the same balance as that room? Also, if you choose a lavender that is a tint, instead of a tone, or shade, you could paint your ceiling in a coordinated tint color other than white, and still have a light reflecting ceiling.

  32. I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments, so this may have been mentioned. But have you considered not using crown molding and just using a 2×4 in it’s place to make the break between the wall and the ceiling? I think that would look great with the beams in the ceiling.

    If you decide to put molding of whatever kind, I personally think it would look better to paint the ceiling color above and the wall color below. If you don’t do molding, and if it were my house, I would go up on the high walls with wall color. Otherwise, you will have a “break” of color in the middle of your wall. Unless I am totally misunderstanding your dilemma… which is definitely possible!

    Whatever you decide, it will look awesome, as does everything you do! I’m always so impressed!

  33. You will love your vaulted ceiling and it is a fabulous chance to do something a little different. I have several vaulted and high tray ceilings in my home and love to use a treatment other than white. For instance, several times I have used a darker tone of the wall color on my ceiling and its one of my favorite styles. No, it doesn’t make the room darker as you would expect. With a higher ceiling, I have never had it affect the light nor does it make the ceiling appear lower. Besides, you can decide just how many shades darker you want. It’s a great time for color samples and poster board size samples because, given it’s above you and the planes are quite different from the walls, it’s amazing how the color can change. The boards are my way of not having to repaint (but then, hubby says we could cover at least a couple of the rooms of our home with all the color samples I have done throughout the years. lol) It has saved my lots of money and time though. I have this thing about not having white ceilings, especially if I am using a medium to darker color on the walls. It can actually make a ceiling look lower because your eye goes up the wall, then BANG!, come to a halt when it hits the drastic color change. I do seem to like more saturated colors, though not necessarily dark colors, and in my rooms with 8 ft. or 9 ft. ceilings I sometime use the same or a lighter color for the ceiling to avoid that same abrupt contrast and give the ceiling the feeling of being higher. And, it doesn’t have to necessarily be on all the ceiling. I love the wood ceilings in some of your photos. But sometimes that isn’t economically feasible since the material is an added cost and, for some of us who can no longer DIY, labor isn’t cheap. A painted ceiling doesn’t really add much cost at all.

  34. FYI.. I just painted my guest room a gorgeous light lavender – Gossamer Silk by Sherwin Williams. Very soothing soft color.

    I love the idea of the crown molding at 8 feet with the lighting. Fascinating to watch all the things you have to decide on. You are doing a great job!

  35. Vaulted ceilings are very common in my city . I have never seen anything but paint up to the ceiling, I hate boards, beams etc., unless it was a mountain cabin.

    The only drawback is that I myself will not go up on a ladder to paint 16 feet up!

  36. I so envy you your vaulted ceiling that even the idea of putting crown molding at the 8ft. height almost makes me cry. To me, that feels like trying to camouflage the fact that the ceiling is so high. Personally, I’d never dream of doing it. Also, considering the use of the room, crown molding just feels like overkill. But of course, you might end up loving it and you should do whatever makes you happiest.

  37. I have 14″ ceilings in my living and dining rooms. Painting and upkeep is a large pain. Working over your head on a scaffold to paint the ceiling is going to be tough with your new shoulder problems. Next time I have to update the rooms, I’m having some kind of wood that I won’t have to maintain.
    Are you considering a vaulted ceiling for your living room yet?

  38. We have vaulted ceilings in our living room and have a creamy yellow walls and ceiling with faux wood beams. This room gets little light so the color is warm and adds brightness and great contrast with the beams. Our outdoor porch is vaulted and we have brick walls and the whole ceiling and beams are white with two brown fans as only contrast. Gorgeous!

  39. I love the lavender color! We have a vaulted ceiling in what we call our den that we recently added on. It is a drywalled ceiling, no crown molding. We do have white ceilings, and we painted the walls “Westhighland White” from S-W. In my opinion, it looks fine, but maybe that’s because there’s not a drastic color change. In our previous house we had a vaulted ceiling with stained tongue and groove on the ceiling. Also loved that. So maybe there are many ways for it to look okay? I hope that helps!

  40. I have vaulted ceilings and had crown molding installed at 10 feet because I didn’t like the room color meeting the ceiling color either! I took several pictures for you but I don’t know how to send them to you. 🙄

  41. Are you covering the entire ceiling – ie the rafters,center beam and collar ties?

    If so, perhaps you can add decorative tie rods like shown in the link below. With or without that I’d add a deeper board around the perimeter of the room above the windows/door jams. ( ie 10″ wide if you have that much room ) . You could add crown molding to that, but not sure it would be needed. I call it a header board.. it will give you the architectural separation between the walls and ceiling. The decorative tie rods above this header board down the length of the room would provide a “classy industrial feel”. Not as boxy or heavy looking as you’d get with wood ties

    I just browsed Houzz photos by searching for “tie rods”. There are different types of ties and installations. Some attach to the rafters.. some just to the header board. Some with dry wall. Another idea is to cover your ceiling with board and batton or beadboard instead of drywall.

    1. Yes! Bingo! That is exactly what I don’t like about it when there’s a flat, solid white ceiling. It’s a W! It looks so strange to me.

  42. If I did crown molding, I would be careful to design something that was not a dust catcher. I’m thinking of doing something that shines down on the wall rather than up for that very reason.

  43. Hey Kristi
    I love the lavender idea
    One of my favorite ultralight lavenders I painted a powder room was called “royal tint” by Martha Stewart
    We have vaulted ceilings in our great room (just drywall, no moldings or wood tongue and groove)
    and I will say this
    The noise level can get pretty intense because we have wood floors as well- just something to keep in mind. I have seen canvas panels installed on the ceilings in this situation where one needed to tone down the sound that might look cool in a studio.
    Also, we have had our wall color continue right up to the ceiling and have now switched to cream all over ceiling and walls.
    I like both equally but definitely no crown mounding at the 8/10 foot line unless you will have a wood T/G ceiling.
    Maybe the wood would help with noise level too?
    I’m so excited for you to have a studio all your own
    Have you seen the magazines about the She studios called “Where women create”?
    They are full of ideas and inspiration😀

    1. I have seen that magazine! I flip through when I’m waiting in line to checkout at JoAnn Fabrics. 🙂 There’s always amazing inspiration in there — not only the rooms but the personal stories.

  44. I have a vaulted ceiling in my family room. The ceiling is stained wood planks with rough-sawn beams stained the same color. No cross beams–just a big beam along the ridge and smaller beams running perpendicular up to it. My walls are painted all the way up.

  45. When you first presented the idea of stopping the crown molding on the wall I was a bit weary, however, your inspiration photos have swayed me. I do worry that plain drywall might be boring above the crown since most of the photos have some sort of special treatment. I will say that I am not a fan of the rope lighting idea at all, I think it very easily goes tacky and could easily look dated. I’m not sure what kind of effect that would have on the lavender color as well.

  46. I like the wall color to go up the peak but be separated from the ceiling with trim like in those first two photos. I think stopping the color in the straight line across the peak stops the eye from going up (and visually enlarges the space) which is the reason to have the vaulted ceiling in the first place.

  47. I’d probably start with painting the wall up to the ceiling, then live with it a while. Your color contrast is not stark, so you may not see the “W” as much as you think. Also, your furniture, cabinets, etc. will change the overall feel. You can certainly use a large shelf/mantle to call attention to this great height you have. It would give a nod to your 8 foot walls, but not be a solid line to stop your eye. Anything with a vertical line on the shelf would continue to point the eye up (ie. tall candlesticks or pictures). Perhaps some subtle up-lighting can be installed there also.