A TRAY CEILING with wooden beams can add interest to a small room.
A TRAY CEILING with wooden beams can add interest to a small room.

With all this talk about raising the debt ceiling, have you ever looked up and thought “What could I do differently to change the height or look of my home’s ceilings?”.

Typically our roof shape dictates what our ceiling design will be.

In older Bermuda homes or cottages most ceilings were flat and constructed to the underside of the roof collar ties or a tray ceiling was created if the pitch of the roof was high enough.

A high tray ceiling allows for better air flow and a feeling of spaciousness where most flat ceilings
do not.

Like many old homes which have been added on to I have a combination of both types.

While I would love to bring my flat ceilings down and reconstruct, they are built with plaster and lathe and are at nine feet high so I dress them up with crown moulding and leave
them be.

When designing your home or renovating consider your ceiling type first. This will be a large contributor to the overall architectural design.

Think inside the box before you make final decisions outside the box.

Vaulted ceilings can also add an “old worldly feel”, with batten boards, possibly in a special room, study or bathroom.

Exposing rafters also provide warmth and require some additional design prior to construction. Pickling all the wood in advance or staining them darker is something that should be decided prior to purchasing the lumber.

Cedar or other wood species are often considered in areas where wood rafters are exposed and lumber is many times finished versus rough.

There are numerous ceiling types to consider.

There are flat ceilings that can be decorated with wood tiles or mouldings. There are tray ceilings which can be either full four sided trays or half trays where only the two longer sides have trays leaving tall walls at either end.

Lovely when wanting to add height in smaller rooms. You can raise the collar tie heights to allow for higher tray ceilings and so on.

Raise the roof

Bermuda slate, which was the norm for roof construction, is being replaced rapidly with lighter SKB roof types and exposing slate under an exposed rafter design is replaced with cement board which needs to
be painted.

You can still achieve a special Bermudian feel in a newer home but extra care in the interior design elements should be addressed in advance.

If your tray ceiling is not as high as you would like there are tips on raising the feel of a ceiling.

Using the wall colour, paint up the tray to the flat of the ceiling, the flat portion is the only part to be painted white.

Visually the ceiling seems higher and in older homes where there isn’t a straight line at the start of the tray, allows your eye to continue and disregard the ceiling shape all together.

For high flat ceilings, paint the ceiling colour about 18in down the wall and add a picture rail. Not only does this provide visual interest it gives you a lovely vintage picture hanging system.

So the next time you look up, picture ways in which you can change your home by “raising the ceiling”.

Michele Smith is the managing director of OBMI Bermuda. Contact 278-3550.