Trey Ceiling: How to Install and Decorate Overhead Design Element

Many homeowners tend to overlook the surface above their heads. If you are one of them, consider incorporating a trey ceiling into your dwelling.

When seen from below, the hidden ceiling looks like a huge upside-down trey. It features a center section that is a few inches or a foot taller than the border.

Moreover, inverted ceiling teams well with a variety of architectural styles. In addition to its versatility, it offers a focal point and dimension.

In case you are interested in a trey-shaped ceiling, take a look at our article below. Here are all the things you should know about that overhead structure.

Trey Ceiling Basics

The inverted ceiling is typically formed to follow the room’s contour with the help of a perimeter. The treys vary widely, from one inch to several feet in depth. The higher your ceiling, the deeper it can get.

If you desire a dramatic effect and a strong impression, the depth must be at least two feet. Some of you probably think that recessed ceilings have to be rectangular or square like most rooms. That’s not necessarily true.

You can install the ceiling in various shapes such as octagonal, circular, hexagonal, and oval. When it comes to constructing them, there is no rigid design rule.

The inverted ceilings are normally paired with exquisite molding, light fixtures, and contrasting colors. They fit into dining rooms, living areas, and kitchens too.

The Differences between Trey and Coffered Ceilings

Trey and coffered ceilings are two distinctive styles. However, they are usually mistaken for each other. The recessed ceiling only boasts one, bigger inverted area.

Despite that, it is equally gorgeous. This interior element also gives the room visual interest. Thus, the coffered ceiling includes multiple inverted sections that resemble a grid. It is the hallmark of the French Renaissance.

Furthermore, trey and coffered ceilings have different purposes. The latter can enhance the acoustics of the room. Conversely, an inverted ceiling is such a brilliant way to hide the vent system in historic homes. Its border helps cover the wires in modern abodes.

The Advantages of Trey Ceiling


For the dwellers of older homes, the hidden ceiling is both attractive and practical. It is used to camouflage the bulk header. Additionally, the trey ceiling can accommodate some mechanical stuff like plumbing and wiring in the drop-down edges.

It keeps the room neat. The recessed ceiling is a perfect pair for a big house. It is great at demarcating the different zones or areas of a large space.

Making Rooms Feel More Spacious

Since the center section of the trey ceiling is higher than its perimeter, it fools the eye into seeing the room is more expansive.

A Touch of Luxury

The inverted ceiling injects visual depth into any space. That’s why your room will look more elegant and glamorous at once.

Adding Value to the Home

You should alter a flat ceiling to the raised trey one. It absolutely will increase the value of your property.

The Disadvantages of Trey Ceiling

Reducing Headspace

The inverted ceiling surely comes with drop-down edges. Not only do they reduce headroom, but they additionally narrowing space.

Dictating Kitchen Cabinet Dimensions

If you are looking to include a trey ceiling in the kitchen, measure your cooking area thoroughly. That way, it won’t take up a lot of space for cabinets.

Requiring Extra Maintenance

The recessed ceiling features two different heights. It is hard to paint as well as clean.

Space Concerns Relating to Recessed Ceiling

During the house construction, an inverted ceiling is commonly installed within the joists. Its perimeter should be as high as the other ceilings. The trey recession is higher than its surrounding border.

That means you will not affect the headroom significantly. On the other hand, adding a recessed ceiling to your existing room would cause a problem. It will reduce the overhead space.

Your ceiling height should be more than 8 feet. That way, you won’t feel a cramp in your room. If your ceiling is only 8 foot-tall, 1 or 2 inches drop-down edges are probably fine.

However, the ones of 6 to 8 inches can cause a claustrophobic feeling.

How to Style Inverted Ceiling

Adding Crown Molding to Trey Edges

You can treat the trey ceiling as an empty canvas. The intricate cornice molding inside its borders certainly radiates classic elegance and drama.

Leaving Recessed Ceiling Finished without Textured Trims

Trey ceiling is made from three-dimensional lumber. The drywall is used to wrap it. For a clean look and modern vibe, do not include trim pieces.

Running Trey Ceiling Lighting around the Border

Install downlights under the perimeter of an inverted ceiling. They will cast a glamorous glow after dark. You can also use molding to hide the accent lights. Those fixtures softly brighten up the interior trey.

Incorporating Shiplap or Patterned Wallpaper into Trey Recession

Shiplap lends the recessed ceiling a farmhouse flair and texture. Meanwhile, the pattern on your wallpaper brings interest to it.

Warming Up the Inverted Ceiling with Wood

A layer of wood on the trey ceiling will instantly generate an inviting feel and a warm atmosphere.

Painting Recessed Trey A Darker Color

The deeper shade creates a perception of a higher ceiling. It also adds visual drama to space.

Constructing Layered Trey Ceiling

Layering the ceiling can deliver extra height and glamor to the room.

Installing Recessed Ceiling

Trey Ceiling

You can install a trey ceiling either during your home’s construction or retrofitting.
• Remodel
Adding recessed trey to your existing ceiling normally requires frame modification. After modifying the trusses, wrap with drywall and finish it.
• New Construction
It is more budget-friendly than the previous one. You also do not need to lower the height of the ceiling too.
The truss-setting as well as stick-framing jobs are handled by professionals. You cannot build a trey ceiling yourself using your carpentry knowledge.

Creating A Faux Inverted Ceiling

Trey Ceiling

To fake the appearance of recessed trey, you need some flat trim pieces. Then, attach them to your ceiling’s borders. Paint the trims of a different color.

They will give the ceiling a nice visual separation and trey effect. In short, trey ceiling is not just for luxury homes, but also the inexpensive ones. So, are you ready to integrate it into your living space?

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