How Much Does It Cost to Install a Coffered Ceiling?

Average range: $3,500 - $7,500
Low
$2,500
Average Cost
$5,000
High
$14,000
(Installation of a 12’ x 12’ octogonal poplar coffered ceiling laid with molding)

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Reviewed by Irene Pomares. Written by Fixr.com.

Homeowners who want a way to give a detailed and interesting appearance to a room in their home may be interested in installing a coffered ceiling. These ceilings are made up of panels that are inset between coffers or beams. The word coffers comes from the French word for box, so essentially you are using boxes to create a grid on the ceiling. The look is fairly traditional and can be found in many architectural styles.

The national average cost for installing a coffered ceiling is between $3,500 and $7,500. Most people pay around $5,000 to install a 12’ x 12’ coffered ceiling made of poplar with an octagonal shape and molding. At the low end of the spectrum, you can opt for a traditional style drywall coffered ceiling for $2,500. At the high end, you can pay up to $14,000 to have a luxurious rustic coffered ceiling made out of mahogany wood with painted beams, a medallion, and a chandelier.

Cost to Install a Coffered Ceiling

Cost to Add Coffered Ceiling
National average cost$5,000
Average range$3,500-$7,500
Minimum cost$2,500
Maximum cost$14,000


Coffered Ceiling Installation Cost by Project Range

Low
$2,500
Traditional style drywall coffered ceiling
Average Cost
$5,000
Installation of a 12’ x 12’ octogonal poplar coffered ceiling laid with molding
High
$14,000
Luxurious rustic wooden coffered ceiling with painted beams, a medallion and a chandelier

Coffered Ceiling Cost per Square Foot

The overall cost to install a coffered ceiling ranges between $17 and $60 per sq.ft. depending on the material you will use and the contractors. The average room size in the U.S. is approximately 12’ x 12’, or 144 sq.ft., which means opting to install this type of ceiling ceiling would cost between $2,500 to $8,500. Other features such as the shape and design of the coffers and the additional decorations impact the cost. Also known as sunken ceilings, the coffered grids on on these ceilings run horizontally or diagonally onto which flat panels are attached to beams to complete the look.


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Coffered Ceiling Cost by Material

The cost to install a coffered ceiling mostly depends on the material, as prices vary between $2 and $30 per sq.ft. Coffers were originally made of hardwood, but today, you can find them in many materials. The coffers themselves are usually hollow boxes made of solid materials, with the two most common materials being poplar (wood) and lightweight MDF. However, it’s possible to make this type of ceiling out of a wide range of different materials, each with positive and negative attributes.


Cost of Coffered Ceiling Materials: Drywall, MDF, Plywood, Poplar, Pine, Maple, PVC Panel...

Cost of Coffered Ceiling Materials: Drywall, MDF, Plywood, Poplar, Pine, Maple, PVC Panel...


Coffered Ceiling MaterialCost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)
Drywall$2 - $4
MDF$2 - $7
Plywood$2.50 - $5
Poplar$2.50 - $7
Pine$3 - $7
Oak$4 - $20
Maple$5 - $15
Cherry$6 - $17
Walnut$7 - $30
PVC Panel$15 - $25
Mahogany$16 - $30


Drywall Coffered Ceiling Cost

Drywall is the cheapest material you can use for coffered type ceilings, with the material costing only $2 to $4 per sq.ft. Aside from the cost, the benefit of using drywall for when constructing this type of ceiling is that it creates a contemporary finish and takes paint well, making it easier to customize its look and color. However, it’s mostly used on shallow ceilings. Deeper ceiling designs require a metal construction to support the weight.

MDF Coffered Ceiling Price

A coffered medium-density fiberboard ceiling or MDF ceiling, costs $2 to $7 per sq.ft. MDF is made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibers and combining them with wax and resin binder to create panels using high temperature and pressure. It’s used on ceilings because of its strong surface and moisture resistance while providing a smooth surface that takes paint well. On the downside, MDF may be heavy depending on the materials used because some may splinter.

Plywood Coffered Ceiling Cost

The cost of a coffered plywood ceiling varies between $2.50 and $5 per sq.ft. It’s a material that is easy to work with and readily available in stores. Some materials have a smooth surface. However, most plywood has a rougher surface. The biggest issue with plywood is that you have to tear the wood into planks, creating more space for human error. Plywood quality can also vary, which increases the risk of the plywood breaking into unequal pieces.

Poplar Ceiling Price

The cost of poplar ceiling material is $2.50 to $7 per sq.ft. It’s one of the most commonly used utility hardwoods in the U.S. and is often used for this style of ceiling. Its wide application can be attributed to the fact that it’s smooth and easy to work with, takes paint, and stains well. Still, it is a more affordable option than similar wood materials. However, installers have to be extra careful while working with it, as it splinters and breaks easier than some other materials.

Pine Ceiling Cost

Coffered pine ceilings typically cost $3 to $7 per sq.ft for the material. It comes in variable widths and lengths that are easy to find for sale and easy to work with. Pinewood also takes paint well, allowing you to customize the look of your ceiling while being more affordable than other types of wood. Using pine, especially light-colored options, brightens a room and makes it more spacious. However, it’s a softer type of wood that doesn’t have the depth and character of other woods. You won’t achieve the rustic wood look with pine.

Oak Coffered Ceiling Price

Installing a coffered oak ceiling costs $4 to $20 per sq.ft. for the materials only. Oak is a staple wood used in many industries, especially in construction and interior design. The beautiful grain and finish of the oak wood give the home a nice, rustic look. It’s often used in coffered style ceilings because it’s easy to work with, takes paint and stains well, and gives a smooth finish to the ceiling. However, the material is heavy with varying colors. So, the ceiling may not have a unified color.

Maple Ceiling Cost

Maple is another type of wood used for coffered style ceilings that costs $5 to $15 per sq.ft. When used on this type of ceiling, maple creates a smooth finish because it has little to no grain, making the ceiling look elegant and sophisticated. The material takes paint and stains well. It can be difficult to work with as it’s significantly harder and heavier than some other types of materials for coffered ceilings.

Cherry Coffered Ceiling Price

Coffered cherry wood ceilings cost $6 to $17 per sq.ft. Its rich color and beautiful grain are used to achieve the rustic style and warmth only some types of wood can create. Thanks to the grain, it stains well and maintains the look and colors longer. However, like most wood materials, it’s heavy and harder to work with and install on ceilings. Also, it is more expensive.

Walnut Coffered Ceiling Cost

The price of a coffered walnut ceiling ranges from $7 to $30 per sq.ft. for the material only, just between the price of cherry and mahogany. Like most woods, the color and grain of walnut ceilings are rich, giving it a distinctive look and high price. The material itself is hard, which is why it’s difficult to work with and install, so it will take an experienced professional to install a walnut coffered style ceiling.

PVC Panel Ceiling Price

PVC panels cost $15 to $25 per sq.ft. They are very easy to install and can be extremely decorative. Another benefit is that it can be used to cover the whole ceiling, giving it a unified look and finish that is not always the case with other materials. However, this comes at a higher cost and requires special installation that not all contractors offer. PVC panels cannot be painted or stained. When their quality deteriorates, they have to be replaced.

Mahogany Coffered Ceiling Cost

Mahogany is the staple of luxurious ceilings, which is why it carries the highest cost of all wood materials used for coffered style ceilings, going between $16 and $30 per sq.ft. It has a beautiful color and rich grain that gives it a distinct appearance, which is why it’s very expensive. Regardless of the price, mahogany is very sought after and difficult to obtain.

Cost to Add Coffered Ceiling by Design Type

The cost of a coffered ceiling runs from $2.50 to $30 per sq.ft., depending on the design you choose. Various designs and styles are available that are made by using different techniques and materials. The ability to get them in different designs and shapes is one of the biggest advantages of this ceiling type. This allows homeowners to match the design to the architectural style of the home and adjust it to their style. Below are the most design types of coffered style ceilings and how much you can expect to pay for each.


Cost of Contemporary, Traditional and Rustic Coffered Ceiling Materials per Sq.Ft.

Cost of Contemporary, Traditional and Rustic Coffered Ceiling Materials per Sq.Ft.


Design TypeCost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)
Contemporary$2 - $7
Traditional$2.50 - $20
Rustic$5 - $30


Contemporary Coffered Ceiling

Contemporary ceilings that are coffered are usually made using MDF or drywall, so the cost to install one is $2 to $7 per sq.ft. They are made with a minimalistic pattern of beams, giving the ceiling a clean and modern look. Contemporary ceilings are very versatile and can be made using a round, octagonal, or another shape or pattern.

Traditional Coffered Ceiling

If you opt to install a traditional ceiling that is coffered, expect to spend between $2.50 and $20 per sq.ft. for the project if you’re using poplar or some type of wood as the main material. As its name suggests, the traditional coffered style ceilings are the ones that are most commonly seen in homes. Usually, traditional ceilings feature carved hardwood beams and have a rectangular or square shape with minimal decoration.

Rustic Coffered Ceiling

Expect to spend $5 to $30 per sq.ft. for a rustic ceiling that is coffered which features a rectangular or square grid of wood beams. This ceiling design is usually made from more expensive types of wood like mahogany or walnut that give it the rich color and recognizable rustic charm. However, because coffered rustic ceilings are made of the most expensive materials, the cost to install them is the highest as well.

Cost of Coffered Ceiling Installation

Expect to pay a professional installer between $15 and $30 per sq.ft. for labor costs to install a coffered ceiling. For the average project cost of $5,000, around $3,000 would be the labor cost, while the rest can be attributed to the cost of the materials used in the process. Installation is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that requires advanced carpentry skills and structural work.

First, support beams are installed perpendicular to the studs. These are thin and will be wrapped with the final material later to support the ceiling. Then, the cross beams are installed parallel to the ceiling joists. From there, the box beams are created. They can be built first, then installed over the support beams or built in place on the ceiling, wrapping them. The boxes adhere directly to the support beams rather than to the ceiling joists. The trim is installed last, and the beams are either painted or stained in their final color. This time-consuming process requires a carpenter to do it correctly.

Because coffered style ceilings are made with box beams, they often incorporate a soffit to help fill the gap between the top of a cabinet or bookcase and the rest of the ceiling. They may also go over and around pipes and wires to conceal them. For instance, if you install a this style of ceiling in the kitchen or bathroom, you want the wires and pipes covered for both design and safety. Using this type of ceiling as soffits will not add to the cost. However, any additional decoration or feature you add increases the overall cost of the ceiling. For instance, coffered living room ceiling designs would be richer and more expensive than a coffered bedroom ceiling that is usually not so detailed.


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Coffered Ceiling Types

Different shapes of coffered ceilings are on the market, with most creating a grid on the ceiling. However, they do not all need to be square. While the square is the easiest shape to create, rectangles and octagons are also fairly common. It is even possible to create nearly any geometric pattern on the ceiling using coffers, including hexagons and triangles. Using readymade coffered panels, circles are also possible, although this shape is difficult to create using traditional methods.


Octagonal, Square, and Circular Coffered Ceiling Types

Octagonal, Square, and Circular Coffered Ceiling Types


Octagonal Coffered Ceiling

Coffered type ceilings can even be built to include octagonal shapes. This shape includes a large octagon in the center of the ceiling with straight coffers or beams radiating out. It’s one of the most decorative coffered style ceilings patterns that usually revolves around a central element like a chandelier. However, it’s not as commonly seen as square or circular coffered style ceilings since it’s more complicated to install and more costly.

Square Coffered Ceiling

The most common coffered style ceiling shape is the square shape. Also known as a boxed coffered ceiling, it’s the standard type of coffered style ceiling that features square boxes that run parallel to the walls of the room. A coffered square ceiling can make the room visually bigger. This ceiling type pairs well with different decor and designs.

Diagonal Coffered Ceiling

Coffered diagonal ceilings are made by turning the coffers 90 degrees by placing the boxes diagonally instead of parallel to the ceiling. The boxes resemble diamonds, so this type of ceiling is also known as a diamond coffered ceiling. Diagonal coffered style ceilings are usually installed as an alternative to square ones and make the ceiling more decorative.

Circular Coffered Ceiling

Also known as round coffered ceilings, the circular coffers of these types of ceilings can be shaped into a circle, oval, or another rounded design. In the construction industry, the method is called radius work. When it comes to coffered shapes circular ones are the most difficult to build, so the cost to install a coffered circular ceiling is the highest among all other shapes. Because of this, they are considered the most sophisticated and decorative ones, which is why they are often listed as a luxury addition in homes.

Waffle Ceiling vs Coffered Ceiling

Waffle ceilings are actually a type of coffered ceiling, which is why they are often mixed. The biggest difference between these two types of ceilings is that the beams in a waffle ceiling cross each other to make a repeating pattern. The crossing beams resemble the look of a waffle, hence the name. Like coffered style ceilings, waffle ceilings can be made with different designs and shapes, including octagons and diamonds.


White Square Coffered Ceiling With Halogen Lights in Spacious Living Area


Cost of Coffered Ceiling Beams

The cost of ceiling beams ranges between $15 and $80, depending on the type of beam you choose. They can be either box beams or shallow beams and are installed on the whole ceiling. You can use the beams to give rooms a different appearance. Smaller, thinner beams make the ceiling look higher, and the room appears more spacious. Chunkier beams give more weight and structure to the ceiling.


Cost per Unit of Shallow and Box Coffered Ceiling Beams

Cost per Unit of Shallow and Box Coffered Ceiling Beams


Beam TypeCost per Unit (Materials only)
Shallow$15 - $70
Box$20 - $80


Shallow Beam Coffered Ceiling

Installing shallow beams can cost $15 to $70 per piece. They are usually installed in rooms that are lower and have no room for additions. Shallow beams are a great way of adding character to smaller rooms using simpler designs and harmonious color combinations. If you do not have a high ceiling, use shallow beams to acheive a coffered look for your ceiling without taking up valuable headroom.

Box Beam Coffered Ceiling

Thecoffered box beam ceiling price ranges between $20 and $80 per piece. They are the standard type of coffers installed in rooms where there is enough height. Box beams line up with the walls, giving it a nice flow and look. They give more detail and decoration to the ceiling, making it look richer and more luxurious. Box beams are great for hiding wires or pipes or for installing lights.

Coffered Ceiling Advantages

Coffered ceilings are extremely popular because they have a lot of advantages. The main one is the design flexibility that allows homeowners to create a custom look and choose whichever style, design, and color they want. You can mix different colors and designs of the panels and beams to match the style of your home. These ceilings come in different finishes and heights if you want to achieve a different dimensional effect.

The materials used for coffered ceilings all have different advantages. Many of the materials used are very easy to install and affordable. The other, more expensive materials offer better stability, have better quality, and add a touch of luxury to the room. Almost all materials are very prone to mold and mildew.

Installing this type of ceiling is a great way to isolate the sound. They absorb excess sound, making them a great option for multiple-story homes, master bedrooms, and living rooms. Although these ceilings will take away from a room’s height, they create an illusion of a more spacious environment, making your room look larger and more open.

Crawford Ceiling vs Coffered Ceiling

Coffered ceilings are made of a series of sunken panels in the shape of a square, rectangle, or octagon on the ceiling, vault 11, or soffit 8. While many people think they are two different ceilings, cofferd and crawford ceilings are the same. The term “crawford ceiling” is a misheard pronunciation of the term coffered ceilings. Those who have heard both terms may think they are different ceilings, but that is not the case.

Coffered style ceilings look wonderful in any room they are installed in. Traditionally, they are most commonly found in dining rooms, living rooms, and kitchens, but you can use them anywhere you want to add details to the room. Ideally, you want the room to be large enough for the effect to be truly visible. Small rooms may only see a few coffers, while large rooms can get the full effect.

Tray Ceiling vs Coffered Ceiling

With a cost range of $2.50 to $10.50 per sq.ft. for a standard room, tray ceilings are considerably cheaper to install than coffered ones that cost $17 to $60. Coffered and tray ceilings share several similarities, with the main one being their appearance. Both have similar designs that feature a recessed section and geometric expressions that add depth to the interior space. The difference between the two is the style. Tray ceilings make the rooms look more spacious and open. When ceilings are coffered it creates a more personal and intimate space. Coffered style ceilings can be made of different materials, while tray ceilings are wrapped in plaster and drywall and finished with crown molding. Homeowners usually install coffered kitchen, living room and theatre room ceilings. Tray ceilings are best for dining rooms, entryways, and board rooms.


Cost to Install Tray vs Coffered Ceiling

Cost to Install Tray vs Coffered Ceiling


Ceiling StyleCost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
Tray$2.50 - $10.50
Coffered$17 - $60


Vaulted Ceiling vs Coffered Ceiling

Coffered and vaulted ceilings are considered high-end. Vaulted ceilings cost $25 to $75, costing much higher than the $17 to $60 per sq.ft. for coffered ones in the same type of room. Both coffered and vaulted ceilings are one of the top upscale choices for ceilings in living rooms, great rooms, and master bedrooms because of the visual impact they create. However, they are quite different in appearance and design. Vaulted ceilings have sloping sides running from the highest point of the ceiling to the top of the wall. They are usually very high and can reach up to 15 feet high or more. On the other hand, coffered style ceilings are lower and don’t soar upwards but are flat and parallel to the floor.


Cost to Install Coffered vs Vaulted Ceiling

Cost to Install Coffered vs Vaulted Ceiling


Ceiling StyleCost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
Coffered$17 - $60
Vaulted$25 - $75


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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Coffered Ceiling Molding

Coffered ceiling molding costs $8 to $15 per linear foot. Moldings are applied where the coffer attaches to the ceiling, the edges of the coffers themselves, or both areas to give the ceiling a detailed and decorative appearance. Any molding can be installed, including scalloped, ridged, dental, or gee. These ceilings may have crown molding to give a different look. When using moldings on a coffered type ceiling, it is common to use decorative finials at the junctions where the coffers meet to complete the look.

Coffered Ceiling Chandelier

The cost of a ceiling chandelier varies depending on the design and ranges between $200 and $4,500. Ceiling chandeliers are ornamental light fixtures designed to add elegance and detail to both the ceiling and the room. They come in different styles, designs, and sizes, so they can be installed in any room. The most common place you will see them is in the dining room.

Coffered Ceiling With Tin Tiles

Adding tin ceiling tiles is a project that costs between $1,500 to $2,000, or around $1 to $10 for a 2 x 2 tile. They are applied to make the ceiling even more decorative. Tin or faux tin ceiling tiles are lined on the bottom of the inside of the ceiling to make the details more intricate and give it a more detailed look. The tin tiles can be painted to match the color of the coffers to enhance the ceiling’s appearance even more.

Coffered Ceiling Medallion

Ceiling medallions cost between $30 and $690 each, depending on which design and materials you will pick. They are decorative features, typically round in shape, that add detail and interest to the ceilings. Ceiling medallions can be used at the intersections of the beams or in the centers of the sunken areas in the ceiling. However, they are mostly installed as a transition between the plain ceiling surface and a hanging ceiling fixture like a chandelier.

Coffered Ceiling With Recessed Lighting

The average cost of recessed lighting is $800 to $2,000. Coffered style ceilings are still functional ceilings and can include recessed lights. The lights are installed in cans which are then set or recessed into the ceiling. Installing them is the same as any other light. It takes a little more planning to avoid the coffers. Recessed lights are a great way to add ambient or more light to different rooms.

Paint Coffered Ceiling

Expect to spend anywhere between $120 and $300 to paint a ceiling in one room. Most coffered style ceilings are either painted or stained. Adding paint or stain is a great way to adapt the look and design of the ceiling to match your style. The coffers and beams may match the ceiling and be painted white or be a contrasting color or stain. You can paint the whole ceiling in one color or combine different colors in the coffers and beams to further change its look and design.

Coffered Ceiling With Ceiling Fan

The average cost to install a ceiling fan ranges between $350 and $650. Adding a ceiling fan is a great way to provide ventilation and save on energy costs too. It’s usually installed between the beams at any area of the ceiling. Different ceiling fan styles make it possible to fit them into the ceiling design.

Skylight Price

You may also opt to add a skylight to your ceiling for an average cost of $800 to $2,500. If you want to add additional light and a source of natural light to your room, consider adding a skylight to the ceiling. Aside from providing light, the skylight can be used to improve the design and look of the ceiling by framing it by the coffers and making it part of the pattern.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Sound absorption. Some coffered ceilings help with noise absorption, creating an acoustic ceiling. This can be a benefit to home theaters, offices, and other sensitive areas.
  • Moisture. Wood beams used onceilings that are coffered can warp due to swelling and shrinking from moisture levels. Leaving an expansion gap at the edges of the room helps prevent this.
  • Design. Use coffers of differing sizes to create a unique design, such as coffers that change size slowly as they move across the room.
  • Ceiling combination. It is possible to combine coffered and tray ceilings by using the central area for the coffers and matching the molding around the tray.
  • Wallpaper. It is also possible to use wallpaper in the area between the coffers to add even more interest and pattern to the ceiling.
  • Coffered ceiling DIY. Some simple coffered types of ceilings can be installed as a DIY project. However, it’s always advisable to hire a professional because it’s a project that requires experience and knowledge to complete successfully.
  • Height. Make sure that there is enough height between the floor and the ceiling beams. According to the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, every habitable room and bathroom should have a minimum 7 ft. height for a minimum of 50% of the floor area of the room. The rest can be 5 ft. in height. The minimum height under dropped ducts, beams, and similar parts should be 6 ft, 4 inches.

FAQs

  • How much does it cost to install a coffered ceiling?

The cost to install a coffered ceiling depends on the material you use and the additional features and decorations. However, the average cost is $3,500 to $7,500 for a coffered 12 x 12 ceiling.

  • How do you calculate coffered ceilings?

Start by getting a sample of the materials you will use. Usually, this is a 2’’ x 4’’ board mounted to the ceiling and 1’’ board for the side. Measure the width of the ceiling and then deduct the full outside width of your beam sample. Divide this by the number of recesses you want across the width of the room. Repeat this with the length of the beam sample to determine the number of recesses. Measure your walls and draw out the lines in smaller dimensions to see where the beams and recessed areas will be and if the ceiling will look clean and good.

  • Can you install a coffered ceiling?

Installing a coffered ceiling can be a DIY project. However, it’s highly recommended to hire a professional as it’s a highly complex and labor-intensive process that requires expertise and experience to do properly.

  • What is the difference between a tray ceiling and a coffered ceiling?

Tray ceilings have a sunken interior and one large decorative area around the perimeter of the room. Coffered style ceilings create a grid on the ceiling.

  • Do coffered ceilings add value?

The value added by coffered ceilings depends on several factors, including what it is made of, how decorative it is, what your architectural style is, and where it is located. In some areas, it may add value, while in others, it may help a home sell faster.​

  • How tall should coffered ceilings be?​

Ideally, you want them at least 8 to 10 feet high because coffers lower it slightly, but you can get away with lower ceilings and shallow coffers.

Cost to install a coffered ceiling varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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