DIY: Coffered Ceiling Project

Here is another project to dress up your home, this time the ceiling. Coffered ceiling reminds of the Old-English affluent elegance. It adds character and depth to any room. Coffering is also brilliant to hiding unsightly exposed beams and other ceiling imperfections and to modernise a dated ceiling. Coupled with strategic lighting, coffered ceilings can be breathtaking highlights to any modern home. This project might require advanced carpentry skills and the right equipment. But with enough dedication and focus, anyone can accomplish this basic coffered ceiling project.

You will need:

Framing Boards

Coffers are usually five inches wide. Larger rooms need bigger beams. One inch thick framing boards are perfect for this project. 2x4 lumbers can cut down work but will be heavier and more difficult to handle.

Crown Moulding

You can opt to skip the mouldings. However, adding mouldings provide the polished and graceful finish to your new ceiling.

Nail/Screw Gun

Using drive hammers only for this project is not recommended. Expect a lot of overhead nailing and to make the work a good deal easier, equip yourself with powered nail and screw guns.

Power Miter/Table Saw

There will be a lot of wood cutting. A power saw will significantly cut down work time and hard labour.

Chalk Line, Markers, Tape Measure

Markers and chalk line will help keep your lines straight, clear coffer plan and visualisation, and hasten cutting, nailing and fastening the boards. The measurer will ensure the quality and accuracy of your work.

Stud Finder

Main line coffers should be attached to the rafters. A stud finder will locate rafters easily.


Clean off the wood panels of and smoothen the planks. Sand paper can do the job, but will require a lot of manual work.

Paint of Varnish

Highlight your coffered ceiling with paint or varnish.

Construction Ladder

Safe and steady construction ladder or a substitute. Put premium on your safety and only use stable platforms or ladders to step on.  

Protective Gear

Keep yourself safe and protected while doing construction work. You will need a pair of construction gloves, eye protector, and face mask. Wear comfortable clothing that will cover most of your body.

Steps in Creating Coffered Ceilings

Find the Rafters

Locate the rafters using your stud finder. If you don’t have one, gently tapping on the ceiling can do the trick, but not recommended for the unexperienced. Plan the grid, at least one of your main coffers should be attached to a rafter.

Lay out the Grid

First, measure and mark the edge or perimeter beams. Calculate for the lengths of the inside beams. Full length spans should run the width of the room, and the shorter intertwining spans along the length. Do not forget to factor in the width of the beams.

Cut and Set up the Mounting Blocks

Creating mounting blocks will make the process a lot easier and faster. The blocks should be the width of your beams less the thickness of the sides. So if your beam is five inches wide and the side panels are one-inch thick, your mounting blocks should be three inches wide. Mounting block for the perimeter beams are four inches wide as they only have one side panel. Cut the blocks and secure them along your chalk lines. Use at least two blocks for each interval.

Prepare, Cut, and Assemble the Beams

Starting with the full length spans, measure and cut the beams. Each span has three components, the board and its two sides. The width of the sides represents the depth of your coffered ceiling. To assemble the beams, secure the sides under the board. The space between the sides is equal to the width of your mounting blocks.

Assemble the Coffers

Once the beams are done, you are now ready to attach the coffers to the ceiling. At this point, you are going to need somebody to help you hold the beams while you fasten them, especially with the full length beams. Position the beams against the mounting blocks and nail on the sides.

Attach the Mouldings

Create a more refined look by adding mouldings to the sides of your coffers. Elaborate and intricate designs give a vintage feel, while cleaner lines affect a more contemporary look.

Sand and Finish

Sand off knobs and smoothen uneven joints with a sander. Finish off your work by painting or varnishing your new coffered ceiling.

Great Coffered Ceiling Ideas

1.       Coffered Ceiling with Accent Lighting

2.       Modern Farmhouse Ceiling

3.       Warm Rustic

4.       Minimalist Coffers

5.       Classic White Beams

6.       Centre Highlight Feature

7.       Diamond Detailing

8.       Natural Wood Beams

9.       Beehive Coffers

10.   X-Box Ceilings

11.   Dark Ornate

12.   Coffer Feature

13.   Stencilled Trays

14.   Contemporary Coffered Ceiling

15.   Ornate Tin and Beams

What is your preferred type and style of coffered ceiling? Why not discuss it on our RenoForum!