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What is a Coved Ceiling?

B. Turner
B. Turner

A coved ceiling is a type of ceiling design that features curved edges. Instead of sharp angles between the ceiling and walls like those found in most homes, coved ceilings feature smooth, soft edges. The ceiling perimeter features a concave profile, which means that the edges curve in towards the walls rather than out. Coved ceiling designs create a dome-like design, which is reminiscent of the arched ceiling style of Middle Eastern architecture.

These ceilings may feature a very rounded curve or a relatively shallow one, depending on construction and design. They are often paired with a tray or recessed ceiling, or special inlays used to enhance their appearance and house light fixtures. In high-end homes or historic buildings, a coved ceiling may be highly ornamental, with tiles and gilded elements used to add style.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Builders may rely on a number of construction methods to create a coved ceiling. Traditionally, these structures were built using layers of plaster and wire mesh along the joints between the walls and ceiling. This technique requires a certain level of skill and is less common today. Modern builders often rely on simple kits, which include pre-fabricated forms used to construct these ceilings out of wood and drywall. Others may attempt to recreate this look using simple coved molding profiles. Adding concave molding to the edges of the ceiling is one of the easiest ways to achieve this look, but also offers the fewest options in terms of design and customization.

Coved ceiling designs offer a number of benefits to homeowners. They add flair to boring ceiling designs and help to make a home stand out from others on the market. Curved ceilings also help to smooth and soften hard lines, giving the home an elegant, comfortable feel. This type of ceiling is often associated with high-end luxury homes, and can make even a simple home look more refined. When combined with the right paint colors or molding, a coved ceiling can also make the ceiling appear higher.

Buyers should also be aware of a few potential drawbacks associated with these types of ceilings. One of the biggest problems is that a coved ceiling is hard to create, and often costs much more than a standard ceiling. These curved profiles also lead to tough transitions between walls and ceilings. For example, homeowners may have trouble determining how to properly paint a room with a curved ceiling, and installing crown molding also poses special challenges.

Discussion Comments


My office building has shallow coved ceilings. I find this design soothing. The more rounded spaces in a place, the calmer I tend to feel.

My office is filled with furniture featuring rounded edges to match the design. Even my computer monitor has rounded corners.

It is comforting to me to look up at the area where the wall meets the ceiling and see a smooth transition. I really can't pinpoint where one ends and the other begins. It makes the room seem peaceful.

Once when I suffered from nausea after lunch, I reclined on my sofa and stared up at the ceiling. It soothed my upset stomach. I think the power of suggestion is effective, and sometimes staring at smooth, tranquil surfaces can influence how I feel.


I stayed in a cabin with a coved ceiling last summer. It was unlike any I had ever seen, because rather than all points rising to meet at the middle, the curve only went from north to south.

From one end of the cabin to the other, the ceiling curved in a semi-circle. Wooden beams reinforced it, offering plenty of support to the rounded structure.

Lying in bed and staring at it, I felt far away from the ceiling at the middle. The sides were much closer to me, though.

In a strange way, it felt like there was more air in the house because of it. I've always been mildly claustrophobic, but I didn't feel enclosed at all in this cabin.


@orangey03 – To me, lighting is half of the allure of a coved ceiling. If you don't illuminate it properly, then you are missing out on a serious interior design opportunity.

My friend has a coved ceiling, and she has hidden lights installed in a wooden tray that goes along the bottom edge of the ceiling. The light follows the curve, and you can see the rays intersecting. It makes the design something special, and it looks like it cost a fortune.

She got the idea from the ceiling of her favorite restaurant. She asked the owner who built the place, and she ended up using the same company to design her own coved ceiling. Having a professional design and construction firm help you is essential to getting the desired effect.


I toured a mansion that had coved ceilings once, and I thought it was the most dramatic way to design a room. It added so much height to the area, and it made it feel so much more important than an ordinary room.

Coved ceilings lead your eyes upward and to the center, and some people like to add ornamentation to the center because of this. In this particular room, the owner had hung a beautiful chandelier from the middle of the ceiling.

The ceiling also had a shiny finish, so it sparkled in the light. The whole thing had a golden glow to it, probably because of how the light from the yellow bulbs in the chandelier bounced off of it.

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