How Much Does a Coffered Ceiling Cost?

Typical Range:

$318 - $1,183

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated September 7, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Also known as a sunken ceiling, a coffered ceiling adds a sophisticated touch to any room. A 150-square-foot coffered ceiling costs around $3,000 to $4,500, or $3,750 on average. This ceiling looks like a grid with beams running either horizontally or diagonally. Flat panels attach to the beams to complete the upscale look.

Tin ceiling prices, crown molding, and medallions—among other extras—can add hundreds more to the project total. Expect to pay around $20 to 30 per square foot for the basic build, plus the cost of decorative accents.

2022 Notice: Material Prices Are Surging

Demand for siding and other building materials has grown over the past year. And as a result, manufacturers are increasing materials prices. Prices have gone up 5% to 10% this year, and many parts of the country are experiencing long delivery times. If you're planning a building project, we recommend starting as early as possible in the season, preparing for potential price fluctuations, and allowing extra time to order materials.

Average Cost of Coffered Ceilings

Average CostHigh CostLow Cost
$3,750$4,500$3,000

Coffered Ceiling Costs by Material

How much do coffered ceilings cost? Materials for your coffered ceiling cost around $3 to $30 per square foot.

Real hardwood costs the most at up to $30 per square foot. PVC, plywood, and fiberboard are much less costly at around $3 to $20 per square foot. Drywall costs the least at an average of $2 to $3 per square foot. See below for a list of common coffered ceiling materials and their associated costs.

Coffered Ceiling MaterialAverage Price Range per Sq. Ft.
Drywall$2 – $3
Plywood$3 – $4
Fiberboard$6 – $15
Oak$4 – $8
Cherry$7 – $10
Walnut$10 – $30
PVC$15 – $20
Mahogany$17 – $30

Drywall

Drywall is one of the least expensive materials for a coffered ceiling, costing approximately $2 to $3 per square foot. While inexpensive, drywall is also one of the more simple-looking materials, so homeowners who want a more dramatic look may want to choose a different material. It's easy to paint but can only be used on more shallow ceilings.

Plywood

Plywood is also less expensive, costing around $3 to $4 per square foot. While easy to find and relatively straightforward to work with, plywood isn't the most high-quality material and can often warp or break while trying to install it. 

Fiberboard

Fiberboard is an engineered wood product made from compressing bits of wood and other plant fibers into a board. It costs around $6 to $15 per square foot and can be expensive for its quality and durability. 

Oak

Oak costs around $4 to $8 per square foot, making it one of the less expensive woods to work with. It's a sturdy type of wood that looks great and lasts a long time. 

While solid wood is heavy and can be hard to work with, it offers several advantages over lower-cost materials, including:

  • Stability: Wood is stronger and more durable.

  • Stainability: If you want to show off the wood grain with stain, you'll want real wood.

  • Status: Many homeowners like the classy aesthetic of solid wood.

Cherry

Cherry wood costs around $7 to $10 per square foot, which puts it right in the middle range when it comes to woods. Cherry is beloved for its rich, beautiful color and grain that absorbs stain well. Like other woods, it's durable and long-lasting but can be difficult to install and may be best left to a professional.

Walnut

Walnut is a dark wood that costs on the higher end, around $10 to $30 per square foot, because of its unique look. While beautiful, there are some downsides to using genuine wood like walnut.

For example, in addition to its increased cost, you may have waste when you work with solid wood. Damaged pieces with warped edges or knots don't work on coffered ceilings. Your installer must check each piece carefully and toss out any that have defects. If you get a bad batch, this can add to your project cost.

PVC

PVC is about $15 to $20 per square foot and is a lighter, easier material to work with than wood. However, it takes special care to install PVC panels, so do your research when choosing a professional to install them correctly. It’s best to find someone who already has experience working with PVC.

Mahogany

Like walnut, mahogany is a rich-colored dark wood that looks great stained. However, it's one of the most expensive materials you can use for coffered ceilings, at around $17 to $30 per square foot. Because of its beauty, many homeowners use it to get the desired look.

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Price of Coffered Ceiling Extras

Coffered ceilings can upgrade a room from great to show-stopping—and the extras are what really make them pop. Soffits are a common element many homeowners consider for their coffered ceiling project, but other embellishments like tin tiles, medallions, finials, and others can add some extra flair to the finished look.

Soffits

Soffits cost around $1 to $3 per linear foot, with 12-foot sections costing up to $25 each. These are used in place of beams to give the coffered ceiling a checker-patterned look. Using soffits in your coffered ceiling doesn't increase prices outside the normal range.

Tin Tiles

Using tin tiles as panels adds around $1,500 to the total cost of your coffered ceiling. Depending on their design, 2-by-2-foot tiles are around $1 to $10 each. You may use up to 40 for a 150-square-foot ceiling. 

Medallions

Ceiling medallions cost around $10 to $690 per piece, depending on their materials and design. Installation is usually included in the project cost. These accents dress up the mounting point for your chandelier or other light fixture and give your coffered ceiling an even more luxurious look.

Trim and Molding 

Trim costs about $1 to $10 per linear foot, while you can expect to pay closer to $8 to $15 per linear foot to cover the price of crown molding, with installation doubling this price. You can attach these elements to the sides and base of each beam. If the room already features trim, you can match it for a cohesive look.

Paint and Stain

The cost to paint a ceiling is around $1 to $2.50 per square foot, and stain is around the same price. Painting or staining a 144-square-foot ceiling is around $150 to $350. Multiple colors and intricate details, like medallions and crown molding, can increase the total due to the extra time it takes to paint.

Recessed Lights

Expect to pay about $360 per fixture for materials and labor to cover the cost of recessed lights. These fixtures go in the panels and along the beams. With the proper placement, they flood the space with light and make the coffers seem more purposeful.

Finials

Small finials are decorative elements you can add to a coffered ceiling, costing around $15 to $110 per piece plus labor. The material they’re made out of will impact the cost. For example, metal or plastic finials are on the lower end of the cost spectrum, while wood finials cost more. You can have them installed at the intersection of each set of cross beams to add dimension and visual interest.

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Coffered Ceiling Installation Cost

When hiring a ceiling installation expert near you, expect the price to include both labor and materials, around $20 to $30 per square foot. Extras could add hundreds more to the total. Your installer will likely quote a project rate, and then break it down by the square foot or per item.

Design Ideas for Coffered Ceilings

A coffered ceiling gives your home more character and variety. Whether you hire a contractor or do it yourself, take time to plan the design so you never tire of your decision.

For a traditional look, you can build a coffered ceiling in one of three patterns:

  • Straight: Features boxes that run parallel to the wall edges 

  • Diagonal: Turn the coffers 90 degrees to create a diagonal effect that resembles diamonds

  • Octagonal: A large octagon in the center with straight beams or coffers radiating out

Use alternative shapes and patterns if you want to take a modern approach. No matter what layout you pick, remember to create depth and visual interest by using three colors. Paint the ceiling panels one color, the beams a second color, and the molding a third color. Then, add recessed lighting in the center of each coffer for a dramatic effect.

Beyond that, if the room features a fireplace, built-in bookcases, or other unique elements, plan to incorporate them into the ceiling design. Ask your contractor how to make it so the ceiling beams look original to the house.

Coffered Ceilings vs. Waffle and Tray Ceilings

Coffered ceilings and waffle and tray ceilings often get confused for each other because they look similar. However, waffle and tray ceilings are just a subset type of coffered ceilings and get their name because the beams cross each other to look like the shape of a waffle. They're often composed of drywall and molding, thus costing less compared to other coffered ceilings.

DIY Coffered Ceilings vs. Hiring a Pro

You can hire a ceiling contractor to install your coffered ceiling or do it yourself. You might favor DIY due to the potential to save money, but consider these factors before you make your decision:

Safety

Working on a ceiling requires you to get on a ladder or lift. If you fall, you could seriously injure yourself. Tall ceilings, like cathedral styles, can make this process even more dangerous. Professional ceiling installers have the experience, equipment, and safety gear to do the job safely and efficiently.

Mistakes

Most homeowners opt to hire a professional carpenter near you for this job, as coffered ceilings are complex to design and install correctly. If you opt to DIY, you’ll save money on labor, but mistakes could set you back financially. Hiring a professional ensures it's done right the first time with minimal material costs.

Equipment

You'll need power tools such as a drill, miter saw, and nail gun to create and install your coffered ceiling. If you don't have them in your garage, renting or buying them adds to the project cost. Power tools are also a safety hazard if you're unsure how to use them correctly.

Speed

If you want to enjoy your coffered ceilings immediately, hire a pro. It'll take several weeks for you to install them unless you can devote yourself to the project full-time.

If you still want to take the DIY approach, look for plans online or buy a book that details the process. Coffered ceilings are an architectural design element, so if you try to create a design from scratch without experience, you'll likely waste hours with mistakes and frustrations.

You can always skip the aggravation in favor of hiring a ceiling installation expert. They’ll use quality materials and the right equipment to build your perfect ceiling design. That way, you can avoid the stress and get the results you seek.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I install coffered ceilings?

Coffered ceilings look refined and sophisticated in any room. Choose a single room to give that space a more elegant look, or install coffered ceilings throughout your home. Some of the rooms that make the biggest impact include:

  • Living rooms

  • Studies, home offices, and libraries

  • Primary bedrooms with high ceilings

  • Dining rooms

  • Home entertainment rooms or home theaters

Do coffered ceilings add value?

Yes, coffered ceilings can increase your home's value since they add a luxurious look to any space and help the home look detailed and elegant. Thus, coffered ceilings can help drum up interest from potential homebuyers while offering aesthetic appeal and a return on investment.

Do coffered ceilings make a room look smaller?

Coffered ceilings don’t make a room look smaller, depending on how you build it. Smaller panels make the ceiling seem busier and more textured, while larger panels give the illusion of more space. At the same time, chunkier beams give the ceiling more weight. Thinner beams make the ceiling appear higher and more spacious. Keep in mind that installing faux wood beams costs around $1,800.

How tall should coffered ceilings be?

Coffered ceilings work best in rooms that are at least 9 feet tall. Although it's a significant investment, if you're set on having coffered ceilings, you can choose to pay the $16,000 to $24,000cost to raise a ceiling to add height to the room before embellishing its design.

Do coffered ceilings help with sound?

Coffered ceilings absorb excess sound, which benefits many homeowners who would like to keep echoes to a minimum. They also improve acoustics in the room and help muffle sounds that travel into nearby rooms to keep the whole home feeling more peaceful and quiet.