A dome ceiling adds beauty and architectural interest, while making the room look larger and more spacious. Whether it is a recessed ceiling dome, a surface mount ceiling dome, or a combination of the two, this is one design element that becomes the obvious focus point in the room. Our team of experts reveal what you need to know if you’re considering a dome ceiling in your home
Incorporating Dome Ceilings
“A dome ceiling is classical by nature and symmetrical by design,” according to Garret Eakin of Garret Eakin Architect in Chicago, IL. “If you like the drama of symmetry, a domed ceiling is for you.”
This photo above shows one of Eakin’s dome ceiling projects. “We employed the form with the intent to integrate clear story windows above the countertops, washing the space with natural and artificial light,” he explains. “A dome integrates a functional roof with the aesthetics of great natural light.”
Domed ceilings are popular in entryways and living and dining areas, but they can also be used in other locations. “I like a domed ceiling above a breakfast nook or even a small reading room off the master bedroom,” says Nathan Outlaw, president at Onvico, a general contracting and design-build company in Thomasville, GA.
When used in an entryway, Outlaw says it’s important to think about the type of impression you’re trying to make. “I think that they make a cool impression in a front entry, but can be off putting with how grand they feel,” Outlaw says. “You want a home to feel inviting and an ill placed dome ceiling could come across as pretentious.”
“A dome ceiling can take more planning in the construction and design and will take skilled tradesmen to pull off correctly,” Outlaw says. “If a homeowner wants a dome ceiling, I would suggest looking for a contractor who has done one before and to ask to see – in person – an example of their work.”
“Domes add a sense of space and a sense of place to a room,” according to Leslie Saul of Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Design in Cambridge, MA. “They add space because the higher ceiling opens up the lid of the ceiling,” she says. “They add place because the dome gives a centering, an identity, and a sense of comfort to those who sit or stand under it.” The photo above is of one of Saul’s dome ceiling designs.
“A domed or rounded ceiling detail is a great custom feature that will set your room apart from others,” according to Terry Southwick of Southwick Construction in North Hampton, NH. “A foyer, over a dining table, or an office are the best applications in my opinion,” she says. “You can keep it light and white, or paint it with sky colors, or embellish with custom paint depending on your decor.”
The photo above is one of Southwick’s dome designs. “A dome ceiling is really a statement feature that can set off a room – with a lighting fixture in the center,” Southwick says. “With LED lighting around the perimeter, it can make a great impression or be a subtle classic detail to your home,” she explains. “It is a specialty feature, and obviously adds some cost to your project, but should be reasonable with a good contractor.”
Dome Ceiling Kits
“There are kits available that can be mounted in the ceiling and trimmed out and painted,” Southwick says. “The nicest way would be to custom frame and plaster in with the addition of crown mouldings to finish off the entire room.” Archways & Ceilings is one company that makes dome ceiling kits. The company provides instructions on how to measure for a dome kit and determine if you want a light ring. The dome ceiling ships in boxes, and can arrive in 3 to 10 business days.
If you incorporate a dome ceiling, how will it affect your home’s resale value? Will home buyers share your love of this unique design element?
“Dome ceilings should not be confined to museums, according to Nicole Durosko of Warburg Realty. “When found in a New York City apartment, an elaborate, classical charm is automatically added to the home.” But she admits that it’s not being asked for by popular demand.
Karen Kostiw of Warburg Realty doesn’t think that dome ceilings are that popular in large, urban areas like New York City – at least not among her clients – but she says they’re very popular in homes commutable to the City. “Buyers outside of the city like architecturally-designed ceilings in the master bedroom and great room,” Kostiw says. “You’re also likely to see this type of ceiling in dining and living rooms.
However, Howard Margolis of Douglas Elliman says it’s hard to accurately predict which homebuyers will like this style or not. “When it comes to dome ceilings, it depends on an individual’s personal taste and the existing style of their residence,” he says. “I find dome ceilings more often on Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue homes.” He says they’re most likely to be found in the entry foyer or rotunda. “But in general, I think they are a bit dated,” he concludes.