How to Create a Tray Ceiling With Up-Lighting


If you have ever leafed through a decorating magazine and seen rooms with spectacular indirect lighting, chances are you were looking at a tray ceiling with rope lighting. Although a lit tray ceiling appears to be a complex architectural feature because it imparts such high visual impact, the fact is that creating the look is not as complicated as it seems. Indirect lighting in a tray ceiling is a decorative way to solve lighting problems by eliminating glare and adding a feeling of space to a small room. A tray ceiling with indirect lighting can be installed by using crown molding and LED rope lights.

  • Look through magazines to get ideas about creating a tray ceiling with up-lighting. This effect can accentuate an interesting shape of the ceiling, provide an appealing architectural detail and supply even, soft light throughout the room.

  • Visit a showroom that features crown and other types of molding that you can use to create a tray ceiling. Pay particular attention to molding especially designed for this purpose. Select the crown molding style that will enhance the decoration of your home.

  • Measure the room to determine how many linear feet of crown molding you will need and add 10 percent to account for waste. To figure out how much to buy, divide the total number of linear feet by the molding length. For example, if the crown molding is purchased in 8-foot lengths, divide the total number of linear feet in your room by eight.

  • Contract a professional to miter the corners, butt-joint molding lengths that do not span the entire room and ensure that the patterns in the crown molding are correct for the best results.

  • Allow the crown molding to rest in the room where it will be installed for 48 to 72 hours. This allows the molding to adjust to the humidity and temperature of the room before installation.

  • Apply a continuous 1/4-inch bead of construction adhesive along the back top and bottom of the crown molding. Install the crown molding below the ceiling to create the tray ceiling effect. Start behind a door or in another inconspicuous place to hide imperfections in pattern matching.

  • Hire an electrician to install any electrical lines or outlets needed for the indirect lighting. Lay the rope lights in the molding. Install a dimmer switch if desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • When purchasing molding with repeating designs of more than 6 inches, add an additional 5 percent to the total length.
  • You can paint the molding before installing it or afterward.
  • Some rope lights for molding come in a kit with a power cord, end cap, tie straps and mounting clips.

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  • Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images
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