An open ceiling, whether a tray or vaulted space, makes any room feel larger. Because the ceiling is approximately one-fifth of a room's visual space, pushing this area upward increases the cubic feet of space within the room. The reflected light overhead, if the ceiling has light fixtures or light painted surfaces, adds to the expanded feeling as well.
You can remove the ceiling to open a room, provided attic space will accommodate the upward expansion. A single-story ranch home, for example, can have a vaulted ceiling for the whole house. You will need to rework attic rafters with angle iron added to eliminate the need for ceiling cross beams or joists. By installing angle iron in the peak areas of the roof structure, attic floor joists -- which comprise the ceiling rafters -- can be totally removed.
The ceiling over one room can be taken out in several ways. You can, for instance, open a ceiling to a reveal a sloping attic roof. If you want to remove the room's ceiling and add a large skylight over a home office, you can do this by building a skywell lined with drywall, as one option. Naturally, attic space issues such as house plumbing or electrical wiring routes will need consideration.
It's possible to take out drywall and rebuild attic space with timber framing. This method works well with rustic homes where you need strong structural framing, but you want it to look artistically appealing from the room below. Well-crafted metal or high-quality wooden rafters can be installed to show from the home's interior. The new open space over one or more rooms can add to the spacious feeling, and it's possible to use over-size chandeliers to accent the open ceiling area.
High Cabinet Storage
Opening a ceiling can add storage space overhead to remove bulk from the room below. For example, you can push the ceiling upward to build a bookcase and storage unit extending 10 feet in height versus 8 feet, the usual room height. Uppermost cabinets in the wall unit can hold holiday decorations, seldom-used dishes and camping equipment. Having this storage creates the option to use less cabinetry in the room's actual floor space.
A unique design to create a sleeping loft is possible to enlarge true living space. You can extend the ceiling upward to create a small balcony for sleeping space in a cabin or vacation home. By using this attic space, you can turn a small bedroom into a bigger bedroom for three children versus one child, for example. It's relatively simple to construct upper balcony framework and a staircase in the room ceiling, so that the entire ceiling doesn't have to be removed.