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Wood Grilles in Wood Ceilings

wood grille

Ceiling design has come a long way in the past few decades. We are replacing our popcorn ceilings with an array of elements that deliver both beauty and practicality at record speed. When you’re looking for the perfect intersection of form and function, few things beat the wood grille ceiling. Wood grille ceilings deliver the natural beauty of wood ceilings with the acoustic benefits that truly transform our favorite spaces. They can turn plain looking rooms with noise issues into serene spaces that bring nature indoors. The best part? They do all this in an affordable package. 

If you’re new to the world of wood grille ceilings, we’ll introduce you. We’ll cover what they are and why they’re such an interesting option.

What is a Wood Grille Ceiling?

Those without much experience in different types of ceilings may not know what exactly a wood grille ceiling is. It’s understandable. They weren’t incredibly common in the past. If you saw one twenty years ago, it likely would have been in an upscale restaurant or office building. But, they are gaining in popularity and accessibility, and can now be found in all types of environments. 

A wood grille ceiling is pretty much what you would associate with any other type of grille. Whether the center of your backyard barbecues or affixed to the front of your car, the concept is the same. Grilles utilize parallel lines for both their form and function. 

Wood grille ceilings are a series of parallel slats that are either made of wood or wood veneer. They are affixed to one another with a dowel that passes through them. This construction allows us to hang pre-assembled grille ceiling tiles in any way that suits our purposes. It also delivers numerous benefits in design and acoustical control.

The Impact of Wood Grille Ceilings on Interior Design?

Let’s start with the fun part. When we’re designing our ceilings, the first point of emphasis for most of us is that they look great. There are a lot of different materials we can use to finish the ceiling, so what sets wood grilles apart? They deliver on a handful of design fronts, so let’s dig in.

Wood Grilles Make the Room Look Larger

It’s always nice when a design element makes a room look bigger. A ceiling grille is one of those elements. A linear wood grille ceiling makes rooms look larger by adding visual length to the room. Those long spans of wood slats provide perspective lines that we all love. They encourage our eyes to drift off into the distance, and are very effective at adding perceived length.

Wood Grilles Can Add Motion

Wood grilles don’t have to be flat, either. If your wood slats are affixed to a curved frame, you can create great motion. You can also create motion by varying where the dowel passes through the slats. Alternating the dowel between high and low points lets us get personal with our style. It’s also a fantastic way to add some variety to all the straight lines and 90˚ angles.

We can Get Creative with Ceiling Heights

There’s no reason all panels must be hung at the same height. By suspending some higher and some lower, we can create very dynamic looks. This works especially well when the room doesn’t have defined sections. With wood grille ceilings, we can turn a plain room into a creative collection of individual spaces. The vertical slats will help people communicate in those spaces by improving the acoustics. How do they do that?

How do wood grille ceilings improve the acoustics?

We mentioned that wood grille ceilings can improve the acoustics in a room, but how do they do it? It’s actually quite simple. You’ve just got to know a thing or two about acoustics.

Sound Waves Interact with Their Environment

Flat, parallel surfaces are a worst case scenario when it comes to acoustics. Sound waves travel in straight lines until they reflect off something. When they reflect off a surface like a wall, they travel across the room and hit the wall on the other side. As these waves bounce back and forth, they create audio anomalies and they increase in volume. Solid ceilings only exacerbate the situation.

If we don’t have design elements that absorb and redirect waves, we experience echo and reverb.


Most of us are familiar with echo. We create a sound, and seconds later, we hear that sound repeated back to us. This is due to the waves bouncing off the wall or other surface and returning. It’s a fun concept, but not so fun when it interferes with our communication and relaxation.


ceiling wood detail


Reverberation, or reverb, occurs when sound wave reflections build up in the room. When waves have nowhere to go, they multiply and increase in intensity. This makes the room sound louder. Often, people will speak louder to accommodate. This combination makes for loud spaces and troubles communicating. We protect our spaces against echo and reverb with sound absorption and diffusion.


The best sound absorbing materials are porous and dense. These materials trap sound waves and prevent them from bouncing back across the room. Acoustic panels are the go-to solution for attractive, effective sound absorption. They can be mounted to walls, suspended from ceilings, or placed on any flat surface in need of absorption. They’re also available in a variety of shapes and colors, so they fit into any design scheme.


Sound diffusion is a slightly different concept. When we diffuse sounds, we are scattering their reflections in multiple different directions. Sound diffusers use an array of surface depths and angles to redirect reflections around the room. Rather than strong, direct reflections, we experience a scattering of the sound. This allows the space to retain a live feel, but eliminates the audio issues associated with direct reflections. Diffusers are also available in many styles to suit any design.

Wood Grilles Combat Echo and Reverb

Wood grille ceilings deliver acoustic benefits through their diffusion. A wood grille ceiling is composed of a series of slats that create incredible surface area. Each of those surfaces work to move sound waves in multiple directions. It’s a simple and effective design, and it’s a wonderful way to stop the endless back and forth.

Double Up with an Acoustical Backer

Believe it or not, wood grille ceilings are capable of delivering both absorption and diffusion. Reinforcing them with an acoustical backer allows them to trap some of the waves that would have been reflected. 

Earlier, we touched on how suspending panels at different levels could help with communication. When we drop wood grille panels above defined areas, we prevent our conversations from traversing the room. That’s because they redirect a lot of sounds upward. If you’ve got a backer, that means they get absorbed, too. 

They’ll also benefit communication by absorbing sounds coming from overhead. Pipes and ducts can make a lot of noise. Absorbing them before they reach the ears below goes a long way toward creating a calmer ambiance. This allows us to communicate effectively at lower levels.

Wood is Acoustically Friendly

Another acoustical benefit comes with the wood itself. As a material, wood is actually great when it comes to a ceiling and acoustics. That’s because wood is relatively soft, and it’s not generally going to be completely flat. This means that it absorbs some sound frequencies, and gently scatters them to boot. Wood ceilings have been a fan favorite for millennia, and the grille design improves both form and function.

Wood is Versatile

Whether we prefer painted wood or stained to see the grains, there’s no doubt that wood is an incredibly versatile building material. Wood grille ceilings combine that versatility of wood with the functionality of an acoustical grille ceiling system. There are dozens of species of ceiling woods to choose from. Between solid woods and veneers, you’re sure to find something that works for you. 

Wood is Good for Our Souls

The greatest thing about going with wood may simply be that it makes us feel good. Bringing natural elements into our interior spaces puts us at ease. It connects us with nature as we spend more and more of our time indoors. It may also deliver health, environmental, and economic benefits. Surrounding ourselves with wood just feels good. A wood grille ceiling delivers.

Grille Ceilings are More Attainable than You May Think

Whether you’re considering a metal grille ceiling or are more into classic grilles, you can probably achieve it on budget. Look into your options to see how to get acoustical design materials that won’t break the bank. When it comes to ceiling wood, details are important. Reach out to learn how you can meet all your expectations. We’ve got the options and experience to make the whole process very painless.