When deciding on the design of your patio or alfresco, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is the material you will use to line the ceiling. The ceiling is just as important as the flooring, helping you to not only to create a complete ‘look’, but also helping you to make the most of the light you have available.


Choosing the right ceiling lining material for your project will depend on a number of factors – the first of those being the direction the alfresco faces. If the alfresco faces north, it will typically enjoy sun throughout the day. If it faces west, it will enjoy sun from midday onwards. However, if the alfresco faces south or east, it will not receive as much light.


For north and west facing alfrescos, you will have to think about creating a space that provides the maximum amount of shade. Being darker, a cedar roof could certainly provide that. Unlike a white ceiling, cedar would also minimise the amount of sun reflecting into the alfresco, helping to keep it cooler and in deeper shade.


On the other hand, if your alfresco faces south or east, you may want to make the most of the light you have. To do this, a white ceiling that reflects more sunlight may be better than a cedar ceiling, helping to create a brighter, lighter area under the alfresco.


Your choice will also depend on the design of the roof. A hipped roof reflects less light than a gabled roof, which may make the alfresco seem darker. If you are trying to maximise the light in your alfresco and you have a flat roof, a white ceiling may your best option. However, if you have plenty of light and a pitched or gabled roof, cedar could be a good choice.


When choosing your ceiling material, you will also need to think about the overall design of your project with regards to how the ceiling, floor and design features work together. If you have a timber decking, you may find that a cedar ceiling may make it look like there is too much timber packed into the one area.


Light pavers or stone flooring can look great when offset against cedar ceilings, while timber decking can look better set against a white ceiling. With timber decking and cedar ceilings there can also be lighting issues, as the timber on both the floor and ceiling may make the alfresco seem much darker than it actually is.


It’s also worth bearing in mind that cedar also has natural colour variation, which can be incorporated into the design of your ceiling. 


If you love cedar but are worried about it being too dark, you may want to consider mixing a white gyprock lining with a feature panel of cedar in the centre of the ceiling. This could give you the warm, natural look of cedar, while providing the light you need as well.


In terms of cost, cedar ceilings usually work out to be slightly more expensive than standard ceilings, and in terms of maintenance, both painted gyprock and sealed timber ceilings require very little upkeep.