4 do-it-yourself ceiling design ideas

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You want to change the ceiling of your home: You’ve heard that this can transform a room, or maybe you’re just tired of staring at its scratched surface. However, a complete, form-changing redesign of the “fifth wall” is not feasible for either financial or structural reasons.

Luckily, there are a few ceiling redesign ideas you can try that don’t require an expensive, major overhaul or structural changes. While they’re mostly cosmetic fixes, they can still make a big difference – and can even be DIY projects.

The following four ceiling design ideas could be just what the room needs.

1. Paint your ceiling

One of the simplest improvements you can make to a ceiling is – give it a fresh coat of paint. Dust, air pollutants and time itself can dull, stain or yellow a ceiling.

Just because a ceiling is called “the fifth wall,” don’t assume it has to be the same color as the other walls: a contrasting or complementary hue can be pretty chic. You can certainly go beyond the proverbial white and try a metallic finish that conveys a sense of luxury. Darker, bolder colors enclose the space for a more intimate effect; lighter ones widen it and direct the eye upwards. You can even try stenciling designs in the corners or other strategic places.

2. Give the ceiling a panel – and shape it

Give the room a polished, finished look by investing in crown molding and moldings. Adding a decorative ceiling medallion to frame a light fixture, pendant, or chandelier is an easy project. Most medallions are lightweight and can be attached with construction adhesive to add a rich layer to your ceilings. Also, adding a locket is a lot cheaper than tackling a full ceiling overhaul as you can buy a locket for as little as $20.

When you’re ready to dabble in carpentry and the science of miter cutting, adding moldings along the ceiling edges where the walls meet could give even the simplest house or shoebox room a custom look. For greater impact, consider incorporating LED lighting into the crown molding to illuminate the ceiling for a beautiful glow (in your choice of color). Pouring can get expensive, especially if you hire a professional to install it, but this artisanal upgrade will improve your home’s appeal.

3. Install the ceiling tile

Any room could benefit from ceiling tiles to draw the eye upwards and add some visual interest. When we say ceiling tiles, we don’t mean the putty-colored squares on those floating drop ceilings you find in sterile offices. Rather, we are referring to a variety of lightweight yet architectural options that add texture and style – and are also ideal for concealing imperfections in the ceiling such as cracks, bad mud/plastering and other issues.

Whether your home style is art deco, farmhouse or modern, there is a design for self-adhesive tiles. Some ceiling tiles are made of tin or copper and cost about $4 to $5 per square foot plus adhesive—great for kitchens and bathrooms. There are also intricately patterned adhesive ceiling tiles made of PVC or other materials that are easy to install.

4. Remove the popcorn top

Removing that old, dingy popcorn ceiling could make a dramatic difference in how modern (not to mention attractive) a room looks.

Removing the popcorn isn’t difficult, but it does take patience and elbow grease. It’s going to make a mess, so lay lots of tarp and plastic on the floors and walls before you start. When finished, use a spray bottle to moisten and soften the popcorn finish. Then use a plastic or metal scraper to remove the popcorn.

Once all of the popcorn texture is removed, you may be able to paint the ceiling right away. However, in most cases a thin layer of plaster may be required to smooth the surface. You might want to hire a contractor for this aspect of the job: if so, expect to at least pay them $390 or $1.10 to $1.30 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor. But it might be worth saving time and getting a perfectly flat surface – one of the points of removing the popcorn in the first place.

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