Do me a favor, and look up at your ceiling—thanks. Now let me politely ask “WHY THE HELL DID YOU JUST LEAVE YOUR DRYWALL CEILING BLANK BUT PAINT YOUR DRYWALLED WALLS A COLOR?” No, I’m not yelling, I just don’t really understand. White drywall ceilings are fantastic when (a) they’re part of an all-white-aesthetic (b) the ceilings are coffered or (c) they’re clad with beadboard or tongue-and-groove wood painted out white or (d) you’re broke and can’t afford another gallon of $26 paint.
Sure, this is totally subjective; however, as someone who gets paid to improve people’s homes, I can attest firsthand that it’s an easy way to give a room new identity, play up its assets or tone down its shortcomings. Here’s a few ceiling design ideas for different levels of DIY. Hey, you spend hours picking paint colors, taping off trim, then rolling eggshell enamel on your walls; it’s only fair you pay some attention to their upstairs neighbor. Right?
Armstrong Residential Ceilings offers a huge assortment of ceiling tiles for spaces with unfortunate but necessary drop-ceilings. In basements, or as I like to call them, “terrace levels,” drop-ceilings allow instant access to leaky pipes or damaged wiring. Sure, the grids can be torn out, then drywall can go up; however, that’s a major headache and if you can’t do it yourself, it’s also major cost. Simply swap out unsightly foam tiles for “Raised Panel” tiles which can be left in their matte white finish to help bounce light around or they can be customized with paint. In this basement’s bedroom, my team updated the ceiling in about four hours; the only tool needed was a utility knife to cut the end pieces to size. Once installed, we sprayed the ceiling and the walls the same shade of dove grey. This is a great project for people with beginner DIY skills.
Beadboard is an affordable way to go directly over unsightly popcorn or stippled ceilings, like this, which I used in the makeover of FOX News reporter Stacy Elgin’s home office. In this designer’s studio, I added a layer of architectural interest to boring, new construction, drywall ceilings with Armstrong Residential Ceilings “WoodHaven Beadboard”, then painted it a plum color found in accents of the wallpaper. What’s so great about using this product is that it’s engineered specifically for ceilings; it comes in thin planks which are much easier to install than basic beadboard which comes in 8X4 sheets. Since this involves cuts with a chopsaw, I’d recommend this for homeowners with medium DIY skills.
If you’ve got almost zero DIY skills, I’m certain you can tackle this: paint stippled ceilings the same color as your walls using a flat finish paint. When I overhauled this Rhode Island teachers’ lounge, I couldn’t help but obsess over the ugliness of the chipped, stippled effect above. Limited on time, labor and budget, I needed a quick fix to just simply make it go away. Two gallons of flat paint and an extender pole were all I needed.
Woodhaven plank systems are my go-to products for complete ceiling overhauls. You’ll need advanced DIY skills to complete them yourself: be able to make cuts with a chop saw, measure meticulously for proper line-up and attach furring strips to the studs with a nail gun.
Once installed, they give the look of a custom, stained wood ceiling. This particular style is called “Weathered”; it took a full weekend to install.
Here’s a painted ceiling project for medium-skilled DIY’ers with steady hands. Add graphic impact to boring, white drywall with a taped off, painted pattern. In this neutral boy’s room, I revved up the energy with a few bursts of pea green and brown in unexpected places: bookshelf panels and a 14X12 ceiling. To create perfect stripes, I simply measured, then taped off 14-inch alternating stripes, then painted them with a roller. This cost less than $100 and took a weekend. Small price to pay to escape the hell of a neglected drywall ceiling, don’t ya think?