Stylish Ways to Upgrade Your Dated Ceiling

Elevate any room with these stylish ceiling treatments.

So you're tired of your unsightly ceiling—whether it's plaster, drywall, or popcorn, it's time to add some character not just to your ceilings, but to your entire home. Luckily, decorative molding, splashes of color, and patterned ceiling tiles can revive and refresh any living space. Get the elegant detail or rustic touch you're looking for (and say goodbye to dull ceilings) with these trendy ceiling updates.

Trim the Top

Updating ceiling trim and molding is one of the simplest ways to take your rooms from average to outstanding. Even basic crown molding with clean lines can achieve old-house charm. Elaborate trim work around an entire room or just above kitchen cabinets creates an elegant architectural detail, making your space look more expensive. To turn plain drywall into a decorative focal point, consider having a ceiling medallion installed above a fancy light fixture. Finding the right size and style to match your other molding and furnishings can be a difficult project, as it requires taking into account the size of your light fixture, fan, and room, as well as your ceiling height. Have a ceiling contractor help you decide which design will best fit your home.

For a more dramatic makeover, cosmetic grid moldings can convert a drop ceiling into a stunning coffered ceiling. This ceiling treatment is an easy way to give your space a formal facelift without going through a major renovation. Trim can also give ceilings a recessed look by framing small sections of a larger area. A ceiling contractor can assist with properly spacing out and installing these faux frames for a custom layout that highlights your home's design.

Let's Talk Trim

Add an Unexpected Pop of Color

If your ceiling is stark white, a little splash of color can go a long way in bringing new life to a dowdy room. Solid or textured, any ceiling can be painted when the right tools are used. Popcorn ceilings are more difficult to paint over, and can cause spattering and dust to disperse. Leave this task to a professional painter to get even coverage across the whole area, or help you get rid of this dated trend all together.

As a general rule, light-color ceilings appear higher, while those that are darker appear lower. A dark ceiling can create a cozy atmosphere for a more intimate space like a bedroom or dining room, or become a contrasting backdrop for a beautiful chandelier. Muted tones, like pale grays, blues, and greens, are great options for primary living areas; they're neutral enough so you won't grow tired of them, but they still add interest to an ordinary room. Small rooms, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and children's bedrooms, can handle a bright or bold ceiling. To make the color really stand out, keep your walls white for an eye-catching visual contrast.

Play with Patterns

When it comes to decorating with patterns, ceilings aren't the first place you think of; but when done tastefully, a patterned ceiling can create high-impact style. Whether you have a drywall or drop ceiling, wallpaper and ceiling tiles can make a well-designed room come alive. Though wallpaper is a tricky material, the results are stunning and unexpected, especially overhead. Between geometric prints, timeless motifs, and woodgrain patterns, there are plenty of wallpaper options to match your personal style. Ceiling tiles offer more traditional designs, and are a quick way to bring a sophisticated flair to any home. Choose from embossed metal panels for an authentic vintage look and coffered ceiling tiles for a stately feature.

Decorating with a patterned ceiling requires multiple considerations, including style, material, scale and proportion to your space, and coordination with existing design elements. Generally, rooms that are taller and wider can accommodate larger patterns. Get help from a ceiling contractor to install a print that will enhance, not distract, from your space.

Want to Wallpaper Your Ceiling?

Wood Isn't Just for Floors

Want to bring more warmth and comfort to a charming cottage or modern farmhouse? You can create the ultimate rustic atmosphere by adding wood panels to your ceilings. Beaded board, whitewashed, or reclaimed wood panels, complete with knots and unique woodgrain patterns, can be the finishing touch your country-chic home needs, and a carpenter can help you achieve this look by staining, painting, and arranging each board so you can get your dream planked ceiling.

Get Très Chic Recessed Ceilings

Turn flat drywall into a stylish recessed ceiling, and skip the home overhaul, with faux tray treatments. A true tray ceiling is made up of drywall and wood planks, and can be costly and time-consuming. With layers of crown molding, you can achieve architectural interest without going through major construction. This addition can make a low ceiling look higher, causing the whole room to feel bigger as a result. Tray ceilings can also be painted or patterned to make the recessed area stand out.

Better Homes & Gardens Tip: If you're not set on installing a tray ceiling, you can fake the raised effect with painted borders. Using different shades of the same color for the border can amplify the appearance of a tray ceiling as well.

Fake It with Faux Ceiling Beams

Exposed ceiling beams are a decorative element that many homeowners are after. However, true wood beams can be extremely heavy and expensive to install. With faux wood beams, you can achieve this salvaged look for a fraction of the price. Thanks to modern technology, faux beams are designed to resemble real wood, including the color, pattern, and grain. This means you won't have to worry about them rotting, cracking, or warping—all concerns with traditional wood. Many faux beams have a hollowed core, which helps reduce price and weight. Even though these beams aren't as heavy, it's still a good idea to get help from a pro to make sure they're properly secured and supported.

When paired with a vaulted ceiling, faux beams add rustic flair and architectural detail to the room's high cathedral ceiling. If your home has flat ceilings, don't stress. Faux beams can bring warmth to any room, creating an inviting space for friends and family. Don't dismiss this trend if you have a more contemporary style; beams can be painted or stained to match even the most modern home. Talk to a contractor to see how faux beams can be incorporated into your ceiling design.

Take Care of Your Outdated Ceiling

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