11 Ways to Cover a Hideous Ceiling

There are many ways to cover an unsightly ceiling—here are 11 ceiling coverup ideas to consider.

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Ceiling Tiles For A Drop Ceiling
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Ceiling Tiles for a Drop Ceiling

If you don’t mind the ceiling looking like a commercial building, a drop ceiling can be an economical coverup. The project involves installing a grid system and placing ceiling tiles into the openings. It’s not a difficult project if you know how to use a level, and typically much more affordable than other methods.

These washable white ceiling tiles are mildew- and mold-resistant. Plus, they’re made not to sag. They come 40 per pack and can be applied in any room, from a basement to a bedroom.

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Panel And Faux Beam Ceiling
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Panel and Faux Beam Ceiling

Another relatively simple way to change the appearance of your ceiling is to install a panel and beam ceiling. The beams are not actually structural—they’re simple boxes installed to create the illusion of structural beams in the ceiling. You can shop these hollow decorative wood beams at Lowe’s and install them in three simple steps: Trim to fit, install the mounting plate and attach the beam to the plate. Boom, instant luxury!

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Tin Ceiling Ecomm Via Wayfair.com
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Tin Ceiling

In the 1920s it was popular to cover ceilings with copper or tin ceiling tiles and wood molding, giving them an elegant look. Modern metal ceiling tiles are installed using an adhesive compound. There are many styles available so you can create a unique look you’ll love. Check out these stunning metal tiles from American Tin Ceilings—we are obsessed with the richness the copper tiles bring to any room.

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Tongue And Groove Ceiling
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Tongue and Groove Ceiling

You can install a tongue-and-groove ceiling to hide a nasty ceiling in your room. Installing a tongue-and-groove ceiling is a somewhat slow process, but it is possible for a single person to do the job without help. This style is also one of our favorite patio ceiling ideas.

Shop ceiling planks like these faux-wood, surface-mount planks at your local hardware store. They come in a variety of finishes and colors like painted white, bamboo and rustic pine.

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Surface Mount Ceiling Tiles
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Surface-Mount Ceiling Tiles

Surface-mount ceiling tiles are easy to install. The grid for this system is much easier that the drop-ceiling grid, and the tiles attach directly to the grid. This is another project that can be done by one person, and in most cases, the tiles that go into place can be easily cut to size using scissors.

These glue-up PVC tiles have a similar look to tin ceiling tiles and can be glued over any flat substrates. The lightweight PVC is flexible and shouldn’t crack. Plus it’s water- and corrosion-resistant for durability.

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Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles Ecomm Via Wayfair.com
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Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles

Installing styrofoam ceiling tiles is one of the easiest ways to change an ugly ceiling into a beautiful one. The ceiling tiles attach directly to the existing ceiling using an adhesive. The beauty is that there are a number of different patterns available and they are not expensive.

Wayfair sells nested ceiling tiles that can be glued over almost any stable ceiling surfaces, including popcorn ceilings. These polystyrene tiles come in more than 30 different colors, but you can also paint them whatever color you like.

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Pvc Ceiling Tiles
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PVC Ceiling Tiles

While surface-mount ceiling tiles on the market are made of PVC, you can also find PVC tiles that are drop-in. Installing PVC ceiling tiles follows the same process as installing a conventional drop ceiling. Unlike regular drop-ceiling panels, the PVC panels are waterproof.

We love the sleek look of these black vinyl ceiling panels that are thick, impact-resistant and will not stain or rust.

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Drywall
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Drywall

Installing drywall is another solid solution for an ugly ceiling. The job requires two people to lift the panels, unless you use a lift. Once you’ve installed, primed and painted the new ceiling, it should be maintenance-free for many years. Even better, installing drywall is relatively cheap. You can buy drywall in bulk at hardware stores like Lowe’s.

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Paint
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Paint

Paint: It’s a simple solution, as long as you can get the ceiling surface in paintable condition. Repairing a ceiling is similar to repairing walls. It takes time and patience to get the surface ready to paint, and if you don’t fix the imperfections, every one of them will show when the lights are on.

Once you do fix them, however, you can be off and running with so many ceiling paint color trends. A dark green ceiling, like Benjamin Moore Hidden Falls, can add depth and dimension to a space.

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Wallpaper
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Wallpaper

Another ceiling coverup to consider is wallpaper. This is an opportunity to be bold, or at the very least, creative. Keep in mind that you may want to remove the wallpaper some day, so don’t skimp on the prep work recommended for the paper you purchase. Also, if there is a pattern to match, do so carefully or your ceiling could look out of whack! Opt for a neutral, 3D embossed wallpaper for a refined, elegant feel or go bold with a colorful wallpaper for a ceiling that makes a statement.

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Beadboard Panels
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Beadboard Panels

Beadboard panels are an efficient, economical way to get that popular tongue-and-groove, porchy look to cover up an unattractive ceiling. Compare wood and vinyl options and choose the one that best suits your budget and DIY aspirations. One of our favorite uses for this material is covering popcorn ceiling with beadboard.

This pre-finished beadboard can be installed as is or painted to match decor. It’s easy to use and install, and can be used to panel part or all of a wall.

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Mary Henn
Mary Henn, MFA is an Associate Shopping Editor at Family Handyman. She’s also a national award-winning writer and journalist. Her expertise lies in interior design, home decor, gardening and outdoor trends. When she’s not working on the latest content at FHM, you can find her reading poetry or hiking with her dog, Henry.