Enhance a plain ceiling with decorative painted panels.

How to Redo Your Ceiling

by Eric Jonas

While you might never have thought of your ceiling as your room's focal point, it can go a long way to enhance or detract from the room's decor. You can give any room an instant makeover by redoing the ceiling to cover up old imperfections, add a little whimsical fun and even make the room feel larger.


Wallpaper isn’t just for the walls anymore. It can instantly change the look of your ceiling, adding texture, color or both. It is not the simplest ceiling transformation project, but you can cut and trim the wallpaper to fit any sloped or oddly shaped ceiling. You can choose from a wide variety of pattern and printed wallpaper or opt for a plain white paper with plenty of texture; enhance the ceiling further by painting the wallpaper in a light color to brighten and open up a room. Choose from unpasted wallpaper and apply the glue yourself, or prepasted paper, which is activated when the paper backing is wet.

Change the Texture

Add texture for a simple way to change the look of your ceiling -- it will cover up any cosmetic defects and imperfections that lie beneath. You can experiment with a wide selection of different shaped sponges, paint rollers or paintbrushes to create a custom texture, or paint with scrunched-up paper or lint-free cloths to enhance the texture even more. You can create an old-world decor by painting over tissue paper. Just paint a section of ceiling, scrunch up tissue paper and then smooth it out onto the section. Paint over top of the paper and let it dry. Regardless of the textured ceiling method you choose, be sure to cover your work area with drop cloths to keep from adding texture to the floor, too.

Pressed-Tin Panel

Add a little elegance to your ceiling by redecorating it with pressed-tin paneling. While fixing pressed-tin panels to a ceiling may sound like hard work, it certainly pays off and can help enhance a room without going over the top. Pressed-tin panels are commonly available in 2-by-4-foot panels and are attached to the ceiling with 1-inch nails. Begin by installing furring strips around the outer edge of the ceiling and then install additional furring strips across the ceiling, spaced every 12 inches on center. You will need someone to help you fix the panels and to help you make sure they’re straight. Once the panels are installed, you can seal them with a clear coat of polyurethane or paint them any color you like with oil-based paint.

Ceiling Medallion

For a quick and dramatic ceiling project, add a ceiling medallion in the center. You can opt for a traditional plaster medallion or choose lightweight vinyl instead to make the project as simple as possible. Install the medallion around the room's central chandelier or light fixture or make it a separate room enhancement and paint the center of the medallion with a contrasting paint color. Instead of just one medallion, you can also use several to create a pattern. You can create a row of identical medallions along the length of the ceiling or create a floral pattern with a central large medallion and several smaller ones surrounding the center. If you like an eclectic decor, install the medallions in random fashion on the ceiling and paint the center of each a different color -- a whimsical addition to a child’s playroom.


  • The Complete Home Decorating Idea Book; Kathleen S. Stoehr
  • Decorative Painting Techniques for Walls, Floors, Ceilings & Furniture; Elise Kinkead, et al.

About the Author

Eric Jonas has been writing in small-business advertising and local community newsletters since 1998. Prior to his writing career, he became a licensed level II gas technician and continues to work in the field, also authoring educational newsletters for others in the business. Jonas is currently a graduate student with a Bachelor of Arts in English and rhetoric from McMaster University.

Photo Credits

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