When planning a room redesign, it’s easy to get preoccupied with dressing the walls and floors, but don’t forget to look up. Remember, your guests will, just as soon as you step out to get the drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Ceilings need attention, too, and there are a lot of beautiful options for freshening them up or converting what you’ve already got in place.

Repairing and repainting is one way to go. Decorative embossed metal tiles are another. Dropped ceilings are seeing a stylish renaissance with innovative new grid and tile materials, available in profiles ranging from richly coffered ceilings to subtle textures. You can also use these new products to update an existing suspended-ceiling system, allowing you to both maintain access to wiring and other utility elements while keeping update costs under control.

No popcorn, please
Options for Ceiling MakeoversProbably the biggest challenge up in the ceiling zone is those lovely “popcorn” finishes found in homes from the paneling-and-disco era. At the time, they were an acoustic solution and a handy way for builders to cover up construction mistakes (with the added distraction of those little sparkle bits that were scattered across the ceilingscape), but today, they can be an inconvenient eyesore.

Removing a popcorn ceiling is possible, but it takes some pretty intense work to accomplish. You’ll have to soak the popcorn surface with water (we recommend using a pump garden sprayer for this) and then scrape it all away with a six-inch drywall knife. You’ll then be left with a lot of material that should be disposed of properly, not mention some significant ceiling repair before applying an oil-based primer and a flat finish.

There are maybe a million better ways to spend a Saturday, starting with your annual dental cleaning. If you can live with the texture, you can always paint the popcorn ceiling for an updated look. Use a high-pile, slitted roller to apply a new coat of color that coordinates with the rest of the room.

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