Of all the ceiling questions we get on our national radio show The Money Pit, removing popcorn ceilings has to rank as one of the most popular. These are probably biggest challenge up in the ceiling zone found in homes from the paneling-and-disco era.
At that time, popcorn ceilings were an acoustic solution and a handy way for builders to skip having to add three layers of drywall mud and tape (with the added distraction of those little sparkle bits that were scattered across the ceiling scape), but today, they can be an inconvenient eyesore.
Removal of a popcorn ceiling is possible, but it takes some pretty intense work to accomplish: you'll have to soak the popcorn ceiling treatment 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 of your popcorn ceiling, you can always use a high-pile, slitted roller to apply a new coat of color that coordinates with the rest of the room. This will make the popcorn ceiling appear brighter and cleaner and save you the backbreaking removal process.