11 Ways to Cover a Hideous Ceiling

Updated: Jun. 09, 2024

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

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11 Ways To Cover A Hideous CeilingVIA MERCHANT

When you’re stuck with an eyesore above—whether it’s sporting outdated textures or stubborn stains—the idea of tackling a ceiling renovation can feel pretty overwhelming. But fear not! There are many solutions to spruce things up without going broke. We’ve found a slew of attractive methods to hide those imperfections and boost your space’s appeal. From easy-peasy DIY fixes to cool design tricks, get ready to breathe new life into your room with a ceiling that’s both functional and fab.

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Ceiling Tiles For A Drop Ceiling via merchant

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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Tin Ceiling Ecomm Via Wayfair.com via merchant

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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Surface Mount Ceiling Tiles via merchant

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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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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Panel And Faux Beam Ceiling via merchant

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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Tongue And Groove Ceiling via merchant

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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Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles Ecomm Via Wayfair.com via merchant

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 via merchant

via merchant

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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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: 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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Beadboard Panels via merchant

What to Look For When Shopping for Ceiling Covers

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.

When shopping for ceiling covers, focus on three key aspects:

  • Material
  • Style
  • Installation

Opt for durable materials like PVC or metal that match your decor style. Look for easy DIY installation options or consider hiring help for complex designs. Ensure the cover is easy to clean and resistant to mold. Lastly, stick to your budget while prioritizing quality. By considering these factors, you’ll find the perfect ceiling cover to enhance your space effortlessly.

Why You Should Trust Us

I’m an associate editor at Family Handyman and an expert at finding out the best products to turn your house into a home, including ones that cover up that ugly ceiling are no exception. With a background as a national award-winning writer and journalist, my expertise spans across interior design, home decor, gardening and outdoor trends. I’m also keeping a constant eye on the newest trends and technologies when it comes to home goods, easy DIY projects and emerging design.

How We Found the Best Ceiling Covers

We used our decades of experience and the advice of design professionals to find multiple approaches to covering up an ugly ceiling, from quick, easy fixes to advanced DIY projects. After that, we selected some of our favorite products that fit the various bills, based on our extensive research on home improvement products.


What is the best material to cover a ceiling?

Choosing the best material to cover a ceiling depends on your preferences and needs. Drywall offers versatility, while wood adds warmth and character. Metal is durable and modern, while PVC is lightweight and moisture-resistant. Polystyrene provides affordability and style, and fabric offers a softer, cozy feel.

What is the cheapest way to cover a textured ceiling?

A budget-friendly option to cover a textured ceiling is using paint. Simply apply a flat or matte paint over the texture for a smoother look. Another affordable choice is installing beadboard or thin plywood panels directly onto the textured surface. If you’re up for it, you could also explore wallpaper or ceiling tiles, though they might be a tad pricier.