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14 Ways to Cover a Hideous Ceiling

There are many ways to cover an unsightly ceiling, whether it's genuinely ugly or you just want a change. Some of these projects are economical and others are more of an investment. So, the path you take to cover your ceiling depends on how much you're willing to spend and your own personal taste. Here are 14 ceiling coverup ideas to consider.

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corrugated tin ceilingRapheephat Ladsritha/Shutterstock

Corrugated Tin Ceiling

Installing a corrugated tin ceiling is a unique way to get a minimalist/industrial vibe in a room. The metal is attached directly to the ceiling joists with screws and is easy to maintain.

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drop ceilinge2dan/Shutterstock

Cheap Ceiling Tiles for a Drop Ceiling

If you don’t mind the ceiling looking like a commercial building, a drop ceiling is 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 it’s much more economical than most other methods.

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Panel and Faux Beam Ceiling JZhuk/Shutterstock

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.

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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.

Photo: Courtesy of DecorativeCeilingTiles

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Tongue and Groove Ceiling installStockphotoVideo/Shutterstock

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.

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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.

Photo: Courtesy of DecorativeCeilingTiles

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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.

Photo: Courtesy of

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PVC ceiling

PVC Ceiling Tiles

Installing PVC ceiling tiles follows the same process as installing a conventional drop ceiling. PVC plastic tiles come in 24 inch x 24 inch sections and unlike regular drop-ceiling panels, the PVC panels are waterproof.

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Paneling was very popular 50 years ago and when it fell out of favor, people removed it or covered it up. Depending on the look you’re after, paneling over an ugly ceiling is still a viable option. Be sure to take into account the weight of the paneling. You’ll need solid framework to attach the paneling to.

Photo: Courtesy of Armstrong Ceilings

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drywall ceilingDagmara_K/Shutterstock


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. If it ever begins to sag, here’s how to fix it.

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fabric ceiling gatherAleksey Korchemkin/Shutterstock


How about fabric to hide a hideous ceiling? You’ll need many yards to get this drapey effect, so pay close attention to the price per yard.

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painting ceiling Family Handyman


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 will show when the lights are on. Once you do however, you can be off and running with so many ceiling paint color trends.

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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!

Photo: Courtesy of Studio M Interiors

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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 ideas for this material is covering popcorn ceiling with beadboard.

Photo: Courtesy of Interior-Exterior Homie