How to Use Fabric to Dress Up a Ceiling

Updated April 17, 2017

The ceiling is one of the most-neglected areas of any room when decorating. Walls are painted and decorated, and the room itself is filled with designer furniture--yet ceilings are often plain white and boring. Treat the ceiling like an empty canvas by draping it with fabric. This softens a room or adds dramatic flair to your living space. Shirred or gathered fabrics provide a romantic, soothing atmosphere when draped across a room.

Measure the width and length of the room with a measuring tape. The length of the fabric should be the length of the room plus an additional fourth of that measurement to allow enough fabric for draping. Multiply the width times 2 to determine the amount of fabric you need to cover the ceiling area, and divide that number by the width of fabric on the bolt to calculate how many pieces, or panels, of fabric you need.

Select a thin fabric that gathers easily--satin, silk or chiffon are good choices. Pick a neutral colour for a softening effect or a bold colour to add drama.

Use a hammer to install thin curtain rods on opposite walls of the room. Place the rods near the ceiling.

Sew a 1/2-inch seam around all sides of the fabric for a finished appearance. Fold the fabric at over each end of the panel and sew a 1-inch pocket the full width of the fabric. Repeat until all fabric panels have been finished.

Guide a curtain rod through a pocket on one end of the fabric. Slide the opposite end of the fabric onto a curtain rod on the other side of the room to drape the fabric across the room. Repeat until all fabric panels are hung.


Create a double-swag look by running a piece of wire across the centre of the room, parallel to the curtain rods, and securing it to the wall with screw eyes. Pull the fabric panels over the wire and drape to your liking.


Threading fabric onto the rods can take concentration. Ask another person to help hold the ladder steady or hold the extra fabric as you work.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Silk or chiffon fabric
  • Hammer
  • Curtain rods
  • Sewing machine
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About the Author

Lynne Vanders has been writing professionally since 2010. Previously an insurance agent, she has guest written several blogs and been published in "Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine." Vanders holds a Bachelor of Science in English from Iowa State University.