Inexpensive ceiling covering ideas

Updated April 17, 2017

Why should dentist offices have all the fun? Putting a personal decorating stamp on your ceilings is easier and less expensive than you may realise. Below are ways to add colour, texture and personality with a few simple materials and techniques. They're divided into skill levels, but other than a mural, they're all doable by even a novice decorator.


Paint is one of the most inexpensive decorating techniques available, and there are plenty of ways to use it beyond the walls.

Skill Level 1: Paint the ceiling a different colour than the walls and say goodbye to the white ceiling doldrums. A darker shade adds drama and works well in a foyer. A light blue ceiling mimics the outdoors---perfect for a play space.

Skill Level 2: Stencil a border motif around the ceiling edge instead of the wall to create dimension and draw the eye upward. Stencils can be simple, one-color designs or more elaborate; so, choose a design that matches your skill level. A flat-bristled stencil brush is worth the small investment to get a professional look.

Skill Level 3: Murals, when done well, create a high-end look that transforms a room. If you or someone you know has the artistic ability, consider your ceiling a canvas and display a masterpiece.


Enlist the help of window coverings to create an innovative ceiling look.

Skill Level 1: Use fabric to create a bohemian mood. Screw four small hooks in the centre of the ceiling, or around the perimeter of an overhead light fixture, in alignment with the centre of each wall. Next, screw one small hook into the middle of each wall (measure first), as close to the ceiling as possible. Attach one end of a long scarf or piece of inexpensive fabric to the centre hook and the other end to the wall hook. Repeat with the three other sides.

Skill Level 2: If you can find bamboo blinds on sale or at a yard sale, attach them directly to the ceiling with a staple gun. This works best for rooms without bay windows or other irregular ceilings so there's no cutting to fit odd spaces. A similar paint colour under the blinds gives a more professional finish.


No need to wear the paper glasses. Create dimension by hanging inexpensive objects from the ceiling. You're only limited by your imagination!

Skill Level 1: Use tacks to cover the ceiling with maps. If you don't have a stash of old maps, find some on their own or in used atlases at yard sales. Don't be a perfectionist here. Overlap to create a collage effect. Drop a matchbox car or small aeroplane on a short string from the cities you hope to visit.

Skill Level 2: Create an allover mobile for a nursery or toddler's room by hanging boldly-coloured, geometric shapes at various heights. Cut the shapes from poster board and face the surface towards the floor. Thread fishing line through the centre of the shape, and secure with a bead or piece of clear tape. Attach the other end of the line to small hooks or tacks in the ceiling. For older children, use glitter stars or CDs, and don't worry about the shapes facing the floor.

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About the Author

Julie Thompson is a partner at A Book in the Hand, which helps authors edit, design and market nonfiction books. She has written marketing collateral, including Web content, brochures and white papers, for a variety of businesses and clients including MTV Networks, PBS and Wells Fargo. In addition, she was a contributing editor for two Weldon Own books and was published in "Mothering" magazine.