What are the Different Types of Ceiling Finishes and Textures?

When it comes to renovating the home, everyone gets the chance to be creative and play around with materials and designs to make their house look beautiful and unique. However, among all repairs and renovations, most homeowners forget to take the ceilings into consideration. And even when they do remember their ceiling, they are often unable to choose the best design. Instead, they end up picking ones they would later regret.

If you are thinking of renovating your ceiling or deciding about the design of your new ceiling, here are the different types of ceiling finishes and textures you may want to choose from:

Orange peel ceiling

The texture of an orange peel ceiling has some resemblance to – you guessed it – an orange peel. It’s a slightly bumpy yet still soft-looking texture. Also called splatter or eggshell, this texture is an all-time favorite among homeowners. It’s a popular choice because it’s easy to create, and you don’t need the help of a professional home renovator to recreate it for your home. Orange peel can be the best way to go if you prefer a texture with a subtle and understated look.

To create this texture, all you need is a spray gun and a mixture of thin mud. Add the paste to the gun set at high pressure, and spray it on the surface. Adjusting the hole will adjust the amount of mud-splattered, which changes the end look.

Knockdown ceiling

Common across the southern parts of the United States, knockdown refers to mud splattered on the walls, then knocked down using a large knife. It’s created by spraying the ceiling with a watered-down joint compound, then dabbing the wet layer to form a rugged pattern of peaks using a brush or sponge. Finally, the peaks are knocked down with a side of a knife, trowel, or a knockdown tool.

This technique is excellent for concealing some minor imperfections or adding some subtle depth to a room. It’s often seen in hotel rooms as an ideal replacement for wallpaper. It’s also great for living rooms and bedrooms, as it can add warmth, depth, and character to a room.

Popcorn ceiling

Popcorn ceiling texture

This type of ceiling design is also known as stucco, cottage cheese, acoustic, or fine aggregate ceiling. As the name suggests, this ceiling texture looks like popcorn pieces placed on a plate. It’s a classic defined ceiling texture that lasts for ages. Popular in many houses built in the ‘90s, the popcorn ceiling was a cost-effective way to make a ceiling look uniform. Recently, it has fallen out of favor because it’s hard to clean. While it’s not the most fashionable ceiling design nowadays, it still has considerable advantages like soundproofing.

Making this texture requires materials like stucco or Styrofoam and mud. You will need to use a sprayer to spurt the mixture on the ceiling, and it’s best if you hire a professional to do it. This is because the popcorn ceiling design makes a mess on the floor and nearby surfaces, which can be hard to clean.

Skip trowel ceiling

Skip trowel is another popular style for textured ceilings. Also known as Spanish knockdown, mud trowel knockdown, or Santa Fe, this style gives the ceiling dimension and a subtle stucco-like look. To achieve this style, you need to rely heavily on how well you work with a trowel, so make sure you’re handy enough before trying out this style for your home. This style is commonly found in high-end homes as it gives a bit of a Mediterranean look. If you’re looking for a low-key, classy look for your ceiling, the skip trowel design can be a great choice.

A skip trowel texture is created with a special knife that’s slightly curved and measures 18 inches across. You’ll also need coarse sand and an all-purpose joint compound. The mud mixture is kept somewhat runny, and it’s applied in a thin coat, so the mud skips when you glide the angular knife over it, making a unique texture.

Swirl ceiling

Created using conventional hand tools, the swirl ceiling design is one of the most beautiful designs that look exquisite. It isn’t as common as the other textures here, but it’s worth considering. Swirled ceilings come with a full or half circles pattern, made by swirling a tool through the compound before it sets. The swirls would add a great vintage feel to your home.

To create this design, you need a bristle brush and a roller. The mud is applied using a roller, but you can use a heavy-duty sprayer for huge surfaces. Then, make circles on the mud while it’s slightly wet by using a brush or a tool. The size of the circles will depend on the brush you use. Depending on your preferences, you can create big or small swirls, as well as a smooth or rough pattern.

Lace-textured ceiling

Lace-textured ceilings take a lot of time and effort to create because it’s the most artistic ones. It’s also slightly more difficult to make. However, if you choose the colors right and do it well, you will undoubtedly achieve a beautiful, new look for your ceiling. This design technique can also be used to conceal badly cracked ceilings and to mask any flaws on the surface.

It uses dark and light tones of the same color, and the ceiling surface is first covered with one shade. Once it dries, the pattern is added on top of it using a different paint color. This makes the wall look like a lacy fabric. When applying the second layer using a tool of your choice, make some splotches to create a lacey appearance.

Spray sand ceiling

Just like orange peel, spray sand is a texture best achieved using a spray or a spraying tool. Its main difference from the former is that spray sand ovals are more refined in size, making them look less smooth. It’s a relatively new but more feasible design for ceilings in terms of ease of creating and the items needed. Though it seems a bit similar to orange peel, it looks more artistic, and it can do a significant job hiding imperfections in the ceiling.

All you need is a mud mixture and a spray gun, and you can achieve an impressive ceiling design that looks sophisticated and elegant within minutes. But you need to mix the sand with cold water, then leave it overnight before application.

Flat or smooth ceilings

A living room with a smooth ceiling

Finally, flat or smooth ceiling textures are the most classic and understated look. It’s the cheapest and easiest to apply, and it’s the most common choice for modern homeowners. If you have sheetrock ceilings, you have the option to leave the ceilings flat. You need a paint roller and brush, some paint, and apply the paint to the ceiling. After all, ceilings are rarely a focal point of any room, so a flat ceiling would be fine if you want them to recede.

The drawback with flat ceilings is that imperfections can show. To hide these flaws and still keep your ceiling smooth, you need to add more layers of mud and additional sanding. So if you live in an older house or have had drywall repairs done – a flat ceiling may not be the best option.