13 materials for finishing the ceiling of the living room

9 min

The living room in most apartments is the place where the family spends the most time, rests and receives guests. It is not surprising that everyone wants to make this room as stylish, comfortable and beautiful as possible. In order for the living room to be perceived appropriately, due attention must be paid to the choice of finishing material for the ceiling. With the help of various options, you can give the room any look: everything from whitewashing to metal and fabric is used. Our article will help to analyze the main properties of these materials and choose the most suitable one.

# 1. Painting

Despite the existence of a huge number of different ways to decorate the ceiling in the living room, many use a proven option – painting. The painting process takes a minimum of time, it is not laborious, and everyone can even cope with all the work on their own. In addition, you will not be limited in colors and shades, since you can choose whatever you want. High-quality water-based paints, which are recommended to be used for these purposes, dry quickly, have almost no odor, and are easy to clean.


Painting the ceiling will not take away valuable centimeters of height, but, on the other hand, you will have to work hard to prepare the surface, because any flaw, crack or hole will be visible. It is also worth considering that a glossy surface will only emphasize even minor irregularities, so in some cases it is better to pay attention to matte paints. If the initial state of the ceiling is completely deplorable, then comparing all the costs, pros and cons, in some cases, it is advisable to decide to level it with drywall sheets, and only then start painting.

# 2. Whitewash

Whitewashing these days is no longer as popular a type of ceiling decoration as it used to be, but still, if the repair is done by hand, and the main goal is to put the apartment in order and save as much as possible, then whitewashing can be considered a worthy solution. It is easy to apply, the material is cheap, and the height of the living room will not change. In addition, the whitewash has excellent vapor permeability and fire safety properties.


Among the shortcomings, it is worth noting the low durability of the coating and the ability to crack and turn yellow over time. Experts advise adding a little blue color to it before applying the material to the surface, which will prolong the fresh look of the ceiling and hide its yellowness. It is important not to apply chalky whitewash over lime and vice versa, therefore it is better to remove the old layer before the new whitewash. The original surface, by the way, as in the case of painting, should be as flat and smooth as possible.

No. 3. Wallpaper

Wallpaper looks good not only on the walls, but also on the ceiling. Among the advantages of this option for finishing the ceilings in the living room are cheapness, a variety of textures and colors, an interesting effect that gives comfort to a room. Dense wallpaper, moreover, can hide some of the imperfections of the ceiling, but this will not affect the height in any way. An unusual effect can be obtained if you use fabric wallpaper, and wallpaper for painting will allow you to easily change the color of the ceiling several times.

It is not so difficult to glue the wallpaper on the ceiling on your own – the main thing is to immediately find an assistant, since this work is much easier to do together. Thanks to the drawing of the material, you can visually correct some defects, make the ceiling a little higher. So, an asymmetric pattern will hide cracks and irregularities, and striped wallpaper that extends from the walls to a part of the ceiling can visually make the living room taller.


There are also disadvantages to this kind of finish. Firstly, this is not the longest service life, which for different types of wallpaper ranges from 5 to 15 years. Secondly, with the non-standard shape of the living room, installation becomes more complicated, up to its impossibility and inexpediency.

No. 4. Polystyrene tiles

Ceilings finished in this way are often called glue ceilings, as lightweight polystyrene tiles are glued directly to the ceiling, and this process is simple and effortless. Such tiles are inexpensive, and their assortment is huge. The material can be smooth, have some kind of pattern, imitate stucco, woodcarving, mother of pearl, have a laminated surface, and with the help of paint you can give any color. Options with a price above average look very decent, and can be a decoration for any living room. Leaving will not cause any special problems.


Of the minuses of this finish, it is worth noting the fact that polystyrene tiles do not allow air to pass through, and the cheapest specimens tend to turn yellow under the influence of sunlight. In addition, you will have to pay attention to the planning of the living room lighting, because closely spaced light sources can deform the slabs as a result of high temperatures – they should be placed at a distance of at least 20 cm from the ceiling.

No. 5. Stretch ceiling

This is one of the most popular and modern types of ceiling finishes in the living room. It can be matte or glossy, and the latter is great for living rooms with low ceilings, because the reflective surface creates the illusion of additional space. You can choose any color and pattern up to photo printing using the required image. In addition, thanks to the stretch ceiling, you can create a multi-level structure using different types of lighting, thereby zoning the space. Another advantage of such a finish is the speed of installation and the absence of dirty work, as well as the durability of the coating, practicality and safety.


The main disadvantage of stretch ceilings is the high price, but it is more than offset by all the advantages of the coating. Although it is easy to care for the stretch ceiling, it can be damaged by sharp objects, and it will be impossible to repair it. Do not forget also that the design of stretch ceilings takes away centimeters of the room’s height, but thanks to the glossy surface, this drawback can be compensated for.

№6. Drywall

Drywall is another popular finishing material that is used everywhere today. Plasterboard is ideal for decorating the ceiling of a living room, because it can be used to equip a multi-level structure. The material is so flexible that you can get the most original and unpredictable solutions.


Plasterboard sheets are attached to a pre-equipped frame, hence all the advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include a perfectly flat and smooth surface, which can be obtained quite simply and quickly. In the space between the ceiling and drywall, you can lay all the necessary communications, incl. electrical cables to create a unique lighting system. Drywall is distinguished by excellent performance, and after installation, if desired, you can paint it by changing the interior.


As for the shortcomings, the frame, along with the sheets of drywall, takes up a lot of space, so if the living room is already not very high, then it is better to look for another finishing option. In addition, it is important to remember that after installation, the drywall structure must be additionally finished, and, as a rule, painting is used. And it is important to think over the lighting system and all the fasteners in advance, since then nothing can be attached to the drywall.

No. 7. Plaster

Plaster is a great option for those who want to decorate their living room in a classic style and not lose the height of the room. You can choose both a budget version of plaster and a more expensive one, and at the same time its appearance will add luxury to any living room. The color and relief of the plastered ceiling can be absolutely any, and using different types of plasters with different fillers, you can get both a relief surface and completely smooth, and even shiny, like marble, when it comes to Venetian plaster. Not everyone can cope with such work on their own – it is important to have at least minimal skills in working with decorative plaster.


No. 8. Mirrored ceiling

The idea for the most daring and looking for non-standard solutions is a mirrored ceiling. Visually, it will increase the space, and with the right approach, you can get an interesting design solution, an indescribable play of light and shadows. Probably not worth mentioning that this is an ideal solution for low-rise premises. However, you will have to take care of the mirror surface carefully and regularly, because dust will accumulate on it and make the living room untidy.


No. 9. Stucco molding for the ceiling

Stucco molding is a non-standard, rather rare type of ceiling decoration in the living room, which fits perfectly into the classic style of the interior. To create a small masterpiece right in your home, you can use the help of professionals, but following the instructions, you can try to do it yourself. Then it will be doubly pleasant to relax in the living room, realizing that all the beauty there is made by hand.


No. 10. Metal ceiling

A metal, or rack, ceiling will be an excellent addition to a high-tech or modern living room. Such a finish consists of a mass of metal slats, which can have any color and even a curved shape. The slats are attached to the frame, under which you can hide communications, which means that the lighting system can be equipped in any way you like – the scope for imagination is huge. It’s not even worth talking about strength, reliability and durability – according to these indicators, the slatted ceiling bypasses many other finishing systems. Installation and maintenance take a minimum of time and effort.

The price of such a finishing option is quite high, the structure takes away part of the useful height, and the repair process is not the easiest, since if a certain rail is damaged, you will have to disassemble the entire structure up to the broken element.


No. 11. Fabric ceiling

Another bold and very non-standard solution, which will not successfully fit into any interior style. You can buy fabric of any color, texture and quality and decorate part of the ceiling or completely with it, creating bizarre shapes. A great option for an oriental style, as well as, if you wish, create a cozy atmosphere in the living room. The only drawback of this solution is the increased ability to accumulate dust.


No. 12. Wooden lining

What could be better than natural materials in living room decoration? Wooden lining is most often made from coniferous wood, and pine is mainly used for residential premises. This is practically the cheapest wood, which has a pleasant color and good performance. With such ceilings, the living room will look just gorgeous, but you should first think about how well such a solution will fit into the interior. By the way, the lining can be used in combination with other finishing materials – this is an interesting economical solution that will help to zone the living room space, if necessary.


Also, the advantages include the relative ease of installation and the ability to hide the necessary communications under the clapboard. But there are also disadvantages: the need for constant care of the tree so that it does not suffer from pests and from fire, although the flammability remains at a high level even when processed with special means.

№13. MDF panels

If you want to use wood in the decoration of the living room, but the lining seems too expensive, then you can use MDF panels. It is an environmentally friendly material that comes in a huge variety. Panels can imitate any type of wood, as well as many other materials. Panels are bribed by their ease of installation, thermal insulation qualities, strength, reliability and durability. However, you will have to accept the decrease in height in the living room, since the panels are attached to the frame. Also, the material is characterized by high flammability, like wood, which is to some extent unsafe.


Instead of MDF panels, you can use a conventional laminate with the lowest strength characteristics: this material is cheaper, and more than suitable for the ceiling. The assortment of laminate is no less extensive than MDF panels, you can choose an inexpensive option, and as a result, the living room will be unique.

In conclusion

When choosing a finishing material for the ceiling in the living room, you definitely need to build on the general style of the room. Considering what style of the interior is chosen, it is worth choosing the type of finish. Do not forget that different materials can be successfully combined with each other, getting interesting non-standard solutions. In addition, in the decoration of the ceiling, you can use the most unconventional materials that were not included in this review – everything is limited only by desires and imagination.

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Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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