8 Genius Ways to Cover a Popcorn Ceiling Without Removing It

We have started tackling an area of our house that has always driven me crazy: the textured ceilings. They’re not exactly super chunky popcorn ceilings, but they’re definitely not smooth.

It’s just enough of a slight popcorn texture to bug me… and we all know after a few years of living in your house staring at something that bugs you, eventually you work up the gumption to do something about it. Which brings me to this…

8 ways to cover popcorn ceilings

What You Should Know Before Tampering With Popcorn Ceilings

Removing popcorn ceilings can be tricky in an older home though.

There’s always the possibility of asbestos or lead paint that could be lurking there if your house was built in the 1970s or prior. Always use an asbestos test kit and/or lead test kit before doing any ceiling work so you can take the proper precautions.

If you detect asbestos or lead, it’s best to leave it to a licensed professional who can either remove it with the proper safety gear or cover it with gypsum board ceiling panels.

If your ceiling passes the asbestos and lead tests, here is how to remove popcorn ceiling texture yourself.

But if you’re like me, you might want to consider skipping the messy process of removal and covering it with a ceiling material that has vintage character.

Last month, Robert removed the attic fan vent and patched the gaping hole with drywall in our upstairs hallway.

Now that the job is done, our heads are swirling with ideas to cover the popcorn ceiling with a beautiful vintage ceiling treatment.

Related: 8 Small Hallway Ideas to Make Your Space Look Bigger

popcorn ceiling

Related: Easy DIY: How to Install Sheet Vinyl Flooring Over Old Tile

If the goal was just to have a smooth ceiling, we would skim coat over it, sand it smooth, and call it a day. But I’ve always thought an interesting ceiling treatment would make a great design moment here. (Don’t forget that fifth wall, y’all. It has potential for wow factor!)

While Robert and I brainstorm pretty ceiling treatment ideas, here are 8 genius ways to cover a textured ceiling, if you have one that bugs you in your house too.

1. Pressed Tin Ceiling

This is one of the more expensive ways to cover a popcorn ceiling, but my gosh isn’t it stunning?! According to HomeAdvisor, a tin ceiling costs $2 to $15 per square foot on average. You can fake the look with a cheaper faux tin tile made from PVC. (But I’d personally choose the real deal.)

It’s not a look for everyone, of course. But if you love ornate details, it’s a beautiful way to add character to a ceiling while hiding the texture.

Tutorial: DIY Pressed Tin Ceiling

Related: DIY Pressed Tin Kitchen Backsplash to Cover Old Tile

pressed tin ceiling tiles to cover a popcorn ceiling

Source: Peony and Honey

2. Track System Ceiling

I’ve had this Armstrong Easy-Up track system ceiling idea saved for a long time. If you don’t want to glue anything to your ceiling, this is a simpler alternative.

There are several different ceiling designs and colors you can choose from, including faux pressed tin and faux planked styles. The price is approximately $2 per square foot.

Tutorial: How to Install a Track System Over a Popcorn Ceiling

Armstrong Ceiling track system to cover a popcorn ceiling

Source: Farmhouse Living

3. Beadboard Ceiling

Beadboard is such a classic material, and it’s easy to install over a popcorn ceiling. Use pre-primed beadboard sheets to speed up the painting process. Or if you want make your ceilings feel a little more rustic, stain raw wood beadboard instead. On average, it costs about $2 per square foot.

Tutorial: How to Add Beadboard to Cover a Popcorn Ceiling

DIY beadboard to cover a textured ceiling

Source: Chris Loves Julia

4. Wood Paneled Ceiling

If you love the warmth of a wood ceiling, this DIY paneled ceiling using cedar wood planks is a gorgeous way to hide a popcorn texture. The panels are very lightweight and can be installed by 1-2 people to finish the job.

Stain the wood any color you like or just have some subtle texture by applying a white wash. On average, this project costs about $2 per square foot.

Tutorial: DIY Paneled Ceiling to Cover a Popcorn Ceiling

DIY paneled ceiling to cover a popcorn ceiling

Source: A Beautiful Mess

Would you like to save this?

We'll email this post to you, so you can come back to it later!

5. Wallpaper Ceiling

Depending on how textured your ceiling is, you might be able to get away with applying wallpaper on the surface. This guide explains what types of texture can be covered with wallpaper. These types work for walls as well. Inspect what sort of texture your ceiling has to make sure it’s a good candidate for wallpaper.

Even if your ceiling is too textured to apply wallpaper directly to it, you can prep it with a skim coat instead.

We chose to skim coat over our popcorn ceilings in our media room and applied wallpaper on top of the newly smooth surface. It’s one of my favorite projects we’ve ever done in our house!

Tutorial: How to Wallpaper a Ceiling

wallpaper covering a textured ceiling

See the tour of our media room

Related: DIY Faux Block Print Ceiling Wallpaper Using Vinyl Decals

6. Plywood Ceiling

This project is very simple yet so impactful. Just cover your popcorn ceiling with a good quality plywood and cover the seams with 1×4 boards for a coffered look. Depending on the type of wood you use, this projects costs anywhere from $2 to $8 per square foot.

Tutorial: DIY Plywood Ceiling

plywood covering a ceiling

Source: Woodshop Diaries

7. Painted Textured Ceiling

Paint won’t be the best route for every type of texture (especially large popcorn texture), but if you want a quick way to perk up a plain ceiling, paint it with a pop of color.

Regan’s bedroom has a very slight texture to it, but we gave it a little extra interest by painting it a blush pink using Romabio Barefoot Dance. We might smooth the texture one day or cover it, but painting it did the trick for now.

painted popcorn ceiling in a bedroom

See the tour of our daughter’s room

8. Skim Coat or Drywall Over a Textured Ceiling

In some cases, you can skim coat over a textured ceiling to make it smooth. Depending on the type of popcorn or texture you have though, it’s not always possible.

Usually, you can install new 1/4″ thick drywall on top of the existing textured drywall, if you don’t want to remove the texture. Just keep in mind that this will lower your ceiling by 1/4 of an inch.

patching a ceiling in a hallway

Envision that hallway ceiling without a gaping hole and a pretty ceiling treatment in its place. I’m torn over which we’ll choose, but whatever we pick will definitely make this plain white space more interesting.

Which ceiling treatment would you pick for this hallway and entryway area? We can’t wait to dive in whatever this project may be!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest way to cover a popcorn ceiling?

Beadboard is one of the cheapest ways to cover a popcorn ceiling since you can buy beadboard sheet panels already primed and ready to hang. Just patch seams, fill nail holes, and paint.

Is it cheaper to remove a popcorn ceiling or cover it?

It depends on what you cover it with, but generally you can cover a popcorn ceiling for less than the cost of removing it. This also depends on if you do the project yourself or hire it out to a contractor.

Should you scrape a popcorn ceiling or cover it with drywall?

Removing popcorn ceiling is a really messy job. Covering it with 1/4″ drywall is usually a faster, less messy process the scraping.

More DIY Ceiling Ideas

How to Quickly Beef Up Crown Molding

how to beef up crown molding

The Best Haint Blue Paint Color for Porch Ceilings

haint blue paint colors

DIY Faux Block Print Ceiling Wallpaper Using Vinyl Decals

DIY Faux Block Print Ceiling Wallpaper Using Vinyl Decals

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Your hallway ceiling appears to have a pull down attic entrance (?). Always a challenge. Before I realized that, I thought a wood board treatment with a few really chunky beams would look great. Can the attic access be moved? BTW, a great post!

  2. While my ceilings weren’t full on popcorn and the finish was well done, not being smooth bothered me. I had my ceilings scrapped and refinished. It was costly due to all the labour but well worth it. I love my smooth ceilings. A neighbour thought my ceilings were higher than his. Nope! They just look higher now. I’d love to paint my guest room ceiling a soft blue but hubby won’t budge.
    A friend put in a tin ceiling in her kitchen and it’s stunning. I’m a touch jealous.
    I know whatever you do will be beautiful. You and your husband are such talented, innovative diy ers.

    1. To make your home the way you enjoy is always worth it. I am happy to hear you were able to obtain that. I am sure it makes quite the difference. “Yay!” For getting the appearance of higher ceilings. Thank you for the encouragement and support.

  3. Hello. This is really good info about covering popcorn ceilings! I don’t have any at our present home but have always wondered how to “fix” them at friends’ houses – not that they want them fixed! ha