Different Ways to Texture Ceilings


Ceilings do not have to be the flat, smooth uninteresting surfaces that they are in many buildings. You actually have many different options when it comes to how your ceilings look. Texturing them is one way to add a different look to the ceiling so that your room appears more complete and attractive. However, first you’ll have to decide what type of texture to add to your ceiling. There are several options that are commonly used that will help spice up your design.

Mud Swirl

  • Mud swirl is a circular, overlapping design that helps to hide drywall imperfections and gives a room a more interesting appearance than a smooth ceiling. The texture is accomplished by using a medium brush dipped in texturing compound and twisting the brush in a circle on the ceiling. More circles or swirls are added, overlapping one another, until the ceiling is covered from wall to wall. With some practice, you can do this type of texture by yourself.


  • Since the late 1960s, ceilings have regularly had a texturing compound blown onto them, sometimes with glitter, to give the ceiling a bumpy appearance. This technique is most commonly known as “popcorn” ceiling. It is also good for cutting down the echo in a room, and is therefore referred to as acoustic ceiling as well. While this method is still used and is liked by some, it is not for everyone. Many people feel popcorn ceilings are unattractive and messy. Some people actually have their ceilings scraped to remove this texture, while others still apply it.


  • Another method of ceiling texturing is the knockdown method. The compound is applied in the same way as it is on a popcorn ceiling, but instead of leaving the compound to dry as it falls, a long knife-like blade is used to flatten out the bumps or “knock" them down. This gives a unique appearance in which there are tiny flat plateaus where the pellets of compound once were. The blade applies pressure to the high spots, but not a lot of pressure, so the areas remain raised.

Texture Paints

  • Texture paints are an effective and simple way to add a new dimension to your drywall or plaster ceilings. There are specific texturing paints available for ceiling use. Some of these products have a sandy texture that adds body to the finish. Some paints are even formulated to work with other texturing methods such as knockdown or swirling.


  • Sponging is a way to get a seemingly random texture onto your surfaces with ease. The texturing compound or texture paint is rolled or painted onto the ceiling, and then a sea sponge can be used to stamp or roll the design of the sponge into the surface. Synthetic sponges do not provide good results. This method is also effective for regular painting.

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