Drywall and plaster ceiling textures provide the ideal solution for dressing up a boring ceiling. Although options were once fairly limited, today's homeowners have a wealth of finishes to choose from. Textured finishes can also serve as an effective cover for less than perfect ceiling installation jobs. Whether you want to add a subtle change or make a bold statement, a few ceiling texture options can help you liven up your space.

Add pizazz to a smooth ceiling with some stylish finish options.

Straightforward Sprayed Finishes

Builders rely on special spray guns with built-in hoppers to create some of the more highly textured ceiling finishes. Popcorn, or orange peel, ceilings represent one of the most common textured ceiling finishes. To create this texture, builders mix paint and a bulk medium, such as gypsum or perlite. They then spray this mixture onto the ceiling to give it a bumpy surface that resembles pieces of popcorn or the surface of an orange. This highly textured look not only adds style, but may also help to block sound from apartments or rooms above. For a slightly less textured spray finish, use sand-based perlite. To create this finish, builders add tiny grains of perlite minerals to paint and spray them on the ceiling, which gives the ceiling a grainy texture similar to that of sand.

Tasteful Troweled Finishes

Skilled contractors apply joint compound to ceilings using a trowel to create a variety of textures and finishes. Knockdown, or skip, trowel finishes are among the most common and serve as a way to give the ceiling a good deal of texture without relying on a traditional popcorn finish. To create a skip trowel texture, builders dip a trowel in joint compound, and drag it lightly across the ceiling, which causes the trowel to skip, or vibrate, so that joint compound is applied to some areas but not to others. Builders may also create designs in plaster or joint compound using basic troweling techniques. For example, by applying the trowel in a swirling pattern, the user can create a series of swirl patterns on the ceiling with a very light texture.

Customized Roller Textures

To add texture with a roller, contractors first apply a shiny glaze finish. While the glaze is still wet, they can run a patterned roller over the ceiling to add a variety of textures. Rollers with wood grain texture are a favorite option in some areas, and manufacturers can even create custom designs and textures based on the needs of buyers. This type of finish offers a subtle alternative to more highly-textured finishes, like popcorn or orange peel.

Tempting Texture Options

Some ceiling finishes can be applied using simple materials found around the house. For example, builders may run a sponge or rag through ceiling paint or plaster to give it an unusual texture. During combing, finishers use a comb to create straight or curved lines in joint compound, plaster or paint. Others may press sheets of plastic to fresh paint or plaster to give it a marbled, subtle texture.