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Creative Drop Ceiling Ideas

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Have you ever struggled to find creative drop ceiling ideas? Struggle no more! Look no further!

I too have had to live with ugly drop ceilings. I was stuck with them. We had to have drop ceilings in the basement at our rancher.

Then we bought a fixer upper farmhouse on 3 acres and to my horror there were the ugliest drop ceilings (complete with ceiling fans) in the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, all of the bedrooms, and the exercise room.

It took me 6 or 7 months to finally decide how to make those drop ceilings beautiful.

First though, let me share what I did with the first drop ceiling in our Basement Bathroom…..

Idea #1. Beadboard Ceiling Panels

In our basement bathroom that we had built from scratch, we took 4×8 feet sheets of beadboard paneling and cut it up into 2×2 foot squares for our basement suspended ceiling (that is, we had our contractor do it). I always thought I would paint the primed panels (they come primed when you buy them), but I never did!

beadboard drop ceiling in bathroom

And I never had a problem with moisture from the shower on those panels. I expected that I might…. but I never did!

plants on a cabinet near a drop ceiling

I liked it so much, that we ended up doing the rest of our entire basement with beadboard panels just like this.

However, I have to tell you. There is a difference between one small bathroom having stripes, and your entire basement ceiling having stripes. It got to be too many stripes.

basement beadboard ceiling and pocket doors

So I knew that if I ever had to contend with another false ceiling, I would not do beadboard again.

Idea #2. Shiplap Panels

Enter the farmhouse with all of the drop ceilings. Ugh. So much sighing and UGH!!!

But because of the water pipes connected to the heating system, and the electric wires- there was just nothing to do but keep the drop ceilings.

For my daughter’s bedroom ceiling we decided to try wider stripes. The wider stripes are known as shiplap.

shiplap panels in ceiling

It looks pretty nice, don’t you think?

I decided that I would like the same thing in my kitchen, except this time I painted them a very light green to match the color of my walls. I wanted it to blend in more.

Did I succeed?

light green shiplap in drop ceiling

I painted the grids to match the panels. We lived with an unfinished ceiling for so long, that we are very satisfied with how these turned out!

light green shiplap panels

My husband liked these panels, because they made it fairly easy to install extra recessed lighting wherever we needed more light in the kitchen or in our daughter’s bedroom.

cabinets with pink hearts for valentine's day

Idea #3. Woodhaven Panels

Ok, this one can be a version of Shiplap, but it is a completely different product and process. You can see it in my Craft Room ceiling (ignore the rest of the room in progress).

Messy Craft room

With Woodhaven panels, you can install them 3 different ways. You can attach them directly to your ceiling using clips or a track, and the 3rd way is by attaching it to ….. an existing drop ceiling grid!

You have to order the clips that clip onto the grid, too. Then the panel fit together in a tongue and groove style.

The disadvantage to installing Woodhaven panels, is that they are not easy to remove like regular drop ceiling panels are. But they do look very nice and finished– and are available in a variety of finishes. So if you are pretty sure you won’t have any leaks or any reason to go into the ceiling space, Woodhaven panels are a great choice.

craft room ceiling with Woodhaven planks

Idea #4. Tin Panels

As you have seen, I have had a lot of experience with creative drop ceilings! Oh I wish I didn’t know anything about it!! I still think they are ugly. Except….. well except if you choose tin panels. Once I saw how beautiful tin panels, I knew I had to try them.

And then I ended up trying them for 3 ceilings all at once!! I chose 3 different patterns, and I painted them in 3 different ways!

Yes, you can most definitely purchase tin panels already finished. But by now you do realize that I enjoy doing things myself, especially if it is more budget friendly that way.

Let me explain—- Unfinished tin tiles will run you about $8 apiece for a 2 foot by 2 foot square. Finished tin tiles start at $15 apiece, and go all the way up to $55!!! That means for my average size room that needed about 55 panels, the price comparison is $440 to as high as $3,000! And I had 2 average rooms, plus one small room.

Here is my Dining Room

drop ceiling idea

Now, it did make me a little nervous when I had unfinished tiles sitting around because I was afraid they would get moisture on them and rust before I could finish them. But even though it took me months to finish because of new-to-me-unexpected thyroid problems, that never happened.

And it was extra work because not only do you need to seal the fronts, you also need to seal the backs. So if you’re considering finishing your own tin ceiling tiles then I recommend that you read all of my posts about it and consider that it will take a good deal of work and perseverance.

Also consider which light fixtures will look good with the pattern that you choose.

Here is my Piano Room

tin tile makeover

So those are my creative drop ceilings! Beadboard, Shiplap, Woodhaven, and Tin Ceiling Tiles. There’s actually a 5th one that I haven’t tried yet…. Plastic tiles. I think plastic tiles can be nailed or glued up. Hmmm. I think one of the reasons I haven’t tried them yet is because they aren’t very low cost….


Angle Curtains


Castors on Table


Painted Ceilings

This one is my favorite.

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  1. Thanks for admitting drop ceilings in a home are ugly! And for ideas on how to make them look nicer. ☺️

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