Ceiling Texture Types (Pattern Design Ideas)

Here we share the most popular ceiling texture types to help you choose the right one for your home.
Kitchen with knock down ceiling textureWhen you’re designing rooms in your home, ideas like the paint color for the walls and ceiling are among the basics. Yet, to create something truly interesting, it’s a good idea to think back further to the fundamentals. In other words, before deciding the color of your ceiling, try thinking about the ceiling texture patterns that you want.

There are many different textures that you can choose from and they’re a great way to bring another dimension to your interior design.

Knockdown Ceiling TextureKnockdown Ceiling Texture

A knockdown ceiling texture takes a little work to install. It requires you to wait for a ceiling compound to be skinned over and then flattening it with a specialty tool. This second step is known as “knocking down”, hence the name of the texture. Once the texture is set, all that’s left is to prime and paint the ceiling.

While it’s difficult to install and repair, knockdown ceiling textures have a popular appearance and it covers imperfections well. Despite the number of steps it takes to set this type of ceiling up, it isn’t a particularly difficult installation.

Popcorn ceiling texturePopcorn Ceiling Texture

Popcorn ceiling texture hit their peak in the late 20th century but they still hold sway in many homes. The texture is achieved by using a mix of a compound and styrofoam balls.

To install it, a hopper and gun are used without any complicated tooling. You also don’t need to worry about painting it and it’s easy to handle during repairs and remodels.

The downside is that the gun and hopper do leave some mess and you’ll need to hang plastic for the job.

Drywall Ceiling TextureDrywall Ceiling Texture

Technically, a drywall ceiling texture is an open term. In fact, you can use any of the ceiling textures to finish off a plain drywall or plaster ceiling.

In addition, it isn’t the plaster or drywall itself being manipulated when a texture is added to a ceiling.

Instead, a layer of ceiling mud is added to the drywall and tools such as trowels, rollers, and spray textures are used to create the texture. Even smooth ceiling textures tend to add a compound to the bare ceiling drywall rather than leaving it as is.

Orange peel ceiling textureOrange Peel Ceiling Texture

The orange peel ceiling texture gets its name from the look of the finish which resembles the inside of the peel of an orange.

To get this look, the ceiling is sprayed with a ceiling spray texture using a hopper and gun much in the same way a knockdown ceiling is started.

This is an easy choice to tackle during repairs and remodels and it’ll hide imperfections during the process easily. It’s also a less expensive choice. However, since a spray is used, this can be a messy installation with a bit of cleanup.

Stomp ceiling textureStomp Ceiling Texture

A stomp ceiling texture is a great choice if you want something unique that will easily cover any imperfections in the ceiling’s surface.

The texture is achieved by using a base material made out of drywall joint compound thinned with water to the point that it’s a paint-like consistency. From here, you can use a roller and stomp brush to set the pattern into the ceiling.

This is another pattern that isn’t necessarily difficult to pull off but you’ll want to take measures such as putting down plastic to counteract the mess.

Rosebud ceiling textureRosebud Ceiling Texture

A rosebud ceiling texture is a very easy texture to apply to your ceiling if you know what to do. It only takes a thin layer of mud to pull off the look and the texture can be created with either an airless paint sprayer, a stomp brush  or a paint roller.

When using a paint roller its advised to go with a 3/4 inch nap roller cover. The application of drywall mud should be applied across the all of the surface.

The end result is a more subtle texture that will blend seamlessly with smooth walls. The only downside is that a thin layer of mud isn’t as effective as a thick one in accounting for imperfections.

Sand ceiling textureSand Ceiling Texture

The sand ceiling texture, or sand spray ceiling texture, is fairly similar to the orange peel texture. It gives your home an artistic touch and it actually too difficult to install.

The only challenge here is preparation as you’re going to need to mix a bag of sand texture with cold water the night before you complete the installation. As long as you remember to take this step, the actual installation is a breeze.

Since this is a heavily textured pattern with no set pattern, it hides any inconsistencies or blemishes in the process or ceiling well.

Swirl Ceiling Texture

Swirl ceiling texture A swirl ceiling texture gets its name from the circular patterns the style depends on. This is a pretty versatile choice that gives you a few options in how you apply it. It is very similar to the fish scale texture design.

The technique can be done with a trowel, roller, or sprayer. While it takes a bit of patience, the most difficult part of the installation is to make sure you complete the texture before the mud dries.

While the tedious aspect of the installation is a con to this texture, you can make the process much easier by employing a second person to help you.

Fish Scale Ceiling Texture

Fish scale ceiling textureA fish scale ceiling texture is an eye-catching choice that is sure to look amazing on any ceiling. It uses sweeping, circular arches to create the pattern and it has the advantage of being attractive while not being one of the most common textures used. This means it’ll give your home a unique characteristic.

The fish scale pattern is also referred to as the fan or shell pattern.

The only downside is that fish scale ceiling textures come with a high difficulty level. In fact, it’s one of the options that is best left to a professional installation.

Crows foot ceiling textureCrows Foot Ceiling Texture

A crows foot ceiling has an appearance similar to a bird walking around your ceiling. To achieve this, a stipple brush is used in a process that usually takes two individuals.

One installer applies mud to other sections of the ceiling while the other uses the stipple brush to make the pattern before the mud dries.

While this can be a messy project, you aren’t going to have to break your back doing it. It’s actually a fairly easy installation. Just remember to put plastic down to contain the mess.

Smooth Ceiling Texture

Smooth ceiling textureA smooth ceiling is likely the most popular ceiling texture in homes today. It’s exactly what it sounds like – an even, uninterrupted texture.

While it’s the simplest option, it’s actually one of the more taxing installations. This is because it takes multiple coats of mud with time taken to sand it down between layers. This takes a lot of skill because any imperfections in the process will be noticeable.

Once the ceiling is installed, though, it’s easy to take care of. All you need to do is to prime and paint it to finish it off.

Stipple ceiling textureStipple Ceiling Texture

It takes a bit of technical skill to achieve a stipple ceiling texture. It’s installed using a roller and slap brush but the difficulty comes in with the thickness of the material. This consistency can make the remodel a messy job if you aren’t sure exactly how to handle it.

This style and material come with significant advantages as well, though. For one, you aren’t going to have to worry about obvious imperfections.

Even larger imperfections like holes can be easily covered with this ceiling texture. The end result is an attractive and popular choice.

Tree bark ceiling textureTree Bark Ceiling Texture

This ceiling texture, as the name suggests, is meant to resemble tree bark. This makes it a good choice for homes that draw from naturally-inspired interior design themes.

This is considered a pretty artistic texture, so it’ll draw eyes to the ceiling with its distinct appearance.

The texture is typically done using a heavy roller. The fact that the roller is heavy is important because this is a style that depends on carefully implemented deeper grooves.

Skip trowel ceiling textureSkip Trowel Ceiling Texture

The uneven look of a skip trowel ceiling is created by dragging a trowel along the surface as an all-purpose joint compound is drying.

This is generally done lightly with a more uneven pressure on the final pass to give an uneven texture.

This is an advantageous design because it works well at hiding any imperfections you might have in your ceiling. Unfortunately, it’s also a difficult choice when it comes to any repairs you need later on.

Skim Coat Ceiling Texture

A skim coat ceiling texture is a type of smooth ceiling texture. It’s a nearly even surface with slightly textured areas.

It doesn’t hold any specific pattern but since it isn’t completely flat, it’s a little more forgiving when it comes to showing imperfections compared to a completely smooth ceiling texture. This makes it a good choice to cover previously heavily textured ceilings.

This design does have some of the same installation challenges as a smooth ceiling such as the use of multiple layers of mud.

Lace Ceiling Texture

A lace ceiling texture is one of the most distinctive design choices that you can have. It copies the delicate designs of lace and lays them on your ceiling.

This makes it a great choice to complement older homes with traditional styles. This is also a good style for homes with a tray ceilings that will give your design a one-of-a-kind look.

This is an intensive installation process that takes a lot of skill and tools. Because of this, and the generally unforgiving nature of the design, it’s best to hire a professional to create this texture.

Slap brush ceiling textureSlap Brush Texture Drywall Ceiling

The largest drawback to the slap brush ceiling texture is that it isn’t an easy installation. The good news is that once this challenging installation is finished, you’ll have a gorgeous and artistic touch to your home.

To start out, cover the ceiling with the mud with a roller. Now, take a stiff bristle brush and use it to slap the ceiling to create the texture. This is the difficult part because any mistakes and imperfections in the process are going to be fairly visible and can give you a messy finish.

Unaggregated ceiling textureUnaggregated Ceiling Texture

Unaggregated ceiling texture is another material rather than a specific texture technique. It’s made to handle a wide variety of textures whether they’re mild or fairly bold.

It is typically applied either by hand or as a spray on application. It can be used to create popular texture patterns such as knock down, spatter and orange peel.

This makes unaggregated ceiling textures a rather versatile choice when it comes to the type of material to use on your new ceiling texture or in repairs.

Ceiling texture for light fixtureCeiling Lamp Texture

The good news is that having a textured ceiling doesn’t inhibit your ability to to install a ceiling light fixture. Even if one is already installed, you aren’t going to have much of a problem making changes during a later remodel.

What you will want to be careful about are any cuts you have to make during the installation of the new lighting fixture. If you cut out more of the ceiling you need to or make any unnecessary damages, you’re going to have to worry about repairs. This can be difficult depending on the ceiling texture that you have installed.

Artex Ceiling Texture

Artex actually refers to a branded material used in ceiling textures rather than just a special pattern. It’s meant to help homeowners obtain a textured ceiling without having to call in plastering skills. It was initially high in popularity during the 1970s, especially in Britain. Today, though, the material has fallen out of mainstream use.

The main reason the material isn’t as popular anymore is because it’s very difficult to repair and remove. It was the potentially marred appearance of repaired ceilings that damaged its credibility.

Homax Popcorn Ceiling Texture

Homax Popcorn Ceiling Texture is a non-asbestos-based spray that is made to help you get your ceiling ready to texture. This is a newer and more commonly used material for ceilings than Artex. Artex does have an advantage when it comes to versatility. The Homax Popcorn Ceiling Texture Sprays are, as their name suggests, made with popcorn ceiling textures in mind.

This material is also fairly versatile choice because it comes in different colors. This helps consolidate installation and painting.

Santa Fe ceiling textureSanta Fe Ceiling Texture

A Santa Fe ceiling texture is an offshoot of the drywall ceiling texture. It also holds similarities to the skip trowel ceiling design but differs in that it has more smooth areas in its implementation.

A good general rule of thumb is that if the texture offers more than a 60% coverage for your ceiling, it’s a Santa Fe texture. Less than 60% still falls in the skip trowel texture category.

Since this is still an uneven texture, it’s going to help to hide imperfections. However, it may not do so as well as a highly textured choice.

Most Popular Ceiling Textures

Unique ceiling textureWhen it comes down to it, the most popular ceiling textures include skip troweling, knockdown, popcorn, orange peel, and smooth finish ceilings. These commonly used textures each have their own advantages and disadvantages that we’ve already touched on.

Best Ceiling Texture

The best ceiling texture is a relative title. What works for one home might not fit another. However, lace ceiling textures are often considered the most unique and beautiful options.

Cost to Texture Ceiling

This number depends on a few factors. Mainly, the type of texture you use will make a difference. Difficult choices such as lace textures will cost more than, for example, a stipple ceiling.

The exact cost varies quite a bit. The average hovers around $.46 to $.62 per square foot while more intensive choices like smooth ceilings can cost up to $2 or more per square foot.

Texture FAQs

Skim coat ceiling texture in kitchenBelow we try to answer the most common frequently asked questions in regards to texturing your ceiling.

How Do You Match an Existing Ceiling Texture?

Kitchen with fish scale ceiling pattern To match an existing ceiling texture, you need to first determine the current texture of the ceiling and how it’s achieved. Then, it’s a good idea to test out a small area of the ceiling to make sure that you know how to do it. For more complicated textures, it can be a good idea to reach out to professional help.

The hardest part is matching colors. After all, you’re putting up fresh material next to material that’s been fading over the years. For this step, paint will be your best friend. There is no secret when it comes to matching textures and will require you to carefully experiment. One thing to keep in mind when applying texture is that if you don’t get the look right, you can gently wipe it off right away with a wet sponge to try again.

Are Texture Ceilings Outdated?

Living room with textured ceilingTextured ceilings aren’t a modern idea but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re outdated. Since there are so many different options when it comes to the textures you can use, it’s hard to say that all of them are out of date.

That being said, there are certain textures that aren’t as widely appreciated as they once were. For example, many homeowners prefer alternative textures to popcorn ceilings because they were so widely used between the 1950s and 1980s. Textured ceilings are still used in residential construction, while popcorn ceiling is definitely out of style.

Popcorn Ceiling Vs. Textured Ceiling

Technically, there is a difference between popcorn ceilings and a (acoustic) textured ceiling. The main difference is that the popcorn texture isn’t achieved by stamping or shaping mud but introducing a foreign ingredient such as styrofoam balls to create the pattern.

Popcorn ceilings can be textured over but the job isn’t always easy. Your most affordable choice is to seal the style with a heavier texture or you can trowel it.

The best way to remove popcorn ceiling for retexturing is to mist the area with a garden pump sprayer letting it soak for approximately 15 minutes before scraping the material away. Be careful to not over spray the ceiling as doing so may damage the drywall underneath.

For more related ideas check out our shiplap ceiling designs page.

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Written by Veronica - Author

Veronica Pannell is an avid reader and researcher who has been writing about interior design and home improvement since 2018. Her favorite design style is eclectic, and she's always on the lookout for the latest new and exciting design trends.

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