This Super Easy DIY Is the Prettiest Fix for Dated Ceilings

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The house I grew up in was a new-build, and you could tell — while my family filled it with cozy furniture and happy memories, there wasn’t a whole lot of built-in character to speak of. Now, my husband and I live in a mid-century split-level house, which I think makes me qualified to say that even though there are so many things to love about old houses, there are also sometimes features that just did not age gracefully. One such feature you might find in an old home built between the 1920s and 1980s, like mine was, is a drop ceiling.

Even if you don’t know the name for it, you know what a drop ceiling is. It’s those ugly tiles suspended in a grid that you’ve probably seen in plenty of corporate offices, if not in a residential setting (also called dropped ceilings or acoustic ceilings.) These ceilings were designed as an easy way to hide pipes, ductwork, and electrical wiring while still keeping them accessible; all you’d have to do was move a tile out of its track to reach everything behind. It’s a handy feature, but it is … also pretty ugly.

Completely demoing and replacing ceilings like this can take a lot of time and money and might not even be possible, depending on the construction of your home. Except! There’s actually a wildly simple way to kick the dated look, and you can totally DIY it. Replace the old ceiling tiles with new ones that feature architectural details.

I was hit with this mind-blowing DIY while scrolling TikTok, when I saw the above video from user @sincerelysagejo. She explains that the gorgeous paneled ceilings in her kitchen are actually drop ceiling tiles — all she did was take out the old office-looking ones and replace them with the new ones in the same size. What she had in the end was a ceiling that looked like it was covered in traditional millwork (but for much less effort).

If this video is making you think it’s time to update your drop ceilings, you’re in luck. There are a variety of options you can get at big box retailers like The Home Depot. No special ordering here! The prices are pretty affordable, too, with a 10-pack costing about $150.

What I love most about this smart solution is that it puts the ceiling front and center, rather than trying to minimize or hide it. And it’s not the only ceiling trend we’re seeing right now! Check out what designers have to say about adding wallpaper to kitchen ceilings.

I love finding an opportunity to make a surprising headliner at home — you probably wouldn’t expect a ceiling to be the most eye-catching feature in a room, but it is in the kitchen above and it totally works!

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