How To: Disguise a Damaged or Ugly Ceiling

The ceiling in a previous home was a complete nightmare with water stains and popcorn tiles galore — not what you like to see while lying in bed. No paint short of a Sistine Chapel-esque ceiling mural could have brought it any relief. But it was a rental, and we thought nothing could be done. Thinking back now however, the romantic billows of a fabric disguise would have definitely been preferable to the water-damaged Fight Club look.

We spotted the ceiling above on a recent outing, and it reminded us of these favorite pin-tucked bedding options from Anthropologie and West Elm, which we love for their laid back glamor.

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We think covering the whole ceiling, not just a section as in the first photo, would have the same kind of romantic effect as the duvets while helping to mask the undesirable surface beneath it.


What you'll need:

-enough fabric to cover the ceiling (flat bed sheets, painters drop cloth—used in the photo above— or large table clothes are less expensive alternatives to store bought fabric)

-staple gun

-ladder (or high step stool)

How to:
This is best done with the help of another person

-if you're using one piece of fabric, find the center of the fabric and staple it to the ceiling. If you're using multiple pieces of fabric, find the corners that will form the center of your ceiling and use several closely spaced staples to secure them in place

-gather a few inches of fabric towards the place that has been stapled and staple it in place so that it forms a small billowing runch

-repeat until the whole ceiling has been covered

The organic shapes of the folds is part of the look, so each tuck of fabric doesn't need to be perfectly equidistant.

If you prefer a more tent-like alternative, you can make one center staple, and then let the fabric drape out to the walls as in the picture below from Gehry and Lanya's Oakland house tour.

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(Images: 1: Leah Moss, 2,3: West Elm, 4: Anthropologie, 5: Jill, Apartment Therapy SF)