From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

Kevin Brown

From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

Ceilings are an often overlooked element in interior design. However, they play a crucial role in creating a finished and cohesive look for a room. Choosing the right texture for your ceiling is an important decision that can enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your space.

There are various styles of ceiling texture that can be used to add visual interest and dimension to a room. Whether you prefer a smooth and seamless look or a more textured and rustic feel, there is a style to suit every taste. Here are 7 popular ceiling texture styles:

1. Smooth: This is the most common and versatile type of ceiling texture. It provides a clean and polished appearance, making it a popular choice for modern and minimalist designs. Smooth ceilings are also easy to clean and maintain.

2. Knockdown: This style of texture creates a stucco-like effect on the ceiling. It is achieved by applying a compound and then “knocking down” or flattening the peaks with a trowel. Knockdown texture adds subtle visual interest and can work well in both traditional and contemporary designs.

3. Popcorn: Popcorn texture, also known as acoustic or cottage cheese texture, is a budget-friendly option that was popular in the 1980s and 1990s. It has a bumpy and uneven surface that helps to absorb sound and hide imperfections. While popcorn texture has fallen out of favor in recent years, it can still be found in some older homes.

4. Orange Peel: This texture resembles the skin of an orange, hence the name. It is achieved by spraying on a compound and then using a texture roller to create a subtly ridged surface. Orange peel texture adds a touch of visual interest without being too overwhelming.

5. Skip Trowel: Skip trowel texture has a handcrafted and slightly rustic look. It is created by applying a compound and then dragging a trowel across the surface in a random pattern. This style of texture is often seen in Southwest and Mediterranean-inspired designs.

6. Swirl: Swirl texture is characterized by its circular or swirling patterns. It is created by applying a compound with a brush or roller and then manipulating the surface with a brush to create the desired effect. Swirl texture adds a unique and artistic touch to a room.

7. Lace: Lace texture is delicate and intricate, resembling the pattern of lace fabric. It is achieved by applying a compound with a brush or sprayer and then using a comb or brush to create the lace-like pattern. Lace texture is often seen in Victorian and vintage-inspired designs.

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In conclusion, the texture of your ceiling can have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of a room. By understanding the different styles of ceiling texture available, you can choose the one that best suits your design preferences and enhances the aesthetic appeal of your space.

From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles
From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles
From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles
From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles
From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles
From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles
From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles
From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

Textured ceilings go in and out of style regularly. While ceiling finishes are often overlooked, adding texture to a ceiling can enhance the overall room ambiance – sometimes subtly, sometimes with more drama.

The Importance of a Textured Ceiling

From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

The texture on a ceiling is also called a finish. A finished ceiling has additional materials added to the drywall. Textured ceilings, one type, typically use a combination of drywall mud, plaster, spackle, and styrofoam/cellulose/sand, among other additives.

Application techniques and tools create different design finishes. Adding the applicator’s abilities and tool preferences, there can be various ceiling finishes, even with the same name.

Pros and Cons of Modern Ceiling Textures

Ceiling textures were once popular but fell out of favor due to asbestos found in many of them, including in drywall. The absence of asbestos from ceiling finishing products has contributed to the resurgence of texture popularity.


Textured ceilings offer several advantages over smooth ceilings:

1. Covering: Texturing can effectively hide blemishes such as scratches, small holes, and wavy drywall.

2. Price: Applying texture is quicker, easier, and more cost-effective than creating a smooth, flat ceiling.

3. Soundproofing: The rough finish of textured ceilings helps to break up sound waves, reducing noise escape and improving sound quality inside the room.

4. Style and Design: Textures provide a range of unique designs that can be personalized by the applicator.


However, there are a few reasons to consider not having a textured ceiling:

1. Maintenance: Textured ceilings can be more challenging to clean and may require specialized care.

2. Limited Options: Some people may prefer the versatility of a smooth ceiling, which allows for greater flexibility in terms of decor and design choices.

3. Outdated Look: Textured ceilings can sometimes give a dated appearance to a space, depending on the style and texture used.

In summary, textured ceilings offer benefits such as blemish coverage, cost-effectiveness, soundproofing, and personalized design options. However, they may require more maintenance, limit decor choices, and give a dated look to a room.”

Cleaning: Dust, dirt, and smoke adhere easily to textures, making them difficult to clean and potentially damaging, especially Popcorn texture.

Repairs: Finished ceilings are challenging to repair due to the difficulty of matching color, texture, and style.

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Outdated: Textured ceilings may be considered dated or outdated, as contemporary architecture and house designs tend to favor smooth straight lines.

7 Ceiling Texture Types

Ceiling textures can range from common patterns that span from corner to corner to unique designs featuring textured center sections with painted borders and scalloped corners. There are various types of textures that can accommodate any design.

1. Popcorn

From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

Popcorn ceilings became less popular in the 1960s but are now making a comeback, possibly due to the Retro movement. They can be sprayed or painted on and have a texture that resembles an upside-down plate of popcorn, achieved through the use of polystyrene bead, vermiculite, or cellulose additives.

Some pros of popcorn ceilings are their strong sound-deadening ability, availability in fine, medium, or coarse grades, and the option to have colored or reflective flakes applied. However, there are also cons, such as their tendency to collect dust easily, the potential for high spots to fall off if cleaned too vigorously, and the perception of them as dated or old-fashioned by some.

Another popular ceiling texture is knockdown.

From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

Knockdown texture is created by machine splattering drywall mud onto the ceiling. After it dries, it is “knocked down” with a trowel or drywall knife. Knockdown texture is commonly used on walls in hotels, stairwells, and offices.


– Well accepted finish

– DIY-friendly

– Sound diffusion


– More expensive

– Requires painting

– Difficult to clean

2. Spray Sand

From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

The spray sand ceiling finish resembles popcorn and is made of thinned drywall mud and sand. It is applied with a hopper-type spray gun.


– Easy DIY application

– Hides flaws well

– Impressive design

– Does not peel or crack


– Can be messy, make sure walls and floor are covered in poly

– Sand must be mixed with water and left overnight before application

4. Orange Peel

From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

Orange peel texture, also known as “splatter texture,” resembles the skin of an orange. It is a thin layer of drywall mud applied using a hopper-type spray gun, covering the drywall completely without needing any additional work.


– Easy and quick DIY application

– Some sound-deadening ability

– Hides imperfections


– Considered outdated or old fashioned

– Difficult to match if a repair is needed

5. Skip Trowel

From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

Skip trowel texture, also known as Santa Fe, Spanish knockdown, or mud trowel knockdown, is a popular finish named after the tool used for its application. The drywall mud can be thinned for a lighter look or left thick for a heavier appearance.

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– Less messy

– Less costly

– Good at hiding ceiling flaws


– Difficult DIY application

6. Lace – French or Spanish

From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

Lace texture is a two-part application involving two tones of the same color. First, a smooth coat is applied and left to dry. Then, a design coat of a different color tone is applied to create a lacy look.


– Covers imperfections

– Often used on walls

– Considered one of the prettiest and most elegant styles


– Not an easy DIY project

– Difficult to clean

Courtesy: – Lace texture

From Smooth to Textured: 7 Ceiling Texture Styles

Drywall mud is applied to a surface using a roller or hopper-style sprayer. A brush is used while the mud is still slightly wet to create the swirl pattern. The choice of brush size adds individuality.


  • Easy DIY project
  • Covers imperfections
  • Popular wall finish


  • Tedious to apply
  • Difficult to clean

Applying Textures to Ceilings

Start by painting the entire ceiling with primer, regardless of the texture style chosen. Drywall mud adheres better to primer, and the white background adds consistency to the finished product.

  1. Mix the drywall mud.
  2. Coat the ceiling with mud using a roller or hopper-type spray gun.

Roll a texture roller over the entire ceiling in one direction. Overlap no more than ½”. Do not leave a gap between passes.

Clean excess mud from the juncture of walls and ceiling. This works best when the mud is almost dry.

Terry Schutz is a freelance writer specializing in home renovations, DIY advice, and construction topics. Terry has over 30 years of experience in the construction industry, gaining knowledge as an installer, manager, salesperson, and business owner.

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