13 Different Types of Ceiling Textures and How to Choose One

Person applying texture to a ceiling

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A ceiling texture is a design or pattern created on the ceiling to enhance the aesthetic of the room. Common ceiling texture types include comb, popcorn, and orange peel, which help to improve the look of the home while also hiding imperfections, absorbing sound, and adding depth to the room.

Many ceiling textures can be applied by hand, with a paintbrush, or using a roller, so avid DIYers can tackle a ceiling texture installation project over a weekend. More detailed ceiling textures are also available, though it's recommended to hire a professional to create complex designs and patterns. Find out more about these 13 different types of ceiling textures and discover which option is right for your home.

  • 01 of 13

    Comb Texture

    Comb texture on a ceiling

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    Best For: Easy DIY installation and subtle appearance.

    Comb ceiling texture is a relatively simple design that is created by using a comb to make lines and patterns in a layer of wet plaster or drywall compound. The design is often limited to circles or half circles, but for a more unique look, the comb can be used to create a variety of different effects and elaborate designs.

    Due to the simplicity of this texture, it's a good option for avid DIYers that want to improve the look of the home. Comb textures are not overstated or intended to serve as a focal point for the room. Rather, this type of ceiling texture is a subtle design that enhances the existing aesthetic, while covering minor imperfections in the ceiling.

  • 02 of 13

    Knockdown Texture

    Knockdown ceiling texture

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    Best For: Concealing minor imperfections and adding depth to the room.

    Knockdown ceiling texture creates a rustic pattern that is similar to stucco. If you have some experience with ceiling textures and own an air compressor and hopper gun with an air-adjustable valve, then this is a project that you should be able to handle. Simply mix drywall compound with water until it's the consistency of thick paint, then spray the compound onto the ceiling. After applying the compound to the ceiling, flatten the peaks and bumps with a knockdown knife to create the knockdown effect.

    Knockdown textures are great for concealing minor imperfections in the ceiling, adding depth to the room, and improving the aesthetic appeal of the home with a unique, attractive design.

  • 03 of 13

    Orange Peel Texture

    Orange peel ceiling texture

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    Best For: Subtle, understated appearance.

    Orange peel ceiling texture is a slightly bumpy, but soft-looking design that is a popular choice for modern homes. The subtle, understated appearance is smoother than a knockdown texture and it is typically easier to clean than most other ceiling textures.

    Most DIYers with the proper tools can install orange peel ceiling textures throughout the home. Just mix drywall compound with water for a paint-like consistency, then use a hopper gun to spray the ceiling. Go slowly to avoid leaving gaps, but keep in mind that you should be spraying small splatters of compound onto the ceiling to create the desired look, not fully covering the surface in drywall compound.

  • 04 of 13

    Spray Sand Texture

    Spray sand ceiling texture

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    Best For: Absorbing sound and covering imperfections.

    As the name implies, spray sand ceiling texture is typically applied with a hopper gun or paint sprayer, though you can use a paintbrush, if necessary. The finished texture is similar to an orange peel texture, except that the compound has sand mixed in, giving it a slightly grainy look.

    One drawback to this type of texture is that if you decide to renovate the home, spray sand ceiling texture can be difficult to remove. However, if you are planning to live at the home for a significant period of time, then spray sand ceiling texture is a great option for covering up any minor imperfections. The sand and drywall compound is also able to absorb sound better than a smooth ceiling, so you can reduce the sound transference between floors.

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  • 05 of 13

    Sand Swirl Texture

    Sand swirl ceiling texture

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    Best For: An attractive, vintage aesthetic.

    Intended to catch the attention of any guests, sand swirl ceiling texture consists of a pattern of full or half circles. This design is made by mixing drywall compound or plaster with sand, then applying the compound to the ceiling in a thin layer. The DIYer or professional installer then uses a medium bristle brush, medium sanding sponge, or even a small-notched trowel to create the full or half-circle patterns.

    Older homes with an existing vintage aesthetic will look great with a sand swirl ceiling texture. It can also help to hide any noticeable flaws, add depth to the room, and improve sound insulation between floors.

  • 06 of 13

    Skip Trowel Texture

    Skip trowel ceiling texture

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    Best For: A subtle Mediterranean-inspired aesthetic.

    Adding a skip trowel texture to the ceiling creates a series of unique patterns that really stand out in a well-lit room. The light reflects off of the crests of the compound, while subtle shadows are cast on the depressions, creating a subtle, low-key design.

    This ceiling texture is often associated with a Mediterranean-inspired aesthetic, making it a popular choice for high-end homes. Avid DIYers can tackle this project without any professional help or expensive tools, so it's a great choice for a weekend renovation.

  • 07 of 13

    Slap Brush Texture

    Slap brush ceiling texture

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    Best For: Adding visual interest and depth to a room.

    A slap brush ceiling texture can be a good option for those that want a ceiling with a unique pattern made with a series of thin lines. DIYers can create this pattern with a roller, slap brush, and drywall compound, so you won't have to worry about spending money on professional installation.

    Simply mix the drywall compound with water for a paint-like consistency, apply the compound to the ceiling with the paint roller, then put compound on the slap brush and start slapping the ceiling to create random lines and patterns on the ceiling. The finished product improves the aesthetic of the room, adds depth, and creates a stunning visual display that immediately stands out from the smooth walls.

  • 08 of 13

    Popcorn Texture

    How to Clean a Popcorn Ceiling

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    Best For: Absorbing and muffling sound.

    Popcorn ceiling texture is one of the most commonly recognized types of ceiling texture due to the popularity of this design throughout the 90s. This texture is similar to an orange peel texture, but it tends to be rougher and bumpier. The main purpose of popcorn ceiling texture was to hide any flaws or imperfections in the cheapest way possible.

    However, popcorn ceilings are also highly effective at absorbing and muffling sounds. So, if you don't mind spending a little more time cleaning the ceiling than normal, a popcorn ceiling texture can be a good way to reduce the transfer of sounds from floor to floor. For this reason, many people still opt for a popcorn ceiling texture in the family room, den, and kids' playroom.

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  • 09 of 13

    Stipple Brush Texture

    Stippling Ceiling With a Roller

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Best For: Unique patterns and covering imperfections.

    Another option for a unique room aesthetic is the stipple brush ceiling texture. This texture can be created by a DIYer with a paint roller, stipple brush, and drywall compound, though if you aren't careful you can turn a uniquely attractive pattern into a sloppy mess.

    The stipple brush texture results in deep valleys and small, sharp peaks that are terrible for balloons, but look great in a well-lit home. This design also hides any imperfections in the ceiling, allowing you to cover divots, holes, and any uneven areas of the ceiling.

  • 10 of 13

    Floral Texture

    Floral ceiling texture

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    Best For: Elegant finish and luxurious aesthetic.

    Floral ceiling textures prove that not all finishes are suitable for DIYers. This attractive finish is difficult to replicate without a substantial amount of skill. Though, the end result can vary depending on the desired look. Simple floral patterns may consist of basic flower and petal designs, but luxurious floral textures may incorporate a series of swirls, intertwining stems, and custom petals.

    This type of ceiling texture doesn't cover the entire ceiling, so it isn't great for hiding imperfections, but a floral ceiling texture can be the ideal choice to accent the living room, dining room, or even the bedroom.

  • 11 of 13

    Tree Bark Texture

    Tree bark ceiling texture

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    Best For: Enhancing natural wood decors.

    Tree bark ceiling texture doesn't stand out in the same way as a floral ceiling texture, instead creating a more subdued aesthetic that enhances the natural beauty of a wood decor. This texture mimics the look of tree bark and can even be painted to better resemble the actual appearance of bark.

    Selecting a tree bark ceiling texture for the home is a good way to hide flaws and imperfections while adding a subtle, yet appealing design to the ceiling. Though, it should be noted, that like many ceiling textures, a tree bark texture can be difficult to keep clean.

  • 12 of 13

    Sheetrock Texture

    Sheetrock ceiling texture

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    Best For: Rough, artistic aesthetic.

    The sheetrock ceiling texture is essentially a series of relatively straight lines applied in uneven patterns over the surface of the ceiling. The result is a rough texture that imitates the appearance of layered stone. Sheetrock ceiling textures look good with almost any home aesthetic as long as you are okay with the more artistic appeal.

    While this ceiling texture doesn't require a lot of tools for installation, it is necessary to mention that it can be difficult to replicate without prior knowledge and skill. If you aren't confident in your abilities, it's better to call in a professional to create a sheetrock ceiling texture.

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  • 13 of 13

    Shoelace Texture

    Shoelace ceiling texture

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    Best For: Unique, stylish patterns.

    A shoelace ceiling texture is made up of a series of unique swirling and intersecting lines that pop out from the ceiling. This effect is created by applying a thin layer of drywall compound to the ceiling, coating a shoelace or string, then running the shoelace across the ceiling while the initial coat is still wet.

    Shoelace ceiling textures stand out boldly, drawing the eye of most guests almost immediately. This design can also help to hide any flaws or imperfections in the ceiling, though it is one of the more difficult textures to create and it can be challenging to remove.

Choosing a Ceiling Texture

There are a few things to consider when it comes time to select a ceiling texture for the home. The most important factor is the aesthetic appeal of each texture because you don't want to spend time, effort, and money to put in a ceiling texture that you don't like. Decide on a pool of potential textures that you find attractive and that would enhance the decor of the home.

Once you have a few different options, take some time to think about the potential benefits of each texture. For instance, popcorn ceilings may be difficult to clean, but they are good at absorbing sound, making this texture a great choice for the kids' playroom. Another factor to keep in mind is the difficulty of the installation. Many ceiling textures can be installed as a relatively simple DIY project, but if you want an intricate ceiling texture design, like a lace texture, then you will need to hire a professional to complete the job.