Ceiling options and ideas

Whether you yearn for the old-fashioned romance of moulded plaster or something more modern and cutting-edge, there are ceiling options to meet your requirements.

ceiling with skylights
ARTICLE Joanna Mathers

The ceiling is often at the bottom of our list of priorities. Splashing out on something a little decorative or different can transform an otherwise blank canvas into a work of art.

Plaster ceilings

White, victorian influenced moulded plaster ceiling

Moulded plaster ceilings are found in many older homes, but they can work just as well in contemporary dwellings. Corner detailing, cornices, domes and decorative centre pieces can all be incorporated effectively into any new or restored ceiling.

Carrara Ceilings specialise in plaster ceilings, providing both prefabricated and bespoke options.

Paul Stanton has been working here for 30 years, and says that their ceilings have been installed throughout Australia.

“People can choose from moulds off the shelf, or they can provide us with a pattern and we can make a mould of that,” he explains.

There are 800-1000 moulds available, and they are always creating new patterns. “But some of our clients always like to use their own patterns for their mould,” he says.

Stanton says that it takes up to three weeks for the mould to be created and installed in busy periods, but they aim for a two week turnaround.

White, octagon and diamond plastered ceiling

He feels that the inclusion of handcrafted decorative plaster ceilings can change the look of a home. “It can take a plain ceiling and turn it into something really special.”

Moulded plaster cornices range in price from $10-$27 a metre. Basic patterned plaster ceilings start at $130 per square metre; decorative centres range in price from $40-$130.

Suspended ceilings

Suspended ceilings offer excellent sound-proofing and allow for a wide range of interesting and innovative finishes.

Daniel Pepperell from Suspended Ceilings says that this makes it ideal for commercial environments, but also good for homes where a lot of entertaining is done. “It’s really cost effective and offers a wide range of great effects to be used.”

One effect that works well with suspended ceilings is wooden batons. These can be fixed to powder-coated aluminium in a colour of your choice to create an attractive, textured ceiling. Suspended ceilings can also be used to create curved bulkheads, angled ceilings and other interesting effects.

Suspended ceilings fittings start from $20 per square metre. This does not include finishes such as wooden batons.

Exposed ceilings

exposed beams above lounge area

Exposed beams can take away a flat ceiling and give a room warmth and character.

Exposing existing beams or joists in the ceiling can also maximise the sense of space in a room, adding an industrial or loft style look.

Depending on the shape and size of the home, the beams in an exposed ceiling will vary in position, curves and appearances.

The raw nature of the exposed beam makes beautiful contrast against a clean and sleek interior; visually breaking a clean colour palette. Stip the original beams back to natural wood for a warm or rustic glow, apply a rich stain for a defined eye-popping architectural interest or for a modern look – paint them white or black.

If you do not have sufficient ceiling beams, would rather an unproblematic alternative or would like not like the extra expense; faux beams can be added to achieve the same look. Muros produce lightweight faux wood beams in six colour tones, sized to suit any style.

PVC ceilings

Two storey home with metal staircase using PVC as a ceiling for first storey and as flooring for second storey

If a standard level ceiling doesn’t float your boat, one of these PVC ceilings may be just right for you. Made from stretchable PVC, and able to be crafted into a range of interesting shapes, these ceilings are real showstoppers.

The technology used to create these ceilings have been used in Europe for 35 years.

Ivan Korovkin, a manager at Extenzo, explains how it works. “Customers can choose from 130 colours and seven finishes.”

“There is also an option for people to choose their own designs. The shape of the ceiling is crafted from aluminium, and the PVC is stretched to create the desired effect.”

The sky’s the limit with these ceilings – you can choose wave effects, high-gloss that creates a mirrored look on the ceiling, or turn your ceiling into a mini solar system.

Cost is based on the pattern and shapes you choose, and installation is quick – from around a half a day for small jobs.

Extenxo roofing starts from $150 per square metre for the standard colour and finishes. Bespoke designs are extra.

Skylights and domes

Light coloured wood panelled ceiling with skylights

Skylights and domes bring light and a sense of warmth into otherwise dark areas of the home; they can also be a real style statement. Some companies can create a variety of skylight shapes to meet clients deamands – pyramids, triangles, or grid patterns are just some of the options.

Natural Light Solutions sell giant domes and large circular skylights that can be incorporated into larger roof areas.

The giant domes are rectangular or square in shape and range in size from 1640mm x 1640mm to 2400mm x 1800mm. They come in a variety of finishes including bronze, black or white.

Circular skylights range in size from 1000mm to 2000mm in diameter and include a stainless steel fixing ring. Circular skylights range in price from $1840 - $4320 depending on size. Giant domes range in price from $1564 - $2617.

Finishing touches

Glass panelled cutouts hanging vertically from ceiling in Grecian inspired bathroom

There are a number of great ways in which to add the perfect finishing touch to your ceilings.

Flush Fit allows curtains to be set into the ceiling, providing a seamless flow from the ceiling to floor. Tim Wallace from Vanda Holdings who developed the system says that architects are very excited about the opportunities this lends them.

“They traditionally don’t like window fittings, and this allows for them to be hidden, so architects love it!” he says.

Flush Fit needs to be specified early in the build or renovation so that space allowance can be made for it.

“If designing a house with views, architects are able to make a cavity space that the Flush Fit can be positioned in. This means when the curtains are pulled back there can be an unobstructed floor to ceiling view.”

If you want to create a statement in a noisy area of the home, Fabwall Cloud Panels could be the right thing for you.

Cloud Panel is a fabric-wrapped panel designed to float or be affixed to the ceiling to provide soundproofing – they also look great!

They come in a range of colours and shapes, or you can choose your own fabric for the ideal look. These are often used commercially, but can be incorporated in home projects.

You might be interested in reading: Cathedral ceiling lighting ideas.

Renovate Magazine Logo

This article by Joanna Mathers featured on page 89 of Issue 012 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.

If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your ceiling renovation project, please use the enquiry form alongside to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "

*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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