Why Are Ceilings Textured? (Reasons & Types)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

why are ceilings textured

Every home is assembled with a unique motif, including eclectic wall paint, open or closed floor plans, and ceiling styles. Focusing on the latter, textured or acoustic ceilings grew in popularity during the late 1950s but became somewhat obsolete in modern homes. However, what are textured ceilings, and why do people choose them?

Textured ceilings are made using lumpy aggregate like polystyrene or vermiculite. This style is a recommended design to hide blemishes and imperfections, reduce maintenance, and minimize noise and echoes. Textured ceiling styles include popcorn, skip trowelling, knockdown, and orange peel ceilings.

Despite being outdated, interior designers continuously find ways to add a modern touch to blend textured ceilings with contemporary décor effortlessly. So let’s chat some more about these popcorn-like, stipple ceilings.

Why Are Ceilings Textured?

Like all home designs, the look and texture of a ceiling are primarily a matter of personal taste. While some homeowners prefer a classic, flat look, others cherry-pick textures that add dimension and character. 

Interior designers often recommend incorporating a textured ceiling to soundproof a room and hide blemishes and defects, like cracks and imperfectly taped drywall seams. 

Textures give a surface area increased visual weight by creating shade and shadow patterns by breaking up the light that strikes it; this makes the surface appear darker than a smooth area. The textured ceilings also add depth and dimension to a large room that receives lots of natural light; you’ll notice that the ceiling looks different at all hours of the day as the shadows play off the ceiling’s ridges and bumps.

While aiming for a lower-appearing ceiling may seem counterintuitive, this is occasionally precisely what a homeowner needs to add charm to a room while making it seem appropriately proportioned.

Contrary to many homeowners’ expectations, a textured ceiling costs less than a smooth one. However, a perfectly smooth ceiling requires more time and effort to hide minor imperfections with extra mud layers and additional sanding labor. 

Many designers recommend textured ceilings if you plan to add rooms to your home and require blending new ceilings into old ones. In addition, adding texture may reduce ceiling installation costs because it takes fewer trips to texture a ceiling than to get it perfectly smooth.

Types Of Textured Ceilings

The five most popular textures ceiling types include:

  • Popcorn ceilings
  • Skip trowel ceilings
  • Knockdown ceilings
  • Swirled ceilings
  • Orange peel ceilings

Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings are a ubiquitous style with a retro charm built into many 90s homes.

The rough, bumpy appearance of popcorn (or cottage cheese) ceilings is cost-effective to make a ceiling look uniform. However, popcorn ceilings fell out of favor because of their difficulty to clean. 

Popcorn is a mixture of Styrofoam balls or stucco and mud sprayed onto the ceiling to achieve a bumpy appearance reminiscent of popcorn or cottage cheese.

Skip Trowel Ceilings

The skip trowel texture is a classy, low-key textured ceiling style in high-end hones that gives dimension to your ceiling with a subtle stucco look. 

Builders hand-apply the skip trowel texture using a trowel to spread the coarse sand and joint compound across the ceiling to create the texture. The aggressiveness of the texture relies on the rough and smooth ratio to achieve several finishes like the Spanish and Artisan styles.

Note that the skip trowel texture requires experience with a trowel. So, ensure you are handy with a trowel before trying it as a DIY style at home.

Knockdown Ceilings

Knockdown texture is relatively similar to skip trowel texture. It is excellent for concealing a ceiling’s minor imperfections and adding subtle warmth and depth to a room. 

To create the knockdown texture, you start by spraying the ceiling with drywall mud, leaving it to set and dry for 20 minutes. As the compound dries, it drips slightly, creating stalactites that are scraped away with a trowel to leave a stuccoed texture.

However, it does require extra labor to knock down the texture manually with a trowel after the texture is sprayed onto the ceiling.

Swirled Ceilings

The swirled ceiling texture is a beautiful, unique look consisting of full or half circle patterns made by swirling a trowel or sponge through the wet compound to create a striking fanned pattern with a vintage and art deco-esque flair.

Orange Peel Ceilings

The orange peel ceiling texture resembles an orange peel, with a slightly bumpy yet soft-looking texture.

The orange peel texture is popular in modern homes thanks to its smooth, subtle, and understated texture. It provides the effects of a textured ceiling while remaining straightforward to wipe clean.

Textured Ceiling vs. Smooth Ceilings

smooth ceiling

When working on your home’s interior, it can be challenging to decide on the ideal ceilings for the living space. Both ceiling types have benefits and drawbacks. 

Let’s explore the pros and cons:

Textured Ceilings: Pros & Cons

Here are the most outstanding positive and negative aspects of textured ceilings:

Textured Ceiling Pros

  • Textured ceilings hide blemishes well. The “busy” design makes it harder to notice scratches, waviness, and paint imperfections. More so, textured ceilings don’t require a high level of maintenance.
  • Textured ceilings are cheaper. Because textured ceilings help hide imperfections, it requires less skimming, sanding, and less material. 
  • Textured ceilings help reduce noise. While smooth surfaces naturally allow sound to pass through, textured surfaces help decrease echoes and noise from other rooms.

Textured Ceiling Cons

  • Textured ceilings appear dated. Many people view textured ceilings as outdated and unappealing. If you prefer a contemporary look, consider avoiding applying textured ceilings.
  • Repairs are challenging on a textured ceiling. It can be challenging to match the existing texture if something damages your ceiling, and non-matching textures are immediately noticeable. 
  • Older textured ceilings can contain asbestos. Long-term asbestos exposure can have detrimental health effects and needs quick resolution. 

Smooth Ceilings: Pros & Cons

Smooth ceilings also come with various benefits and drawbacks. Here are the most significant pros and cons:

Smooth Ceiling Pros

  • Smooth ceilings are modern-looking. Smooth ceilings are the ideal way to achieve a modern look. 
  • Smooth ceilings create the illusion of a raised ceiling. Smooth ceilings are ideal for cramped rooms with small footage by creating the illusion of space.
  • Smooth ceilings are easy to clean and repair. In addition, smooth ceilings are less likely to trap dust, grease, and dirt.

Smooth Ceiling Cons

  • Smooth ceilings are more expensive. A smooth ceiling requires extra labor and resources to create the perfect finishing touch, making them more costly.
  • Smooth ceilings show imperfections. A smooth surface does not hide dents and dings, making them more evident than textured ceilings. 
  • Smooth ceilings do not reduce noise. In addition, smooth ceilings do not reduce echoes or noises from other rooms.


Many homes have textured ceilings coated with a substance to create a bumpy texture or acoustic finish that increases visual weight, hides various imperfections, and eliminates the echo in a room. 

With the above pros and cons of textured and smooth ceilings, we trust you’ll be well away to make the best decision for your home’s appearance.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.