The fifth wall is steadily gaining momentum in a world of interior design that almost always favoured the four walls and the floor. Although false ceiling designs have been around for years, they’re coming back with a bang in terms of patterns, finishes, technology and illusions. While we’re well far from boring whitewashed ceilings, this new wave of innovation is set to revolutionise the concept of the ceiling–making it a must-have in a new home!

Before diving into designs, it’s best to set a base of what it is, who it’s for and what it’s pros and cons are.

What is a False Ceiling?

Gives your a room a stylish look

In simple terms, a false ceiling is a fitted ceiling that hangs below the original ceiling of a room or home. It’s usually suspended by wooden or metal frames and the illusion it brings of a lower ceiling, sometimes with parts of the original ceiling on display, has earned it the moniker ‘dropped ceiling’.

These are usually mounted at a minimum distance of 8 inches from the original ceiling. They’re versatile enough to be constructed in homes of any size– it’s all about being clever with shapes and available space.

Popular False Ceiling Materials

Gypsum False Ceiling

Used for lightweight false ceilings

Gypsum is an offspring of calcium and is used in the construction of lightweight ceilings. They usually come in the form of boards that are then hung off the ceiling with iron or wooden frameworks and given a lick of paint.

Cost per sq ft.: ₹50 – ₹150

Plaster of Paris False Ceiling

Long-lasting & weather-resistant

This is a more common variety of ceilings, not least because PoP is easy to shape and source. They’re long-lasting and are well-insulated even in varying weather conditions.

Cost per sq ft.: ₹50 – ₹150

Wooden False Ceiling

Adds a warm touch to your room

Due to their natural grain and textures, wood has found its way onto the fifth wall many times, in the form of a ceiling. It’s a tad on the pricier side, which is why you’d most likely see it in residential buildings as opposed to large-scale commercial projects.

Cost per sq ft.: ₹80 – ₹650

Of these, the first two are usually the ceiling of choice in Indian homes because they’re much more customisable.

Types of False Ceiling Designs

To help you evaluate which ceiling design to go for, here’s a rundown of both the classic and the bang-on-trend:

Single-layered False Ceiling

These draw the eye upwards immediately

This type of ceiling is a fool-proof way to jazz up a room without going the whole hog. Homeowners could choose to leave it white on a white ceiling, as this adds dimension without necessarily overwhelming the space. However, if you’d like to go out with a bang, you could choose from a variety of colours, shapes, textures and lighting options to draw the eye upwards immediately. This is a great trick to distract from a small space or one that doesn’t do much in terms of decor.

Multi-layered False Ceiling

Opens up new avenues for adding lighting

Layers are a great way to experiment with an already versatile medium to create a completely personalised ceiling. In larger rooms, a multi-layered ceiling in the centre of the ceiling creates drama and the feeling of grandeur, while those laid out near the edges are more likely to make the space look wider. A multi-layered ceiling also opens up new avenues for lighting, colour and shape-based experiments, so don’t be afraid to flex your creative muscles!

Plus-Minus POP False Ceiling

Factor in existing decor plans for this one

Constructed completely out of POP, the plus-minus ceiling design is where there are elements protruding out of a regular false ceiling or, by contrast, tucked into it. This trend is more on the elaborate side, so be sure to factor in existing decor plans and the amount of space you have before playing around with this idea.

Coffered False Ceiling

These create the illusion of higher ceilings

Coffers are sunken square or boxy panels that are fixed into a ceiling. Aside from instantly bringing drama into a space, this ceiling design also creates the illusion of higher ceiling height and multiple dimensions within one room.

Pros and Cons of a False Ceiling

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to install a ceiling, here are a few pros and cons that should help you decide:

Advantages of a False Ceiling #1: Great Acoustics

Adding an additional layer to the original ceiling creates better acoustics within a room. This makes this a perfect interior design treatment for living rooms, home theatre and AV rooms where movie-watching or listening to music is to be the primary activity.

Advantages of a False Ceiling #2: Hides Wires

If you’ve got a mess of wires on your ceiling or along walls, a false ceiling is a perfect place to hide them. A fall ceiling can also be fitted with sunken or hidden lighting. This takes care of illumination without the need for additional fixtures and wiring.

Advantages of a False Ceiling #3: Brings Lofty Ceilings Lower

Homeowners having to deal with lofty vertical space that dwarfs furniture in a room can consider installing a false ceiling to restore proportions. This purely cosmetic change allows you to alter the look of the home without touching the structure.

Advantages of a False Ceiling #4: Insulates the Room

For homes in colder regions of the country, this offers up an added perk of insulating rooms. The additional layer creates a gap between itself and the original layer, which traps air and cools the room down. It also optimises the functioning of air conditioners. Because it reduces the square footage to be cool and slashes energy bills.

Disadvantages of a False Ceiling #1: Installation Requires Precision from Experts

Installing a false ceiling is a far cry from being a DIY project, despite the commonplace material used. It requires precision in design, calculation and installation and must only be put in place by experts. Depending on the shape and details of your ceiling, you may also need advice on additional support and wiring.

Disadvantages of a False Ceiling #2: Not Feasible for Low-Ceilinged Rooms

Since it needs to be at least 8 inches away from the original wall, it is always recommended that the ceiling height be 11 feet or higher. For compact homes, this could be a drawback. Because too much detail on the ceiling could make the space look cramped. There’s a way about this, however– owners of small homes could opt for a partial ceiling in a corner of the room. They could also choose to extend a wall or TV console to the ceiling for extra dimension.

Where to Install a False Ceiling

There’s really no limit to where you could install a ceiling in your home, but popular options are:

False Ceiling Location #1: The Living Room

Makes for a great welcome for guests

This makes for a grand entrance and instantly hints at the amount of vertical space available, making the room look larger than it is or quite right.

False Ceiling Location #2: The Bedroom

A striking way to add drama to any bedroom

A false ceiling over a bed, or running the vertical length between floor and wall, is a striking way to add drama to the room without compromising on the comfort and cosiness a bedroom should entail.

False Ceiling Location #3: The Kid’s Room

Experiment with shapes for your kid’s room

Instead of playing it safe with pinks and blues, consider taking all the colour and throwing it up in the form of a ceiling. This keeps the room free of potentially dangerous decor items and furniture while connecting with the space, design-wise.

False Ceiling Location #4: The Kitchen

Offbeat but definitely makes a statement

Not one for the safe players, a false ceiling in a kitchen is a surefire way to add style. It converts a task-oriented space into one that scores points for offbeat design. Not only does it look fancy, but it also provides additional lighting without using wall or countertop space.

The final word

Adding a false ceiling to an existing or new interior design plan enlivens the space. It also creates a cosy ambience and earns brownie points for supporting lower energy bills!

Also, if you love to see more fancy ceilings, read this: Bye, Bye, Boring Ceilings!

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