Just as a building is incomplete without a sturdy roof, home interiors are incomplete without a good ceiling. The ceiling or 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. 

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?

red-wall-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

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.

False Ceiling Cost per sq ft.: ₹50 – ₹150

Plaster of Paris False Ceiling

pop-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.

False Ceiling Cost per sq ft.: ₹50 – ₹150

Wooden False Ceiling

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.

False Ceiling 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.

price comparison

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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

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

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

plus-minus-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

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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.

False Ceiling Shapes

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Unique box designs with POP

POP used in false ceilings is known for its mouldable properties making it perfect for almost any kind of ceiling design. However, there are other false ceiling materials that can be shaped and customised as well. Take a look at some of the most popular false ceiling shapes:

  • Box ceiling: This design features a layered ceiling with boxed and recessed lights attached to them. 
  • Peripheral ceiling: This minimal design runs along the corners of the room and is perfect for low ceiling homes. You can also find space for a chandelier or pendant lights in this design.
  • Geometric design: This design requires suspended panels for each piece that is put together. It’s a modern design that gives the room a stylish edge. 
  • Intricate lattice: Installing a lattice in a false ceiling provides a subtle demarcation to an open space and adds to the aesthetics of a room. 
  • Wooden slats: Wooden false ceilings are a favourite albeit expensive option among homeowners. It is also one of the best insulating ceiling options
  • Inverted cove: A great option to reduce high ceilings. It works well in every room and is perfect for ambient lighting. You can also find space for a chandelier in this design.

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

  • Great acoustics: Adding an additional layer to the original ceiling creates better acoustics within making it a perfect design treatment for living rooms, home theatre and AV rooms.
  • Hides wires: A false ceiling is a perfect place to hide wires and pipes. A false ceiling can also be fitted with sunken or hidden lighting.
  • Brings lofty ceilings lower: For lofty vertical space that dwarfs furniture in a room, you can consider installing a false ceiling to restore proportions.
  • 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

  • Installation requires precision from experts: False ceiling requires precision in design, calculation and installation and must only be put in place by experts. 
  • Not feasible for low-ceilinged rooms: It needs to be at least 8 inches away from the original wall. Therefore, it is always recommended that the ceiling height be 11 feet or higher. For compact homes, a partial ceiling in a corner of the room can do the trick.

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:

#1: Living Room

living-room-false-ceiling
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.

#2: Bedroom

bedroom-false-ceiling
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.

#3: Kids Room

kids-room-false-ceiling
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.

#4: The Kitchen

kitchen-false-ceiling
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.

#5: The Dining Room

false ceiling-pooja room-marble flooring
Grand ceiling options to match the dining table

There’s a reason homeowner’s opt for these designs in dining rooms. Lowering the ceiling makes for a cosy atmosphere making the dining experience a lot more personal and enjoyable. In most cases, the ceiling mimics the material of the dining table to provide a continuation of design in the room! The above image features a POP ceiling that is painted to look like wood and match the solid wood dining table.

#6: Pooja Room

gypsum-false-ceiling-pooja room
 Minimal ceiling with energy conserving LED lighting

If you have a pooja or prayer room at home, you know how important good lighting is for this space. In most cases, a pooja room is a compact space with no windows. Even if they are present, they are most likely covered or blocked. This leaves you with installing this design to save space with ample overhead lighting. 

FAQs on false ceilings

false ceiling-chandelier-grey sofa-wooden coffee table
Cove lighting disperses light to the entire room

Does my house need a false ceiling?

It depends on your preferences. Besides the aesthetic appeal of it, false ceilings are functional features that improve acoustics, they cover unsightly wires and pipes, they can be designed around air conditioning ducts and lower electricity consumption. Moreover, you can opt for fire proof and moisture resistant designs as well.

How long do they last?

These false ceilings that are custom designed and made with high quality POP and gypsum will last well beyond 20 years in normal conditions.

How is it better than traditional lights?

When compared to tubelights, bulbs and track lights, they are cost and energy efficient in the long run. Their ability to reflect and diffuse light to a wider area makes them more efficient than focused lighting like track lights and tubelights.

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!

Send in your comments and suggestions to editor@livspace.com