What are the Different Types of Faux Ceilings?

Rebecca Mecomber
Rebecca Mecomber
Woman posing
Woman posing

Faux ceilings, or fake ceilings, are ceilings decorated with materials that mimic the genuine material. For example, embossed wallpaper has the appearance of tin ceiling tiles; embossed wallpaper installed on the ceiling to mimic genuine tin tiles is a faux ceiling. Generally, faux ceiling materials are less expensive to purchase and easier or as easy to install, and they appear to be very similar to the genuine material. The different types of faux ceilings include imitation plaster medallions, faux support beams, acoustic tiles that resemble wood beadboard and more.

One of the most popular faux ceilings is imitation tin tile ceilings. Once gracing lofty ceilings of Victorian-era homes, metal ceiling tiles have become expensive and difficult to install. Suitable imitation faux ceiling tiles constructed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, fiberglass or polystyrene sheets are pressed into old-fashioned patterns, including the classical dentil style and the lovely egg and dart patterns. These lighter-weight materials are less expensive and less laborious to install.

Embossed wallpaper is another sufficient tin replacement. It is less expensive than the imitation pressed-plastic tiles. When installed correctly and painted, embossed wallpaper strongly resembles the textured ceilings of old tin tiles for a mere fraction of the price.

Similar to the imitation pressed faux tin ceiling is the faux ceiling medallion. Constructed of plastic resin or polystyrene, faux ceiling medallions mimic the ornate plaster medallions of an older era. Faux medallions can be purchased in a number of sizes and styles and can be painted or stained to resemble the genuine product. These faux ceiling trimmings are best installed in formal rooms, such as a dining room or parlor.

Wood planks, or old-fashioned beadboard, was popular as a ceiling style in 19th century American homes, installed when wood was abundant and skilled labor was readily available. Wood has become an expensive decor design choice, however, and homeowners have turned to composite materials to provide the appearance of wood without the hefty price tag. Composites such as pressed hardboard, fiberglass and lightweight foam are formed into faux ceiling beams, faux wood planks and faux wood tileboards, and they readily accept paint or laminated wood veneer finishes. Placed at the tops of rooms, these faux wood ceilings create a stunning illusion of the real material. Additionally, faux wooden ceiling beams, popular with rustic style homes, are constructed from composite materials and might sport faux finishes of ax-hewn marks or sawmill marks that add to the illusion.

Trompe l'oeil ceilings, or "trick the eye" faux painted ceilings, are a spectacular art technique of creating a realistic-looking, three-dimensional images or scenes on walls and ceilings, such as a faux sky, faux clouds, or pastoral faux wall finishing portraits. A faux trompe l'oeil ceiling can be painted to depict three-dimensional images or might simulate lavish embellishments such as gold leaf or gilded ceilings. Faux ceilings also can be pasted with large wallpaper murals, a less expensive and less onerous job than painting a scene or image. Whether painted or pasted, a trompe l'oeil faux ceiling is especially dazzling on an extremely high ceiling or in a large room.

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