Plastered ceilings often crack and look bad. One solution is to cover them with metal or use metal in place of plaster. Metal is still available today, but new materials such as plastic and paper offer a similar look. Regardless of material, a ceiling with a repeating pattern requires some planning.
1. Do not interrupt the pattern. This is the most important planning tip. These ceiling types have a repeating pattern for a reason — aesthetics. If you have to cut the pattern, that is usually due to poor planning.
2. Expect the layout not to fit. Whether you use a 3-inch, 6-inch, or 12-inch design, expect the room to be out of square or the wrong dimension. Do not be tempted to cut the pattern.
3. Lay out the panels from the center. Don’t start from a wall. The ceiling should be centered within the room.
4. Stop panels shy of the wall. Fill the remaining gap with trim or a metal filler pattern.
5. Center the main light. The ceiling pattern governs all light placement. If you’re using multiple lights, position each light within the pattern without splitting any panels.
6. Size the pattern to the height. A 3-inch pattern is good for 8-foot-high ceilings, but too small for higher ceilings. For 10-foot and 12-foot ceilings, use a 12-inch pattern.
7. Adjust the “walls.” To make it appear as if the pattern extends to the wall, create a ledge around the upper perimeter of the room. Next, add a new wall above the ledge and place the new wall against the metal. The ledge creates the illusion that the pattern runs to the wall by tricking the eye into thinking the original wall is unchanged.
8. Create a light show. Show off your ceiling by installing accent lighting above the ledge. Keep accent lights an equal distance from each “wall” for even illumination.
9. Add color. This is not just a common drywall ceiling. So be bold. Show it off by painting it a rich color or by using several colors. Sponge or rag painting a second color will accent the textures in the pattern.
—Mark Wyatt is the president and founder of Wyatt Drafting & Design, in Warsaw, Ind.