ON TOP OF CEILING TRENDS
Tin, panels and planks have designers and homeowners looking up with possibilities
You might be floored by what you can do with ceilings today.
Ceiling design has come a long way from painted drywall or standard textured finishes. And while you’re at it, forget about those lacklustre and bland basement drop ceilings designed to hide ductwork, plumbing and electrical that somehow still seem like they’re remnants from a bygone era.
“There are a lot more options than there used to be,” said Logan McPhail, general manager of the Ceiling Centre. “Customers are demanding something different than the generic school or officestyle white ceiling tile with perforations.”
Instead, think of ceiling tiles as features that will enhance your living spaces. Picture tin panels, specialty tiles that mimic coffered ceilings, or wood-like planks that are reminiscent of shiplap, then add in a multitude of colour selections or geometric designs, including concrete replica finishes or panels that resemble wood.
“People are surprised by the choices,” McPhail said. “It’s constantly evolving.”
GOING OFF THE (CEILING) GRID
While drop ceilings are generally thought of for basements, McPhail notes that today’s choices give homeowners options they didn’t have before. Now a drop ceiling can be appropriate for virtually any room.
The coffered or raised panel tiles can give main floor rooms a totally different feel. Concrete ceiling tiles can add a more industrialized look, and walnut-like panels can enrich a den or office’s existing look.
“Tin really pops in kitchens,” McPhail said. “Sometimes we use it as a backsplash, or sometimes the full ceiling is done.”
Bars and home theatres are other spots where ceiling tiles are being used. “Anywhere you want a more interesting ceiling, the decorative panels or the tin are really sought after,” McPhail said.
For example, incorporating black tiles can work well in a home theatre to reduce glare, or just to give the room a more darkened, theatre-like atmosphere. McPhail has also seen them mixed with white tiles to create checkerboard patterns. And while the tiles — measuring two feet by two feet — are generally installed in a standard straightforward grid pattern, outside the grid thinking is a possibility.
“You can change the typical grid,” McPhail said. “You can do a subway tile pattern. You can mix in two-by-twos with two-by-fours. You don’t have to be confined to one size.”
If you’re still not sold on a drop ceiling, or the idea of a T-bar frame to hold in the tiles doesn’t work for you, there is an alternative. Despite being a standard size (two feet by two feet), Vector Edge ceiling tiles mask and hide the grid because they snap in from below, as opposed to being angled in a typical drop or suspended ceiling. As a result, this type of suspended ceiling only requires a two-inch drop, where a standard drop ceiling needs to be at least three-anda-half inches below the actual ceiling.
Another option, McPhail said, is to opt for what is called a cloud, or layered, ceiling. Essentially, this is a smaller ceiling below the main ceiling.
Depending on the space, you could have a number of these smaller ceiling formations suspended below the actual ceiling, such as rectangular-shaped objects that give the upper part of the room a sense of depth by creating different levels. Also, if budget is a constraint, one could opt for a more cost-effective ceiling tile to be used for the overall space, while adding the cloud formations that would house the more expensive tiles as a decorative ceiling accent.
TIN IS IN
Nan Marshall wanted something distinctive for her latest project. An interior designer who works with the show home division design team at real estate company Qualico was contemplating a feature that would make a new Pacesetter home even more attractive.
“In our show homes, we always try to have something different, something edgy, something people haven’t seen before,” said Marshall, who works on between 10 and 15 show homes annually for Qualico’s design wing, known as Design Q.
Marshall was tasked with enhancing a 2,345-square-foot two-storey home located in a new home development. “People tend to take ceilings for granted,” said Marshall.
The home’s eating nook, just off the kitchen, already has a coffered ceiling. But Marshall wanted to take it a step further.
“This eating nook has a ceiling detail in it,” said Marshall, who is going to have tin ceiling panels installed in each of the coffered sections. “I’m super excited about it.”
Marshall said she was surprised by the ceiling choices she saw.
“I was completely shocked at the number of different styles of tin, and that they also offer custom paint colours for the tin panels,” Marshall said. “The home I’m doing the tin in, I like to call it modern global influence — it brings designs and products together from all around the world — has a lot of black and gold mixed into it. Logan (McPhail) was able to do a custom black base with a gold accent on the pattern. It is amazing.”
NOT JUST CEILINGS
Marshall’s Ceiling Centre trip yielded even more results, including an idea for Qualico’s Sterling Homes division. A MirroFlex product — deeply textured, three-dimensional wall panels and ceiling tiles — caught her eye for the fireplace wall of the Thomas, a 2,547-square-foot, two-storey show home, also located in Edmonton.
As the Thomas is a more contemporary offering, Marshall wanted to balance the home’s warmth and minimalism with a fresh, dazzling effect. That’s where the MirroFlex Kalahari wall panels will come into play. The panels, which have a wave-like pattern and bronze strata finish, will be used on the fireplace wall in the main floor great room to add impact to the design.
“I’m putting these on the wall, but I also think it would be a great feature for a ceiling,” Marshall said. “It’s really exciting that we have so many ceiling options, and if you can think outside the box the possibilities are endless.”
‘CEILING’ THE DEAL
Typically a plain, more traditional ceiling tile, reminiscent of the standard white ones with perforations, start at about $1 per square foot.
MirroFlex decorative ceiling tiles, which come in a variety of different designs, start at between $3 and $5 per square foot. Similarly, Vector Edge ceiling tiles have the same price point, including the Tbar suspension frame that holds the tiles in place.
Tin and MirroFlex panels can also be also glued to ceilings, eliminating the need for a T-bar system. Tin ceiling tiles start at about $4 per square foot.
Plank ceilings — a PVC product with a vinyl wrap — are available in white and wood tones and start at about $5 per square foot.
Tin ceilings are becoming a more popular design option, adding a distinctive edge and pop of sophistication to modern kitchens.
New ceiling design options, which come at various price points, can breathe new life in your living space.