You can change the whole atmosphere of a room by doing something a little special with the ceiling. Here are a few ideas.
Ceiling tiles have been popular for years, but some of the newer 3-D tiles actually simulate the craftsmanship of the past. Ceiling tiles are usually hung on pre-fab grids, which are either installed directly to the existing ceiling or suspended below it. Naturally, the more substantial and three-dimensional the style, the more expensive the tile.
In Victorian times, ornately decorated tin panels dressed up kitchens and dining rooms. These days, the panels are often steel, but the styles evoke the past. Like tiles, they can be nailed directly to furring strips or suspended, and you can coat the panels with clear polyurethane or paint them with oil-based paints. While they’re not cheap, they add an authentic touch to a period kitchen.
You can simulate tin-ceilings with raised, textured wallpaper, mixing and matching styles to create a complex design. Make sure your ceiling is smooth and flat, installing drywall if necessary. If the wallpaper is rigid enough, you may not need to completely finish the drywall seams, but prime the drywall before you install the wallpaper.
Of course, this is just a start. If you have the time and craftsperson’s patience, you could plan an ornate cofferred ceiling, in which wooden moldings strap the ceiling in a series of detailed squares. Or you can recreate the look of exposed beams by salvaging old wood from house or barn demolitions. Plastering is not yet a dead craft, and you could hire a professional plasterer to finish the ceiling. Polyurethane foam medallions, cornices and trim can also give your ceiling a more elegant look.