When you go outside to relax on your porch, what do you see? What do others see when they come to visit? While your first thoughts may be that they’ll notice your decorations, furniture, and maybe roofline, they’ll also notice your ceiling. The ceiling can have a significant effect on how your porch looks to others, and how you feel when you sit under it. Use some of these porch ceiling ideas to improve your porch’s look and feel.
1) DIY Copper
Copper is a great porch choice because it looks beautiful from a distance. People approaching the porch from outside will see the shiny copper ceiling, and anybody sitting on the porch will be able to enjoy the look of it, too. These copper ceiling tiles from Amazon are ideal for porch ceilings, as they’re PVC. They’re weather- and corrosion-resistant, so they work well outside, and since you can cut them with scissors, they’ll be an easy DIY project.
2) Cedar Tongue and Groove
Tongue and groove is one of the best ways to install a wood porch ceiling. This type of board has a thinner piece of wood called a tongue that slots into a groove on the adjacent board to create a smooth interlocking ceiling. This cedar tongue and groove from The Home Depot is excellent because cedar will naturally repel bugs and help your porch be a pleasant place to relax without getting eaten alive. You can install this yourself if you’re familiar with tongue and groove or similar projects.
3) DIY String Pendant Lamp
If you have a slanted porch roof and ceiling, you’ll need to get creative when installing overhead lights. On a small porch, it might not be necessary, but on a large porch, you’ll need a good light source. This do-it-yourself project is a great way to add a sparkle to your porch ceiling. Watch this video from Ventuno Arts to learn how to build a pendant light out of twine. Pendant lights hang from the ceiling, so you don’t have to worry about an uneven ceiling. Just make sure to get a waterproof lightbulb for it.
If your ceiling and roof don’t have a lot of damage, and you just want to make it look a bit nicer, try painting it. Painting is a quick and easy way to transform a large area, and anybody can do it. You can choose a bold color, or a light or pastel color like the one in this image, depending on the look you want. If you make a significant change to the ceiling color, you’ll be surprised by how drastic the effect on your porch will be.
5) String Lights
If your ceiling seems bare, you might think that the only way to make it look better is to change the material it’s made from or do a major remodel. Before you go that far, try adding some string lights around the edges of the ceiling. You can use these as decorations, but you can also make them your primary light source. They’re heavy-duty and waterproof so that they won’t get damaged by exposure to the elements.
6) DIY Beadboard
If you’re looking for a material to cover your porch ceiling, try installing beadboard. Beadboard is an attractive way to cover a porch ceiling, and since a ceiling is mainly aesthetic, you want to choose a material that looks good. The beadboard needs to go on plywood, so consider that when planning to install your beadboard. You can install the beadboard yourself in a couple of days, or hire a contractor. If you don’t have a nail gun and compressor, hiring a contractor will save a lot of time and effort.
7) Icicle Curtain Lights
Your ceiling materials and lights are an essential part of your porch decor, but they aren’t the only thing you need to make your porch ceiling look great. Try adding decorations like these curtain lights. The lights look like icicles, and you can add them to your ceiling to create a curtain of bright decorations at night. There are multiple settings that you can change to get the look you want, and everything except the plug and controller is waterproof, so you can use them on the porch safely as long as the outlet is covered.
8) Match Colors
Depending on the style of your porch ceiling, it might be visible from the road. If it’s a front porch, it’ll be visible as people approach your house. You’ll want it to not only look nice but also match the area around it. If you have steps going up to it, you can make the area look like one comprehensive design by painting the ceiling the same color as the steps, as Laurel at SoPo Cottage did with this small porch.
9) Ceiling Fan
Your porch is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and feel a cool breeze on your face without getting rained on. Unfortunately, you won’t always have a breeze to enjoy. A ceiling fan is a great way to cool off your porch so you can enjoy it even on the hottest summer day. Try getting a ceiling fan like this one from Amazon. The fan should be water- and weather-resistant, so it doesn’t get damaged by the elements.
10) Open Ceiling
Your porch ceiling doesn’t necessarily need to be covered with plywood, boards, or panels. One of the great things about an outdoor space is that it can have an unfinished look and still look good. Instead of spending money on ceiling coverings, try leaving the ceiling open to create a deliberately natural appearance, as somebody did with the porch ceiling in this picture. Notice how greenery and other natural or rustic elements were included in the decorating to complete the look.
11) DIY Traditional Haint Blue Porch Ceiling
Have you ever passed by a house and seen a blue-green porch ceiling? While it may simply seem like part of a pastel color scheme, it has a history rooted in Southern Superstition. Many Southerners would paint their porch ceilings blue to ward off evil spirits. Whether you believe in evil spirits or not, this shade of blue-green is a great way to become part of old traditions, and an opportunity to strike up a conversation.
12) Bermuda Bronze
There are many kinds of tile you can use for your porch ceiling. While you might think of tile as a type of flooring, it makes a great ceiling decoration. This Bermuda bronze tile is bright-colored, making it noticeable to people approaching the porch, but the finish shouldn’t be overwhelming to people sitting under the porch. The Bermuda bronze gives an antique look to the porch, and the tiles are easy to cut and install yourself. Since they’re water- and corrosion-resistant, they’re an excellent choice for an outdoor setting like a porch.
If you’re looking for a more unusual design than the typical flat or slanted ceiling, you may think you’re out of luck; after all, your roofline is flat, so your ceiling will be the same. Try adding a unique touch to your ceiling by making it curved like the one in the picture. Doing so creates a neat look in a small porch like the one in the image, and it can look amazing on big porches, too.
14) Hardware and Porch Swings
Your ceiling design isn’t just about decorations and the ceiling itself. Consider hanging things like porch swings from it. This makes the ceiling space less bare and uses it for something other than hanging lights. Decide whether you want to have a porch swing before refinishing your ceiling, since you’ll need to make cuts around the porch swing, and it may be easier to install the swing ahead of time. Consider what other hardware you’ll need for other hangings, like potted plants and wind chimes.
15) DIY Plywood
Plywood is one of the simplest porch ceiling choices. In this video, Kevin Kalman and Bob Ryley show you how to add a plywood ceiling. They add trim pieces that give it a decorative touch, and with a little paint, it can resemble an interior drop ceiling. Make sure to use an exterior primer and paint, even though it’s on the roof’s underside. Plywood and paint are a relatively low-cost way of finishing a porch ceiling, and you can comfortably install them as a do-it-yourself project.
16) Wood Patterns
If you don’t want a plain wooden ceiling, and can’t find a tile pattern you like, consider making your own out of wood. While they won’t look as ornate as the patterns in this ceiling, they’ll be a neat and unique decoration. Pick a pattern you like and add it to plywood. You can also pay for nice custom work like the work in the picture if you’re willing to spend the money on it.
17) Frosted Glass Hanging Light
Hanging lights are always a logical choice for a tilted ceiling. If your porch ceiling is uneven, these would be the first fixtures you look at. If not, they’re still an excellent choice for a porch. Make sure to check where they hang relative to the roofline because this will affect whether people can see them from the road and whether people coming up the stairs will see them. Frosted glass hanging lights like this are great because they won’t be blinding to people walking up the porch steps towards them.
On interior ceilings, you’ll almost always want to use white paint. That’s why white ceiling paint is so commonly seen in stores; everybody uses it inside. White can also work for a porch ceiling, though. If you have white plastic, PVC, or painted railings, then a white ceiling like this one will blend in well. If not, white will still give a more open feel to the porch, which is excellent for small porches, or just for feeling like you’re in an open, outdoor setting.
19) Tongue and Groove Wood Planks
Tongue and groove can take sem work to install, but the result is worth it. Use this tutorial by Matt Weber on Extreme How-To to learn how to install tongue and groove wood planks on your porch ceiling. Doing so will result in a natural-looking wood ceiling that will blend with wood railings or a wood porch if you have one. Otherwise, it’ll look good with rustic decorations. Consider getting wood or log furniture to match it.
Panels can be an easy do-it-yourself way to redo a porch ceiling. Many panels can be cut with scissors, so you don’t have to worry about whether you have the right tools, though most should go over plywood or another substrate. If your porch is screened-in, make sure any panels like these go over a solid surface so that the ceiling will be moisture-resistant. You can lay wood panels like these, or buy panels or tiles that install easily. Consider the look of the rest of the porch when choosing the best material.
21) Outdoor Pendant Light
Pendant lights are a better light fixture choice than semi-flush fixtures that may angle in an odd direction on a sloped ceiling. If your ceiling is flat, you’ll have many more options, but pendant lights look good on any ceiling. Check to see whether the lights will be hidden by the edge of the porch when people walk up, and make sure they’re designed for the outdoors like these. Plan the lights’ locations before covering the ceiling joists, so you can run wires if you need to.
What’ve you done with your porch ceiling? Are there any ideas we missed, or porch types we didn’t think of? Let us know in the comments below.