'L' for Lighting Crafty (& Handy) Guest Room Nursery

No More Popcorn Ceiling

The popcorn has given way to a smooth, flat ceiling, thanks to Brandon’s hard work. As I mentioned before, the ceiling did not contain asbestos (always check before removing because many popcorn ceilings do), so we felt comfortable trying to remove it. It came down easily enough in just a few hours (he sprayed it with water and scraped it off), but smoothing the resulting mess took a little longer. He did a rough sanding (60 grit) first, wiped all of the dust away with a damp cloth, smoothed over all of the imperfections with joint compound, and then sanded everything again (220 grit).

I’m the more handy one out of the two of us and I felt bad that I couldn’t help, but we didn’t think it was a safe job for a pregnant lady. Oh yeah, I’m also a wee bit of a perfectionist… It was really hard to not go in there and obsessively sand and smooth and do things myself. After priming and painting though, the ceiling looks really good.

Popcorn Ceiling, Before and After

The Formerly Popcorn, Now Smooth Ceiling

The new light looks great, though we did have to run out and grab a ceiling medallion. I’m not really a fan of them, but Brandon had a hard time smoothing out the ceiling near the light, and the medallion was an easy solution to hide the remaining popcorn texture. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll leave it white or if I’ll paint it the same color as the rest of the ceiling.

Now, I know people get a bit nervous when dealing with electrical projects (we do too), but changing a light fixture is EASY. We’ve done it six times so far in this house (in the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, studio, and nursery). You just make sure the power is off, take down the old fixture, connect like wires to like wires, attach the ground wire to the little green screw on the mounting bar, and then attach the new fixture.

We decided to keep the room the same color (Wheat Bread by Behr), but it needed a second coat of paint. Really, it’s always needed that second coat, but I think I was too tired when working on the guest room before and I just figured ‘good enough’ (which is so uncharacteristic of me). It has bugged me ever since. So now we’ve painted the ceiling and walls, and even did some touch up work on the trim, and the guest room is officially ready to be switched over to a nursery.

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  • Jaimie
    January 5, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Wow, that’s a huge improvement! Can’t wait to see how the rest of the room turns out.

  • Karrey
    January 5, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Thankfully, our house has never suffered from the dreaded popcorn ceilings. However, the previous owner took it upon himself to add stalactites made of drywall mud to the ceiling in the kitchen, which I am really not looking forward to scraping off. Just another addition to the long, long list of things to fix. Yay, renovation!

  • Danette
    January 5, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    What a difference that makes. I love the wheat color.

  • lori
    January 5, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    very very nice! good job brandon!

  • amy purple
    January 5, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    That looks so nice. He did a fantastic job. So did Brandon think it was fun enough that he’d want to do our place for us? haha.

  • Making it Lovely
    January 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I’m pretty sure Brandon never wants to see another popcorn ceiling! ;)

  • Rachel
    January 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    It looks fantastic! When can he come do mine? =)

  • Marti
    January 5, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    That looks fantastic! Your comment about how easy it is to change a light fixture has led me to believe I might be able to tackle that project. If there is a particular illustrated online guide that you found helpful, could you please post the link? Thanks!

  • Prolificmom
    January 5, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    The ceiling looks fantastic and I really like the medallion. It gives the light fixture a little bit of a pop and a little more of a presence on the ceiling. Great job!

  • judy haley (coffeejitters)
    January 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    so nice to get rid of that yucky popcorn. It always bugs me when I have to live in a house with popcorn ceilings.

    The ceiling medallion matches the light fixture so there’s really no need to paint it.

  • cassandra
    January 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    yay for no more popcorn!!! it really does make such a huge difference. thank goodness for hubby’s too ;)

  • Meggan
    January 5, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Ooo, the after looks so much nicer! I especially like that you painted the wood thingy – that really changed the look of the ceiling a lot.

    I think the medallion looks fine as-is, but if I were you I think I’d paint it the ceiling color. It just seems like it’d blend better that way.

    We changed a light fixture in our apartment (um, we broke the old one!) and it was just like you said. Pretty easy!

  • Shanon
    January 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Wow, it looks a million times better! =) Who invented popcorn anyway… ugh. I like the medallion, it gives the fixture a little more weight, or something, I can’t put my finger on it. =)

  • Taylor
    January 5, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    If you love to paint, come on over to my house and have at it!

    The ceiling looks great. Your husband did a good job…by my standards!

  • Breakfast for Dinner
    January 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    It looks like a whole new room! Great job! Count yourself lucky…I can hardly get my hubby off the couch to help me move a box.

  • Karalee Serra
    January 5, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    cute light. where did that come from?

  • H.H. Hannah
    January 5, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I really need to scrape the popcorn in my downstairs rental unit. However, I was under the impression that the spraying water method would not work on popcorn that has been painted over. Anyone know if this is true?

  • Karalee Serra
    January 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    and the link to the light is right in the post…sorry!

  • meredith
    January 5, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    i like the ceiling medallion… at first i thought it was part of the fixture until i read your post! i think it looks nice with the pop of white!

  • Making it Lovely
    January 5, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    H.H. Hannah, I think that’s true. The paint seals it so that the water can’t penetrate and soften. I guess you would just have to sand and sand? Or rip out the ceiling and put new drywall up…

    Marti, we haven’t followed any online instructions so I don’t have any recommendations (sorry).

  • Michelle @Everyday Celebrating
    January 5, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Gorgeous!!!!! And soooo worth the work!

  • koria
    January 5, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Your new ceiling looks absolutely beautiful, congratulations!

  • Bethany
    January 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Wowsa! When you first mentioned taking down the popcorn ceiling I couldn’t imagine it making that big of a difference. But really looks so fantastic. It’s going to be a lovely cozy nursery!

  • alivicwil
    January 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I imagine that your ‘popcorn’ ceiling is the sprayed vermiculite ceilings (very popular here in Australia in the 70s)?

    The roof looks heaps better. Hooray to Brandon, for getting the job done (and well). Hooray to you, for keeping out of his way!!

    I’m looking forward to seeing the entire room all ready for bubs.

  • Desiree Fawn
    January 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Oh well that just looks fabulous :) Great work.

  • The Chatty Housewife
    January 5, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I looks so much better! I would definitely paint the ceiling medallion the same color as the ceiling in order to showcase your new light fixture a little more. It would make the medallion look like part of the ceiling instead of part of the light.

  • cara
    January 5, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    we live in a condo in a building that is almost 100 years old. this weekend we decided to finally replace the kitchen light because it stopped working a few months ago & we got a Lowe’s gift card for Christmas… needless to say we should have paid attention to how everything was hooked up because there were no like wires-to like wires going on! it’s usually black and white, and then the green is the ground. nope. 2 whites and a blue. if you live in an old building, just pay attention to how stuff is hooked up before you take it apart!

  • John
    January 5, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Oh man, props to Brandon. Painting a ceiling is one of my least favorite things in life. I can’t imagine having to suffer through all that scraping only to know there was painting in my future.

    As always, looks great and love the color!

  • Elizabeth
    January 5, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Wow you guys got that done pretty quick. Looks GREAT! I have popcorn ceilings in EVERY room in my house. I just try to ignore it ;). Can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

  • Jill
    January 5, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    ugghhh!! we need to take off popcorn ceiling in our WHOLE house! Thanks for the inspiration – you all make it look easy!

  • Christy
    January 6, 2009 at 12:18 am

    I scraped the ceilings in our entire house 2 years ago. It is a messy job, but soooo worth it. Just spray and scrape, spray and scrape. One ceiling was painted, but still came off fairly easy with water. (The pump garden sprayers work great!)

    The ceiling looks beautiful – huge improvement. Love the light fixture!!

  • brand-eye
    January 6, 2009 at 8:24 am

    looks FAB! i love the paint color too. we didn’t have any popcorn ceilings in our house, but we did have a whole stairwell with really sharp “textured” walls. if you accidentally hit your arm on it while going up the stairs you would bleed! so glad we fixed that!

  • nicole
    January 6, 2009 at 9:11 am

    what a difference! and i feel your pain. years ago i removed popcorn texture from about 2000 square feet of ceiling in my place. it’s worth it!

  • Sayra Adams
    January 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Yay! I just discovered your blog. I love it! Thankfully I have never had to deal with popcorn celings. The newest house I’ve owned was built in 1932. Though, I have admired the popcorn ceilings with glitter in the past ;) don’t hate me!

  • Aku
    January 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    You got such a good finish on the ceiling! Great job! It looks so much better than before…

  • Diane Faye Zerr
    January 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Great job! It looks so much nicer. I would paint the medallion, I feel as though it takes the spotlight away from the gorgeous lamp.

    Also, I went to Home Depot and got a swatch of the “Wheat Bread” and it’s just what I was looking for. Thanks!

  • jen
    January 6, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Nice! YES. Paint the medallion.

  • Kerry
    January 6, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I vote for painting the medallion as well, it will show off the silvery base of the light nicely. (And not make it a white-silver-white sandwich!)

  • nichole
    January 6, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    So smooth … I want to run my fingers all over it! Great job … and wow, what a task!

  • patricia
    January 7, 2009 at 10:02 am

    …drumroll, ta da, and now the painter in me wants to come over and paint popcorn up there, just funnin ya – last thing I want is an angry pregnant person showing up at my door.

  • xin
    January 7, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Yeah, you should paint the medallion the same color, then it will disappear. Wow! Brandon did a really great job! Lucky we don’t have popcorn ceiling.

    I changed our light fixture in our dining room before. I learned my lesson. I only turned the light off, was too lazy to go to the basement to turn the power off. Guess what, that light was controlled by two switches, so it’s different, the wire always stay ‘HOT’. So, when I put the new one back up, it shocked me. Electricity got in my body from my finger, and shot out from one of my toes, leaving me a sore toe and burning mark on it. Lucky it didn’t go through my heart. So, definitely turn the power off when you change light fixture.

  • Elfya
    January 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm


    WOW…I have been wanting to do that myself and boy, did I try or what?! But it was so much work, so dusty, so suffocating, I ended up paying someone to do it. That job is completely under estimated and I have so much admiration for anyone who is willing to stand on a ladder with his or her face upside down and get dust sprinkled on.

    I saw this apartment once in Brooklyn – 2BR – Huge and really well priced but their walls had a texture to it, even worse than the pop corn ceilings. I ended up not taking it cause the price to sand the entire apartment down would have cost me 15K, not worth it for a rental BUT I do understand why someone would have charged that much. Cause it is not enough to sand it all down, it’s the replastering and making sure the ceiling is smooth and even.

    Job very, very well done! Congrats!

  • Lana
    January 8, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Looks Fantastic! I think the popcorn was popular all over the world in the 70’s. We not only had popcorn ceilings, but they added glitter. Not surprisingly it looked ridiculous. Anyway, everything came off like a charm, even the painted ceilings.
    I am painting my entire house and need a neutral beige. The trim and ceiling will be white and I will go through and paint individual rooms later, but meanwhile I need the beige all over. Help!!! Would this lovely wheat color work or is it more grey? Thanks in advance for any help.

  • bungalowbliss
    January 8, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    What. A. Difference.

    It always amazes me how something so (relatively) simple can make such a dramatic improvement.

    I also find it surprising to look back and see ‘before’ pics of my projects and wonder how in the world I managed to tolerate they eyesore for so long. I’m sure you can relate!

    Nice job!

  • D
    January 8, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Love the transformation. It looks so good now. How long did the project take? We have two ceilings with popcorn on them in our house.


  • velvet and linen
    January 9, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Congratulations on your new smooth ceiling.
    We have removed popcorn from several ceilings in the past.
    What a mess, but well worth it!


  • Lynne
    January 9, 2009 at 8:43 am

    You’ve inspired me to have a go at taking down a light fitting – well, I just want to take it down, spray it a different colour and put it back up! But I will make sure I am supervised, all the same.

  • Leslie
    January 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Great job, is the ceiling color Wheat Bread as well (looks more grey)?

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