The Complete Guide to Decorative Drop Ceiling Tiles

Written by Milan Jara on 21st Nov 2022

Drop Ceiling Tiles

Why use decorative drop ceiling tiles? There are benefits beyond aesthetics and hiding plumbing and wiring. Read on to learn more.

Why Use Drop Ceiling Tiles?

Before we can discuss the attributes of using decorative tile, we must first discuss why homeowners use suspended ceilings in the first place. Some locations benefit from a suspended ceiling, while others do not. This is the first consideration you should make before selecting a material for your decorative ceiling tile.

The Evolution

Suspended ceilings were originally composed using a series of brackets, wires, and removable panels where a finished ceiling could be added. This concealed the mess of wiring and pipes located along the ceiling while allowing easy access to them by professionals in the event the plumbing or wiring needed repair.

They were easy to install and permitted homeowners to change the appearance of their space. Over time, T-Bar grids replaced brackets. It provided opportunities to add lighting, heating, venting, and safety features. The space between the ceiling and the suspended ceiling was used for cold air returns found in forced air heating systems. This replaced ductwork by using flow-through grates instead.


Suspended ceilings were initially used to solve the problem of concealing ductwork while allowing easy access to it. It was initially used for this functional purpose rather than for decorative reasons. Eventually, things evolved, and drop ceilings were used for more decorative purposes.

As mentioned, another benefit is that drop ceilings allow professionals easy access to wiring, pipes, ductwork, etc., located in the basement ceiling. Drop ceilings cover all of this, making it look visually pleasing but still allowing you to work on the house when necessary.

It was also easier to install, and should the tiles become damaged, they are easy to replace without having to spend a great deal of money to replace or paint the entire ceiling. Furthermore, you can easily change the appearance of tiles by painting them or coating them with fabric.


The disadvantages largely depend on the material, as some are better than others. Tin ceiling tiles are the best choice when it comes to material. They resist moisture and corrosion, are fireproof, and are resistant to rust. They are ideal in high humidity and moisture areas or where water can come through or pool. However, this is not true of all materials.

Some materials absorb water way too easily, causing water stains. These are very unsightly. Additionally, if there is a smoker in the house, it will discolor very quickly. Some types will also absorb paint like a sponge, meaning that you will need to apply several coats just to change the color.

Then, there is also the issue of asbestos found in older homes, which requires special care to remove. Before you touch them, be sure to determine whether you and your family could be at risk.

Yet, as mentioned, if any of the tiles become damaged, the benefit is that you can easily replace them.

What Rooms Benefit from Drop Ceilings?

Suspended ceilings are generally used to conceal ductwork, wiring, and pipes to cover a popcorn ceiling or other unsightly ceiling surface. This is the main reason they are incorporated into a design. However, some homeowners like that they can easily change and modify them to suit redecorating needs.

Therefore, suspended ceilings can be used in any area of the home. Furthermore, decorative drop ceiling tiles have further benefits outside of ceiling installation.

What Spaces Do Not Benefit?

Typically, rooms will lose about three inches of height when a drop ceiling is installed. For rooms with low ceilings, suspended ceilings may not be the best idea as they will make the room appear even smaller.

If this is the case, you should use wall panels with vertical striping and light colors to create the illusion of space rather than a drop ceiling. You can even go with an industrial look that incorporates elements of ductwork and wiring into the design.

Why Use Decorative Drop Ceiling Tiles?

Decorative drop ceiling tiles aesthetically transform the appearance and atmosphere of the room. Different patterns can be incorporated depending on your style, in addition to other benefits.

Three-Dimensional Appearance

Three Dimensional Appearance

Many decorative drop ceiling tiles are three-dimensional, allowing you to do a faux coffered ceiling or add depth or interest to a room without engaging in detailed, tedious work. These tiles are added within a fraction of the time and can change the look of a room within hours instead of days.

Easily Matches Décor

Since these ceiling tiles come in various materials and styles, finding something to match your style isn't difficult. Looks range from steampunk, to Victorian, to elegant, to modern, minimalistic, and contemporary. There is no lack of design when it comes to these tiles.

Easy Installation

Fitting Tiles

Installation involves setting up the ceiling grid on your existing ceiling, installing the tiles, and cutting tiles for the edges. The most physically demanding part is usually putting in the tiles themselves because you are angling them in place. However, once you get the hang of it, this is easy to do.

Dampens Noise

You can choose to go with acoustical tiling and Styrofoam to dampen noise from other household areas. This is great for movie theaters, between floors, and in bedrooms.

Creates Warmth

Adding insulated tiles can make a big difference in an attic as it will hold in the warmth. It also protects against fluctuations in temperature and is very energy efficient. While it doesn’t replace proper insulation, it saves energy costs and should be used in conjunction with it.

Final Words

There are many benefits to using decorative drop ceiling tiles. In addition to placing them into a T-Bar ceiling grid system, you can put them in other areas of the house or use them for backsplashes, decorative wall panel elements, painted decoration, and even art. Decorative tile has a plethora of uses outside of a drop ceiling.

When creating a drop ceiling by using these tiles, there are many options available to suit any style and color. Some homeowners prefer a natural color, while others may want them painted. Decorative Ceiling Tiles can assist you in this regard, as we offer a variety of finishes and colors. Additionally, you can go for a vintage look without the expense.

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