Would you like to Make Your Ceiling Interesting ?

Would you like to Make Your Ceiling Interesting ?

Be it an Office, Restaurant, Pub or Residence, Ceiling is a prominent part of any interior space.

Lot of building services such as electrical pipes, light looping wires, AC ducting, copper piping and sprinkler pipes run through ceiling. The conventional wisdom is to hide all these services using false ceiling.

In recent times, the bare ceiling or open ceiling with its rustic and industrial look has captured the imagination of Architects and Interior designers. New trend in interior designing opts to keep all these services exposed.

In early 1990s, lot of old industrial sheds and warehouses were converted into office spaces. It was a logical choice to keep the industrial rustic look of the space. This style became so popular that it entered the main stream interior designing.

Do you remember the famous Hollywood movie ‘The Intern’ (2015) starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway? The entire office setup of the movie had an open ceiling.

As there is NO false ceiling the entire volume of space looks grand! All open ducts, suspended light fixtures, open raceways and copper piping become the signature elements of this design.

Though open ceiling concept looks very simple, it needs meticulous planning and detailing to the last point. There is no false ceiling to hide the mistakes. So, before starting execution on site, all the services need to be coordinated properly in plan as well as in section.

Let us go through the key steps involved in executing open ceiling :

Surface Preparation:

A surface of bare slab needs to be treated carefully. All expansion joints, form finish, textures, etc should be left as it is. It will enhance the rustic look when treated with superficial touch-ups and bare coat of primer. Now, your slab is ready for painting. It is advised to paint it with enamel paint of approved colour. Generally, for residential ceiling, white colour is preferred. For offices and restaurants, black/gray colour is popular. Black colour would make ceiling invisible. If it is a PT (Post Tension) slab then lines of reinforcements should be painted red. Care should be taken not to suspend anything from a slab where these red lines are painted.


In open ceiling plan, ducting is most prominent feature. Onsite painting of duct is not advised. Instead, factory finished powder coated ducts would ensure quality. Circular or oblong ducts look aesthetically appealing than rectangular ducts. Gray coloured ducts create interesting contrast on black ceiling.

Raceways & Conduits:

Electrical raceways should also be powder coated. It is advised to install separate raceways for running air-conditioning copper piping. There are two popular options for conduit selection i.e. GI (Galvanised Iron) conduits and PVC conduits. GI conduits should be preferred over PVC conduits, as GI conduits could be painted in any colour of your choice.


Sprinkler Lines:

Sprinkler network is important for statutory compliance. As per the NBC (National Building Code) norms, fire system related piping and sprinkler piping must be painted in red colour. Good part is these red coloured pipes make ceiling more interesting!


It is the signature design element of open ceiling. It is super important to co-ordinate air-conditioning throw with suspended lights. Otherwise, lights would sway when supply air flow hits the suspended light fixtures. Aesthetically, suspended lights create ‘WOW’ effect. When black coloured bezel of light fixtures completely camouflage with black ceiling, it generates an impressive floating effect !

A methodical execution ensures quality outcome. The overall look and feel of the space once ready would surely look contemporary. This design is certainly very popular with young millennial due to its open and retro look.

Finally, a word of caution, the bare ceiling tends to reflect sound and may create reverberations. This issue can easily be solved by adding sound absorbing surfaces on walls.

Sachchit Kholkute

I am a practicing Architect & Interior Designer based in India. I love to design spaces and integrate technology in interior design.

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