This might qualify as the most boring home renovation post ever in the history of the universe, but, hey, it actually has historical precedent — in my house. Yes: Plain white fiber ceiling tiles. That’s what was originally installed — and still is on the ceiling of our basement bedroom, which now serves as my husband’s office. white-ceiling-panel

When we moved in, the same tiles were also in our basement TV room. There, we replaced them with a drywall ceiling when we removed spot lighting and updated the electric. Aesthetically, I prefered the smooth look of drywall in that space. But in the bedroom, we left the tiles as is, and they look just fine.

We did repaint both ceilings Sherwin William beige, which reads “white” but much softer. Our basement is comfy cozy homey, with cherry paneling and gold carpet. Brite white would be so wrong down there.

I am guessing that tile ceilings like this were popular in mid-century America, in basements, in particular, because of the Do-It-Yourself culture and relatedly, the concern for frugality. While drywall installation requires expertise, a handy homeowner could (and can) install these tiles relatively easily, with adhesive, or attached to furring strips. I think that tile ceilings like these also were much more popular in renovations of existing houses from pre-war days. You could use them to cover right over plaster walls that were in bad shape… or just to “modernize.”

Note, the plain white tile ceilings in our bedroom (and before that, the TV room) were not “drop ceilings.”  They were not “temporarily” covering plumbing or electric that might need to be accessed. They were hugging the ceiling (attached to furring strips) and meant to be fixed solutions. Nor do I think they are properly called “acoustical tiles” — that wasn’t their principal purpose.

Do I “recommend” this look? I think the decision is purely a personal one.

I found the simple white ceiling tiles featured here at Armstrong.

  1. Vic says:

    Thanks for this topic. 900 sq ft of these tiles is our church’s social hall ceiling. Definitely are from the 50’s. Have been patched many times due to work mishaps in the attic so now members are requesting a drywall ceiling, rather not do dropped ceiling. Does anyone know how I could find out the NRC (noise absorption factor) of the 50’s tiles? Drywall will make the sound bounce back- echo.. We need to calculate what acoustic treatments will be needed to match what we have
    acoustically. The tiles produced now must be much higher rated.

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