Ideas for Kitchen / dining room ceiling???

I'm looking to replace my kitchen / dining room ceiling which is 4 x 8 metres? Reason being its artexed and only has 2 lights on it one at the kitchen side and one at the dining side. I'm looking to put some dimmable spotlights around it plus a couple of ceiling mounted speakers. I'm also toying with some LEDs.
Any suggestions in what to use for the material?
I've done similar in the past and used wood cladding and its turned out really well but I think wood panelling looks slightly aged now. I'm not keen in sheeting it as I'll be working on my own plus it will need plastering and I'm trying to keep the costs down.
I used upvc cladding for the bathroom and the spotlights with the springs just ripped right through it!!
Thanks.
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I'll bet it generates some really toxic fumes in a fire too, and is about as safe as polystyrene ceiling tiles. Wouldn't dream of mounting warm lights in it.
You really need plasterboard. It doesn't have to be plastered, you can use bevel edged board and just fill the joins, although you probably won't achieve the same quality good plastering can.
On the lighting front... Spotlights are useful for providing accented lighting on, say, a picture, or task lighting on a bit of worktop. However, they are useless (and horribly inefficient) for general lighting, and that's what you need ample supply of in a kitchen. By all means install spotlights and LEDs if you want, but treat them as decorative only, and make sure you also install proper general lighting to actually light the room, not just a few circles where spotlights are aimed. You can have them separately switched for different lighting moods. Some people think lighting a room with spotlights is stylish - I'm afraid they just shout out "CHEAP" to me (that's cheap to install, definitely not cheap to run). There have been many threads talking about designing effective kitchen lighting - refer back to them.
For dining room, you might decide you don't need general lighting of a high quality. Personally, I always install good lighting, but it's separately switched so that when you just want a couple of spots and a table lamp, you can do that.
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Andrew Gabriel
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writes:

Thanks Andrew for the detailed reply. Some interesting points there. I'll have a look at the recent threads you suggest.
Cheers.
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As Andrew says, plasterboard is the obvious answer. You can board a ceiling single handley, I did 3 rooms in my old house. i had mine skimmed but taped and filled/sanded is fine.
But do you need to replace it? you can just have the Artex skimmed over. Ok, you'd need to pay for it to be done, but you'd save on the plasterboard.
Though if it's a lath and plaster ceiling mounting spotlights in it doesn't really work very well.

Yup.
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Chris French


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There's really nothing better than plasterboard for general purpose ceilings. Using a dead man and reduced size 3x5 9mm boards makes single handed installation quite practical. Use plasterboard screws, never nails. There's no need to skim, just fill the joins.
NT
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