Popcorn ceilings were once popular in new homes, but today, there are so many new ways you can add some style to your ceiling. House Beautiful gives their DIY steps on fixing up an older popcorn ceiling.
SCRAPE AND PAINT IT
After covering the walls and floor with a drop cloth and cutting off the power to any light fixtures on the ceiling, wet the popcorn layer with water until saturated. Scrape it away, touch it up with joint compound, and then buff it. After this, you can then prime and paint it. House Beautiful notes, "if your house was built before 1980, test a sample of your ceiling tested for asbestos first. You can buy professional test kits at home improvement stores and online.Asbestos popcorn was banned in 1978 but could still be purchased in the early eighties."
LINE IT WITH WOOD
If you don't want to scrape it, you can also just cover it completely with wood planks. "Adhere thin (but quality-grade) tonge-and-groove wood planks to the ceiling with a coast of Liquid Nails, then secure them in place with a nail gun". Afterwards, you can finish it with a stain.
Another no-scrapping option is to cover it with faux-tin Styrofoam tiles.