Exposing a Ceiling
Taking down a ceiling isn't technically a floor plan alteration, but it can certainly transform a room, making it appear larger and brighter. It's also a great way to make a mediocre living room or master suite magnificent without a lot of work. In fact, taking down a ceiling is probably one of the few jobs in this list that don't require the help of a licensed professional. According to Mike Fowler of Fowler Architects in Washington, D.C., this you can do yourself since you don't need architectural plans to take down a ceiling.
Tearing down ceiling drywall is fairly easy, though some homeowners may want to hire a professional to re-drywall a vaulted ceiling for a smooth finish. You might also choose to install new lighting fixtures, which may require professional help to re-route electrical lines.
If you decide to leave your roof beams exposed, there are lots of ways to artfully incorporate them into the space. Options include traditional wood-stained beams, beams that are painted the same color as the room, or beams with additional design features, such as a modern lighting scheme.
There are also a few important considerations. For starters, you may not know what you'll find when you tear down the drywall that hides the rafters and other structural supports that hold up the roof. These may great-looking architectural elements, or stained and pockmarked old beams. The condition of these elements may determine whether you cover them with paint or other material.