An Embassy Ceiling not only looks better than a conventional suspended ceiling, it also eats up less headroom. Once installed, the bottom of the cross members lies a mere 1 3/4 inches below the bottom edge of the joists. Both the cross members and the 2x2 panels are made from MDF with a laminated paper finish. They come in three colors: white, coffee, and maple. As with any suspended ceiling, the panels can be lifted in and out of the frame. The system costs $4.15 to $4.50 per square foot, including panels, cross members, and all hardware.

Embassy Ceiling, 800/567-5813,

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