The other item that stuck out like a sore thumb were the nasty 1980's ceiling fans. Not only were the fans out of place, they also made the ceiling feel lower. Because the basement is already 10 degrees cooler than the upper level, the fans were not really needed. So we removed them.
We thought about painting the ceiling tile, but it has textured grooves, which would not be easy to tackle with a roller, and we did not want to tape and cover everything for spraying. We also considered covering it up with additional acoustic tile (with a smooth surface), or gluing faux tin tile to it (no, it's not what you think-there are actually flat, non-embossed faux tin tile available). I suggested a third option: 1/4 inch drywall. LD was not too thrilled about the dust or the out of pocket expense we would have to incur by hiring someone to install it.
We had to lightly sand the ceiling, vacuum and mop up all the dust, and paint the first coat of primer. Several areas will need some additional mud, then we get to put on two coats of ceiling paint on top of that. I hate painting, but I especially hate painting ceilings! We are exhausted.