I prefer joint compound instead of spackle now. It is smoother, and less messy. This is a picture after the first coat of paint. It still needs another coat, but it looks better.popcorn ceilings throughout when we bought it. We hired a painter to remove most it and repaint. We didn't have him do any work in the basement, and the stairway still had a popcorn ceiling. We removed it ourselves with a putty knife. James scraped off the areas that I could not reach. This is not something that you should do yourself is you think our ceiling might have asbestos in it. We knew ours did not.
Here's the mess that it left behind. See all those little white specks? It took a while to vacuum that all up!
Some pictures of the painting in progress