How to Install a Beadboard Ceiling

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How to install a beadboard ceiling

Today I am sharing how to install a beadboard ceiling! This DIY project is one of my favorite features in our boys’ new bedroom!

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To watch the full video, visit my YouTube channel here.

If you missed it last week, we finally finished our boys bedroom makeover! We went with a vintage sports theme, incorporating cool antiques and unique thrifted finds and I absolutely love the way it all came together with one of my favorite features being the new beadboard ceiling!

Cottage style boy's bedroom with Vintage Sports Theme

Since one of my favorite features in the space is the beadboard ceiling that we added, and so many of you had questions about it, I thought I would put together a post explaining how to install a beadboard ceiling! This ceiling truly is a focal point of the bedroom and we honestly could not be happier with how much it transformed the space!

How to install a beadboard ceiling in a cottage bedroom to add character and charm

I want to start by saying that I won’t be sharing exact measurements since every space is different, and what worked for us most likely won’t work for you. But I hope this step by step tutorial gives you a good start! The main thing to consider is sectioning off your room in section sizes that work for you and using trim pieces to cover the seams.

Why add a beadboard ceiling?

Our home was built in the 1930’s, and sadly the plaster ceiling was severely damaged and cracking in this room. We could have drywalled over it, but I have always loved the look of beadboard and I thought it would add so much character to the space if we covered the ceiling with it. 

Vintage sports themed boys bedroom

Ceilings are often overlooked in design plans, but I honestly can’t believe how much charm this project added to the overall look of the boys’ bedroom. If you are wanting to add some architectural detail to your space, a beadboard ceiling is an amazing option! It not only covered the issues we were having with the plaster, but also looks intentional, clean, minimal and beautiful!

Let’s start with the material needed for a beadboard ceiling – 

Materials Needed

How to Install a Beadboard Ceiling Step 1 – Measure 

The first thing we did before shopping for materials was measure our space and figure out our design plan. Ultimately we decided to divide the room into nine equal sections, the ceiling fixture centered in the very middle. 

As I mentioned before, each room will be different, so this may not work for you depending on both the shape and size of your room, so be sure to be flexible when deciding how many sections to split your beadboard ceiling into.

How to Install a Beadboard Ceiling Step 2 – Framing

Rather than simply covering the ceiling with beadboard, we thought it would be neat to encase each beadboard section with trim (1×4’s) to create a coffered ceiling affect. 

DIY beadboard ceiling installation in cottage style bedroom
Easy and simple beadboard ceiling bedroom feature

We started by adding 1×4’s to the perimeter of the room, first. My husband cut the boards with his chop saw and used his brad nailer and 1 1/2 inch nails to attach them. We didn’t use any glue or adhesive, but we chose premium pine boards with minimal knotholes. 

Installing a DIY beadboard ceiling in bedroom to add character and charm
How to install a simple beadboard ceiling feature

After the perimeter of the room was framed out, my husband added the cross pieces. These pieces created a clean look that also helped hide the seams of the different sections of beadboard.

How to install beadboard ceiling feature in bedroom
Cross sections of DIY beadboard ceiling encasement
DIY Ceiling feature to add character and charm to a cottage style bedroom
Using a nail gun installing beadboard ceiling for a simple way to add character
Sections of ceiling framework for DIY beadboard ceiling

How to Install a Beadboard Ceiling Step 3 – Beadboard

After all the 1×4’s were in place, my husband went to work on the beadboard. He worked one section at a time, measuring out the size of the piece needed and marking it with a pencil and 4 ft level

Installing sections of beadboard for a bedroom ceiling feature

He then cut each section out using a jig saw and nailed them in the same way he did the 1×4’s. For the center piece of beadboard where the light fixture was, my husband used his jigsaw to cut out a hole in order to access the electrical and hook up the fan. 

How to Install a Beadboard Ceiling Step 4 – Caulking and Filling

This step was definitely my least favorite! Once the wood and bead board is all in place, it’s time to fill all your gaps with latex caulk. It’s a lot of work and hard on the neck, but it really gives the ceiling a professional finish once painted. We used light weight spackle to fill all the nail holes as well. 

Using caulk for a more finished pre painted look on a DIY beadboard ceiling feature in bedroom
Finishing touches to a DIY beadboard ceiling feature to prep it for paint

How to Install a Beadboard Ceiling Step 5 – Prime and Paint

Like I said before, we used pine boards in order to save some money. We did pay a little extra for premium boards to avoid a lot of knot holes, but if you’ve worked with pine before you know that it tends to yellow over time even when painted. 

We use pine for just about every project we take on, so we always have a good primer handy. This brand is our favorite!

Using a paint sprayer to paint finished DIY beadboard ceiling in bedroom

You could most definitely paint your ceiling with a traditional brush and roller, but we opted to spray ours with a paint sprayer and I’m SO glad we did! We finished it so much faster than if we had had to cut in and roll. Overspray wasn’t an issue either since I painted the blue portion of the wall once the ceiling was completely finished. 

Using a paint sprayer to paint ceiling in bedroom clean paint lines

And that’s how we installed a beadboard ceiling! I wouldn’t call this project easy, but I wouldn’t say it’s extremely hard, either. It mostly just takes patience and endurance, haha! Either way we would have had to fix the plaster ceiling though, and drywalling it may have taken the same amount of effort, if not more!

About half way through we were thinking – “WHY did we do this?!” But in the end I’m SO glad that we did. It was so worth it, don’t you think? I just love the way it turned out. It looks so clean and really adds so much character to this space!

Vintage sports themed boys bedroom decor with unique beautiful ceiling

I hope this post about how we installed this beadboard ceiling was inspiring to you! If there’s anything I missed or if you have questions about any of these steps, let me know in the comments below! 

Thanks for stopping by sweet friends!

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How to install a beadboard ceiling

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41 Comments

  1. Very high end look…very impressed. Boys are lucky to have a beautiful room. Good job Mom and Dad.

  2. Looks amazing. You always inspire. Thank you for the link for the 1-2-3 Primer used on the pine boards. What is the white paint that was used for the board and batten walls, shelves and ceiling? Anxious to get painting at home. Thank you for clarifying the paint color.

  3. Beautiful! I want to do this but worried how secure the bead board celling is. Were the nails put into something secure in the ceiling or did you anchor it? Appreciate your creativity!

    1. Yes we secured it all with nails! Everything we used tool wise is listed at the beginning, maybe that will help? I really love the finished look!

      1. The beadboard sheets are attached to the studs in the ceiling, but the cross boards are just decorative to break up the beadboard seams, they are just nailed to the ceiling.

  4. i LOVE THIS BUT HAVE A QUESTION AS TO HOW IT WOULD BE DIFFERENT TO INSTALL THE BEADBOARD FIRST AND THEN ADD THE CROSS BOARDS. WOULD IT MATTER?

    DENAE

    1. We did it this way to help break up the seams of the beadboard, and it is also just a style I love the look of. You could try it with beadboard first as well, but the cross boards would have more to be nailed through on top of beadboard.

  5. Hi, this turned out amazing. Question about nailing the breadboard. Did you nail any in the center of the boards? The pictures I saw he only nailed at the cross sections. Thank you.

  6. Hello! We just bought a 1950 house that has the same issue with cracked plaster, but topped with poorly installed stucco ceiling that will not stick.

    Your solution to create a bead board ceiling is both an ingenious and beautiful. We are struggling a little bit to settle on a pattern/design for our relatively small and somewhat oddly shaped rooms. Your 1″ X 4″ frames are just the perfect scale for the room. Just for reference, what are the dimensions of the room, and the 1″X4″ frames? Are they all the same size? How did you settle on the size?

    Thanks so much for your help,

    1. Their room is small, maybe 10×12 feet? We just broke down the 1×4 frames into that. I would just measure the space and divide as well to see what the squares would be, the grids ended up roughly being 3×3. I hope this helps!

  7. My house is 80 years old with a 600 sf open room addition on the back that has been my home office for 7 years. The walls are are gorgeous stained cypress paneling and I have no intention of painting it. The ceiling, however, is hideous 12″ X 12″ pressed paper celotex that I can no longer tolerate. Since I spend more time in the office than the other parts of the house, I needed a solution that would be both practical and beautiful. Since I have computers I cannot have sheetrock installed because of the dust. At last, I have found the perfect solution: painted bead board paneling with the cross pieces that your talented husband installed in your son’s bedroom! I don’t plan to DIY but thank you so much for the inspiring idea. I plan to hire someone to do it for me unless your husband might be available….HA! Thanks for the inspiring idea.

    1. That sounds like such a beautiful addition! I am so encouraged that this gave you the idea too, I hope you can find someone willing to install it for you!

  8. Hello,

    The ceiling turned out great! I’m in the process of doing a similar project but I had one quick question. Why did you install the bead board first and then the trim pieces? Wouldn’t have been easier to install all the bead board first and then cover all the seams with the 1X4’s? That way you are not trying to fit a section of bead board into a tighter space between the 1X4’s. Just curious.

    Thanks!

    1. This is just how we chose to do it to make sure we liked the framed in layout first before putting everything up, it helped with seam placement as well, I hope this helps!

  9. If the 1×4’s did not sit under any 2×4’s then how did you secure it to the ceiling? Especially since you did not use adhesive. Were the nails enough?

    1. Ideally, attaching to studs is best, for our spacing though we couldn’t do that so we used heavy duty screw in anchors and attached them with four inch screws. We also were attaching them to plaster and lath, not drywall.

  10. Thank you so much for publishing this, my husband and I just purchased an old farmhouse and needed a good idea for the ceilings which are in horrible condition (popcorn). This project lets us create a beautiful ceiling, without breaking the bank.
    Thank you again and keep inspiring!

  11. I am wondering about the fan – pretty cool – do you have any info on this? Where did you purchase it, model #, etc…
    Thanks
    I may have to emulate what you have done – was looking for a solution for my cracked plastered sunroom.

  12. Thanks for the inspiration. My husband and I just followed your instructions and did our ceiling. We put the beadboard up first and then the 1x4s over the top. This worked well to cover any imperfections or crooked areas, plus we didn’t have to.measure or cut the beadboard so accurately. We made sure to put 1x4s where the joists were. It turned out pretty well (considering we are complete novices!)

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