How to Install Beadboard on the Ceiling

bathroom with subway tile

If you haven’t seen our cottage bathroom remodel, you should probably head over and take a look at it right now.  Not only is the ceiling over 100 years old, but so is the vanity!

This bead board came from a milk barn in Wisconsin.  The “non beaded” side was actually painted white, and I debated just installing that side face out on the ceiling, but I had my heart set on a beadboard ceiling.  Then, I was left with the decision to leave the wood, or paint it.  I actually had fallen in love with a chippy green bead board at a little shop near our cottage, and the owner was all about selling it to me, but then when I came back the next day to buy it, he directed me to a salvage shop in the back and told me he didn’t want to sell it.  I was not happy, but I wasn’t going to offer to pay him any more than the original $2.00 per square foot that he offered, so I stomped back to the salvage wood shop.  It’s a good thing I did, because this guy is now my “wood guy” and has sold me and given me some gorgeous pieces of wood – including this weathered dock wood I used to create my insulator centerpiece.

Glass Insulator & Dock Wood Centerpiece
Glass Insulator & Dock Wood Centerpiece

Anyway, I ended up deciding to paint it, in an attempt to mimic that green beadboard I had loved.

barn wood ceiling with milk paint

I used Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint, because I love the way it creates a time-worn look naturally.  Plus, how could I not paint beadboard from a milk barn with milk paint?  I used Luckett’s Green, Linen, and Bergere without any bonding agent.

how to install barn wood ceiling

First, I laid out the boards somewhat according to size (they were all different lengths when I bought them).how to install barn wood ceiling

I painted most of the board, but if I missed some places, I was okay with the look it created.  Then, I sanded the pieces down to create a weathered look.

how to install a barn wood ceiling

I measured the ceiling, and then created a template with painter’s tape on the floor (you can’t quite see it under the boards in this picture).  I tried to somewhat randomly lay out the pieces.  I don’t do well with patterns.  Then, I measured out each line and cut down the pieces.

how to install a barn wood ceiling

To prepare the ceiling, I installed furring strips (1 by 2s) to the ceiling joists with screws about one foot apart.  If you are installing your beadboard perpendicular to your ceiling joists, then you can skip this step!  My joists were running in the same direction that I wanted to install the beadboard panels, so I was creating something that the boards could be nailed into.  I wanted to be sure every board was nailed into at least one strip (but most boards are nailed into multiple boards, all depending on the length of the board).

Because this is beadboard, it uses a tongue and groove system, which helps it to stay stable and sturdy.  If you were installing barn wood or other wood pieces to the ceiling, you’d probably just want to be sure that the ends of the boards line up close to one of the furring strips (or maybe just install the strips closer together).

beadboard ceiling DIY

My dad and I each took an upside 5-gallon bucket, and we brought in the beadboard, row by row, nailed up the one side, passed the air-nailer off to the other person, and finished off the other half of the row.

how to install bead board ceiling

After everything was nailed up, I installed pine cove molding to finish it off.

bathroom with barn wood ceiling Okay, I can’t help but show you another view of the bathroom.  Would you believe we remodeled everything for under $1,000??

Because we kept everything else simple, white, and clean, I’m so glad I ended up painting the ceiling.  Although everyone in my family was skeptical to begin with, they all love it now (or at least that’s what they’re telling me).

how to install bead board or barn wood on the ceiling

We’re changing everything in our little lake house cottage.  Feel free to take a tour:

Welcome to our Cottage!
Welcome to our Cottage!

Like what you see? I’d love for you to follow along!

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11 thoughts on “How to Install Beadboard on the Ceiling

  1. Fantastic job and it look so chic, I love reclaimed wood… so excited that you revealed it! Thats not an easy job, because in my nature house they had a very hard time installing that on my ceiling because it was so uneven, and then they had to make it even…. You are very talented..

    Congrats! Hugs Maria

  2. This turned out SO great! I love the variation in the wood and the different colors you used. What a focal point in the room! Thanks so much for sharing and linking up to Friday Favorites. I’m going to feature you this coming Friday!! I took a little tour of your lakeside cabin and I’m in love. That’s my dream!

    1. Thanks, Heather! It totally is a focal point, which I’m sure isn’t for everyone, but I tried to keep everything else neutral so it didn’t get too crazy! Thanks for the feature. 🙂

  3. Wow! I love the effect it gives, and yes you had to use milk paint…it just wouldn’t make sense otherwise! The color scheme is really adorable. Thanks for sharing with us at Welcome Home Wednesday, I really hope you decide to come back this week 🙂

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