DIY Tutorials|Renovating

DIY Beadboard Ceiling

Learn how to cover a dated, textured, and stained ceiling with a cottage style DIY beadboard ceiling for a custom look.

Do you have a ceiling with a texture or finish like popcorn that you want to cover up? Or maybe you just want to add architectural interest to a smooth plaster ceiling? Either way, this DIY beadboard ceiling is the perfect solution!

White DIY Beadboard Ceiling

DIY Beadboard Ceiling

Originally published May 6, 2014. Last updated May 17, 2020.

I am a huge fan of upgrades like beadboard. I love both traditional and cottage styles, and it ties into both nicely. In our downstairs powder room, we opted to go with board-and-batten for the walls, but I knew something had to be done to cover the textured ceiling.

Before photo of a dingy textured ceiling

Here was our starting point. You can see the light-absorbing texture and the water stains in the photo. What you can’t see is all of the dust that gets trapped in the texture. Technically, I could have tried to really scrub it and paint it. Frankly, I just don’t like the texture, and I don’t think semi-gloss paint would have done it any favors.

Lucky for us, the ceiling was the perfect size for a single beadboard sheet, and we already had the crown molding. This project was not at all expensive, or time-consuming.

However, I won’t lie— it can be difficult and tiring to hold up the paneling and trim with only two people. We discovered a trick that I’ll share with you below!

Can you do a beadboard treatment on a larger ceiling?

Yes! Our ceiling happened to be the perfect size for a single piece of beadboard, but it’s designed to meet up with other pieces. You could also design a grid pattern with straight trim pieces between the panels.

Where did you get the beadboard with the wider widths between beads?

We found our panel with the wider beads in stock at our local big box home improvement store. I’ve never been able to track down an online source, unfortunately.

DIY Beadboard Ceiling Step-By-Step Tutorial

Tools & Materials

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you shop my link. Please see my disclosure if you’d like more info!

Tools

Materials

Step One: Mark Your Ceiling Joists

Our first step was to mark the ceiling joists on the walls around the perimeter of the room with painters tape. This way, we’d know where to nail the panel into a solid joist. This step was a bit more challenging (as you can see by all of the holes in the photos) due to the stud finder struggling with the thick texture on the ceiling. It turns out we also had a previously undiscovered layer of strapping below the joists, which gave us something extra to nail into.

installing a diy beadboard ceiling

Step Two: Create a Support Brace

To help support the heavy panel while it was in the ceiling, we decided the best strategy was to come up with a support brace. We used a 2×4′ slightly shorter than our ceiling and added a second piece to create a “T”.

Step Three: Cut Any Holes for Light Fixtures

Since our room was the perfect size for one panel, it needed to have a hole cut right in the middle for the existing light fixture wiring. We used a hole saw, but you can also use a jigsaw for this step.

Step Four: Apply Adhesive

Adding a construction adhesive like liquid nails to the back of the beadboard panel helps it attach to the ceiling, especially when it has a rough texture like ours did. We used our support bracket to hoist the panel with adhesive up into place.

Step Five: Nail the Panel Up

Using our nail gun, Mack nailed the panel up to the ceiling at the joists. We used 2″ nails because of the factors I mentioned above: the thick ceiling texture and a layer of strapping.

Step Six: Cut Your Trim

Next, we measured and mitered our trim boards. We chose to wrap flat 1×4″ trim around the edges of the beadboard panel and then hide any unevenness (since this room wasn’t perfectly square) with crown molding. Once again, we attached this trim with 2″ nails at the joists.

Step Seven: Fill in the Gaps

Unfortunately, the only photo I have of this step features Mack using wood filler. We do not actually suggest using wood filler, it was a failed experiment. We ended up having the best success with Drydex wall spackle to fill in the majority of the cracks and then giving everything a nice finished look with latex caulk.

Step Eight: Finish Work

The icing on the cake was the finish work. I filled the nail holes with more Drydex, lightly sanded, and painted with semi-gloss Benjamin Moore Simply White paint (see more of the paint colors in our home here!).

Now we have a whole new ceiling! It’s so bright and reflective compared to the dark and dirty texture, it brightens up the whole room and even the dark hallway. I love it.

Cottage-style powder room with beadboard ceiling

Overall, this was a great solution for a small room with a dingy ceiling. It was inexpensive and impactful. The best sort of project!  You can see all of our other DIY projects from this budget-friendly powder room project here.

Quick Print DIY Beadboard Ceiling Tutorial

For quick reference, here’s a project card you can print as you’re completing the project. If you love this project please remember to come back and leave a five star review!

DIY Beadboard Ceiling Tutorial

DIY Beadboard Ceiling Tutorial

Learn how to cover a dated, textured, and stained ceiling with a cottage style DIY beadboard ceiling for a custom look.

Active Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours

Materials

  • Beadboard panel(s) (wider beads like ours available in store at Home Depot)
  • 2×4 (optional, to create panel support)
  • 4″ flat trim
  • Crown molding
  • 2″ nails for nail gun
  • Construction adhesive
  • Caulk
  • Drydex
  • Painter’s Tape (for marking joists)

Tools

  • Tape Measure
  • Stud Finder
  • Circular Saw (if you need to trim beadboard panels)
  • Hole saw with driver or jigsaw (for cutting hole for light fixture)
  • Nail Gun with air compressor
  • Compound Miter Saw
  • Caulk Gun

Instructions

  1. Find and mark your ceiling joists on the walls with painter's tape.
  2. Create a "T" shaped support brace to help hold up your panel as you attach it to the ceiling.
  3. Cut your beadboard panel to size if needed and cut holes for any light fixtures.
  4. Apply construction adhesive to the back of the panel.
  5. Nail the panel up making sure to hit the joists (or strapping if you have it.)
  6. Cut and nail any accent trim you're adding to the joists.
  7. Fill in any gaps with Drydex. Once dry, sand. Then finish with smoothed latex caulk.
  8. Fill any nail holes with Drydex and once dry, sand smooth.

Pin It for Later: DIY Beadboard Ceiling Tutorial

DIY Beadboard Ceiling tutorial

25 Comments

  1. Lindsay Says

    I love this beadboard ceiling – it’s exactly what I want to do in our downstairs powder room, which has a textured ceiling (ugh) and needs some serious va-va-voom.

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Thank you so much Lindsay, and best of luck!! :) It makes such a huge difference!

      1. Drema Says

        Hey I know the bead board was already primed but did you repaint with semi gloss. I’ve always used flat for ceilings but this seems like semi gloss looks better.
        I’ve also read, can’t find now, where regular ceiling paint finish should be the same as trim.., even though I’ve always been taught to use flat.

        Any ideas on this.

        Love your project

        1. Nina Says

          Post author

          Yes, we used semi-gloss. It’s such a tiny room that the reflective properties seem to help brighten it up!

  2. amanda Says

    I love this beadboard – where did you buy it?

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi Amanda! We purchased it at Lowes. We loved the wider detail!

      1. Emily Says

        About to install beadboard in our bathroom ceilings & wondering if you used vinyl or wood? Did you prime it for mildew proofing in any way? How has it held up?

        1. Nina Says

          Post author

          Hi Emily, We used pre-primed composite panelling. This was a half bath (no shower), so we don’t have any real fear of moisture or mildew. It has held up very well!

      2. Liza Says

        This beadboard is amazing! I looked at Lowes and could only find the smaller width “beads.” Most are around only 2″ but this looks much wider. Do you by chance have a link or item number?? I can’t wait to do this in our kitchen!!

        1. Nina Says

          Post author

          Hi Liza, we have had better luck finding this at Home Depot recently. I looked briefly online but couldn’t find the wider beads. It was at our local store, so that may be the better bet!

  3. Cvano Says

    Your post has given me the courage to do a strip of tiling over our tub and if successful do a much needed backsplash in our kitchen! Optimistic DIY wannabe.

  4. beth Says

    Where did you get your ceiling light fixture. I love that!

  5. Odessa Says

    Can you put the glue on beadboard over foam tiles

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      Hi! Do you mean like a basement drop ceiling? I would caution against it, beadboard panels are heavy. Two possibilities that come to mind that you could look into are beadboard wallpaper, which you could affix individually to the tiles. You could also possibly replace each tile with a piece of beadboard the same size.

  6. Kylee Says

    What do you do if you have seams

    1. Nina Says

      Post author

      You have a couple of options- you could use a perpendicular board and create a grid pattern, or you can caulk the seams.

  7. Veronica Says

    Hi Nina,
    I love this!! I have a very small house built in the 40’s. It’s a real fixer-upper! The ceilings in the living room and dining room are a real crappy texture – not even sure exactly how they did it. Anyway, I love this idea. I was originally thinking of covering it up with drywall, but I really like this idea much more. Do you think it would be “too much” those main rooms?
    Thanks!

    1. Nina Hendrick Says

      Post author

      It’s hard to say for sure without knowing your space. I think I would definitely go with the wider beads! We ended up covering over our larger ceilings with smooth plaster in the end, since we thought this treatment was better suited to a smaller space.

  8. John Workman Says

    Nina, can you use bead board and cover popcorn ceilings?

    1. Nina Hendrick Says

      Post author

      Hi, John! Yes, you can use beadboard to cover popcorn texture. I would still be sure to use the construction adhesive along with the nails into studs.

  9. Madison Says

    Do you think I could put this on top of a popcorn ceiling or would I need to remove it first?

    1. Nina Hendrick Says

      Post author

      I think you could go right over a popcorn ceiling with this method! Ours wasn’t technically popcorn, but it was very similar.

  10. Rhonda Says

    Has the moisture from the shower damaged the paint above the shower?

    1. Nina Hendrick Says

      Post author

      Hi Rhonda, this was a powder room (half-bath) so we haven’t had to worry about moisture.