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DIY Beadboard Ceiling

Learn how to cover a dated, textured, or popcorn ceiling with an easy and inexpensive 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!

Looking for other wall or ceiling treatment ideas? You can check out my tutorial for planking walls here and also how to plank walls with PVC — which works great in a full bathroom where there’s moisture.

White DIY Beadboard Ceiling

DIY Beadboard Ceiling

Originally published May 6, 2014

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 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 put beadboard over a popcorn ceiling?

Yes, you can definitely create a diy beadboard ceiling over popcorn texture. Follow the same steps in the tutorial 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.

Beadboard panel with crown moulding ceiling treatment

DIY Beadboard Ceiling Step-By-Step Tutorial

Tools & Materials

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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!).

View of panelled ceiling idea to cover popcorn texture

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.

Light powder room with board-and-batten and beadboard ceiling

Overall, a diy beadboard ceiling is the perfect solution to put over popcorn or other textures. 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 texture ceiling with cottage style beadboard for a custom look.

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

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27 Comments

    1. I think you technically can, but I’d definitely check for level between the joists, since in our experience they’re never the same (you could end up with a wavy mess and bowed panels). You may want to use strapping and/or shim everything to the proper level before attaching the panels.

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

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

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

    1. 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.

  2. 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. 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.

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

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

      1. 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. 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. 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. 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!

  4. 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. 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

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