Last summer we embarked on a fun and exciting laundry room remodel to build the laundry room/mudroom of our dreams! One of my favorite features from our design plans was our beadboard ceiling – it gives the space a cozy, cottage-like feel while adding unique character and charm. In this blog post, Install a DIY Beadboard Ceiling in a Weekend: A Step-by-Step Guide I’ll take you through our decision-making process, installation journey, and the final stunning result.

two globe lights that have black stripes on them.

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Why Your Ceiling Design Matters for the Perfect Room Makeover

When planning a room renovation, it’s easy to focus on the more obvious elements like flooring, cabinetry, and appliances. However, the ceiling is an often-overlooked aspect that can make a big difference in the final result. A well-designed ceiling can:

A well-designed ceiling can:

  1. Add visual interest and character to the room
    A unique or textured ceiling, such as a beadboard ceiling, can instantly draw the eye upward and create a focal point in the laundry room. It adds depth, dimension, and personality to the space, making it feel more inviting and carefully considered.
  2. Make the space feel larger and more open
    The right ceiling design can trick the eye into perceiving the room as taller and more spacious. Light-colored or reflective materials, like painted beadboard, can help bounce light around the room, creating a brighter and more open atmosphere.
  3. Contribute to the overall style and aesthetic of the laundry room
    The ceiling is an integral part of the room’s design and should complement the overall style you’re trying to achieve. For our laundry room, we wanted a cozy, cottage-inspired look, and the beadboard ceiling perfectly aligned with this aesthetic, tying together the other design elements in the space.
  4. Provide an opportunity to incorporate practical features like better lighting or ventilation
    A well-designed ceiling can also serve functional purposes. For example, installing a beadboard ceiling allowed us to easily integrate recessed lighting, which improved the room’s illumination and made tasks like sorting and folding laundry easier. Additionally, we were able to seamlessly incorporate a heat/AC vent into the ceiling design, ensuring proper ventilation without compromising the room’s appearance.

By carefully considering these factors and choosing a beadboard ceiling, we were able to elevate our laundry room renovation and create a space that is both beautiful and functional. The ceiling design plays a crucial role in the overall success of the room, and we couldn’t be happier with the results of our decision to install a beadboard ceiling.

Beadboard on the ceiling in our laundry room.

Decoding the Lingo: A Guide to Beadboard, Wainscotting, Planks, and Panels

Before we jump in, let’s get on the same page with some key terminology. When it comes to beadboard and similar wood treatments, there are a few terms that can sometimes be confusing or used interchangeably. This quick guide will help ensure we’re all speaking the same language as we discuss material options, installation techniques, and design ideas involving beadboard, wainscotting, planks, and panels.

Beadboard: Beadboard refers to rows of narrow wooden planks, typically 3-6 inches wide, with a tongue-and-groove design and a rounded bead along the center. Traditionally used as wainscotting, beadboard adds visual texture and interest to walls and ceilings.

Wainscotting: Wainscotting is a type of wood paneling that covers the lower portion of an interior wall. It originated as a practical way to protect walls from being scratched by furniture. Beadboard is a common style used for wainscotting.

Planks: Planks are individual long, narrow boards used for floors, walls, ceilings and other applications. Beadboard consists of tongue-and-groove wooden planks installed horizontally or vertically.

Panels: Panels refer to larger, single piece sections rather than individual planks (often 4ft x 8ft sections) Beadboard panels mimic the look of traditional beadboard but come in sheet form for easier installation. It is usually light weight and often made from MDF or HDF material with primed and ready to paint surfaces.

Shiplap: Shiplap is similar in look to beadboard with horizontal boards, but the edges are more squared off where they meet rather than having a rounded bead detail.

This glossary clarifies the differences between beadboard components like individual planks versus full panel sheets, as well as how beadboard relates to other wood treatments like wainscotting and shiplap. Having these definitions can help avoid confusion when planning a project.

Another view of the beadboard in the living room.

Why we chose Beadboard for our Ceiling

When it came to deciding on the perfect ceiling material for our laundry room renovation, we had a few options in mind. Initially, we considered using shiplap, which we love! However, given the small size of our laundry room, which measures just 8′ x 10′, we felt that the larger boards of shiplap might overwhelm the space and look too heavy.

We decided that beadboard would be a more fitting choice for our laundry room. Here’s why:

  • A Timeless and Inviting Look: Beadboard has been a staple in home design for centuries, particularly in coastal and cottage-style homes. Its narrow, vertical planks create a charming, traditional look that never goes out of style. We loved the idea of incorporating this classic design element into our laundry room, as it would give the space a timeless and inviting feel.
  • Adding Depth and Visual Interest: One of the greatest advantages of beadboard is its ability to add depth and visual interest to a room. The subtle grooves between the planks create a textured surface that catches the light and adds dimension to the ceiling. In a small space like our laundry room, this extra layer of texture helps to make the room feel more dynamic and engaging, without being overwhelming.
  • Easy Installation and Affordability: Beadboard is relatively easy to install compared to other ceiling options. The narrow planks are lightweight and can be easily cut to size, making them manageable for a two-person team like ourselves. Additionally, beadboard is an affordable option, especially when compared to more intricate ceiling treatments like coffered or tray ceilings.
  • The Perfect Fit for Our Small Laundry Room: Given the smaller scale of the beadboard planks, we felt confident that this material would be the perfect fit for our laundry room. The narrow boards would provide just the right amount of texture and interest without making the space feel cramped or busy. Plus, the classic look of beadboard would complement the cottage-inspired style we were aiming for in our renovation.
Cutting out board with vent.

Beadboard Planks vs. Paneling: Our Decision-Making Process

When it came to choosing between Beadboard boards (planks) and paneling for our laundry room ceiling, we had to do some research to determine which option would work best. Traditional beadboard consists of tongue and groove boards that are typically 3/4″ to 1″ thick and around 4″ wide. Each board features a charming beaded detail running down the center and along the tongue edge, which gives beadboard its signature look and helps to conceal the joints where the boards meet. When installed, these boards create a cohesive, almost continuous surface that’s full of character and texture.

On the other hand, beadboard panels come in larger sheets that cover more surface area at once. They are thinner and you will find the grooves in the paneling are not as pronounced and rounded as the original beadboard found in older homes.

After weighing our options, we decided to go with wooden beadboard planks for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we felt that the thicker boards would hang better and be less likely to sag over time compared to the thinner paneling sheets. Additionally, we appreciated the idea of having more control over the installation process and being able to customize the spacing between the boards if needed.

Another advantage of using this type of beadboard was that they were easier to handle during installation, especially in a small space like our laundry room. We could cut the boards to size as needed and maneuver them into place without wrestling with large, unwieldy sheets of paneling.

After much deliberation and a few late-night Pinterest sessions, we ultimately decided to use individual beadboard boards for our laundry room ceiling. We felt confident that this choice would give us the classic, charming look we desired while providing a more customizable and manageable installation process.

Note: While considering using beadboard paneling, our research brought us to Pine and Proper’s beautiful beadboard ceiling with encased boards to create a coffered look. This is a great way to ensure the panels won’t sag, but in the end, we decided that a coffered ceiling would look too busy for our small space.

Close up of a beadboard plank.

Installation Process

A. Preparing the ceiling and gathering materials: First we gathered all the necessary materials, including the beadboard boards, a miter saw, a nail gun, and various other tools and supplies. Before we could start installing our beadboard ceiling, we had to make sure the surface was ready for the new boards. We removed our old drop ceiling tiles and cross tee’s and runners which exposed the ceiling joists. Then we installed 1′ x 3′ strapping to the ceiling joists 16″ on center in a 90 degree angle.

Strapping installed on the floor joists to hang the beadboard on.

Note: The extra pieces of strapping seen on the left side of the room were installed to support the built-in washer and dryer cabinets.

Direction of the boards: We decided to have the boards follow the ceiling joists and did this by adding perpendicular strapping (furring strips). By having the boards run in the direction from the outside of the home to the center wall we were able to use 8′ boards which are typically straighter and less expensive than 16′ boards.

installing beadboard in alignment with the floor joists.

C. Cutting out the space for the light fixtures: One of the challenges we encountered during the installation process was cutting out the space for our light fixtures (3 recessed lights and two globe lights). We carefully measured the locations of the fixtures and used a jigsaw to create a precise opening in the beadboard. It took a steady hand and a bit of patience, but we managed to get a clean, professional-looking cut that perfectly accommodated our light fixtures.

holes for light fixtures and vent.

D. Accommodating the heat/AC vent in the ceiling design: Another obstacle we had to overcome was figuring out how to work around the heat/AC vent in the ceiling. We didn’t want to compromise the functionality of the vent, but we also wanted to maintain the seamless look of the beadboard. After some brainstorming, we decided to carefully cut the boards to fit around the fixed vent and use a decorative vent cover to blend it in with the overall design.

cutting the board to accommodate the ac/heat vent.

E. Adding trim to create a polished look: Once all the beadboard boards were installed, we focused on adding the finishing touches to create a polished, professional look. We used trim pieces to cover any gaps or imperfections around the edges of the ceiling and to create a crisp, clean border. This extra step really helped to elevate the overall appearance of the beadboard ceiling and make it look like a high-end, custom installation.

About the Ceiling Trim: On one side of the room, we had piping that ran over the top front of the door which we encased with a soffit. This soffit abuts our newly installed IKEA cabinets that house our raised washer and dryer. We wanted these cabinets to have a custom built-in appearance, so we added crown molding around the top of them. We first added a 1″ x 3″ trim piece to the ceiling in front of the cabinets then were able to connected the cabinet tops to the ceiling with crown molding. After installing the crown molding on top of the cabinets, we made sure the remaining trim around the ceiling perimeter had a 3/4″ exposed trim piece, matching the 3/4″ thickness of the remain trim in the room. This created a cohesive look throughout the entire ceiling.

How to Install a Beadboard Ceiling using Individual Boards

Materials:

  • Beadboard boards (we used 3/4″ primed white pine planks (boards)
  • Finish nails or brad nails
  • Trim boards (we used 3/4″ flat primed trim for this small room)
  • Wood filler
  • Paintable caulk
  • Paint or stain (optional)

Tools:

Step-by-step Instructions for your Beadboard Ceiling Project

  1. Prepare the Ceiling

    Prepare the ceiling by removing any existing fixtures, filling in cracks or holes, and ensuring the surface is clean and smooth. Install strapping perpendicular to the ceiling joists, spacing the strapping every 12-16 inches. Use a level to ensure the strapping is straight and even. Secure the strapping to the ceiling joists using 2-inch nails or construction screws..

  2. Measure and Calculate Materials

    Measure the length and width of your ceiling to determine the number of beadboard boards needed, accounting for any necessary cuts around vents, lights, or other obstacles.

  3. Install the First Board

    Begin installing the beadboard boards along one edge of the ceiling, perpendicular to the strapping. You may apply a bead of construction adhesive to the back of each board and press it firmly against the ceiling (optional).

  4. Nail the First Board

    For the first board, nail through the face of the board, approximately 1/2 inch from the tongue edge. Drive nails straight and slightly below the surface of the wood to create small dimples, placing nails every 12-16 inches along the length of the board.

  5. Install Subsequent Boards

    Continue installing boards across the ceiling, fitting the groove of each subsequent board over the tongue of the previous one. The groove should slide over the tongue and cover the nails from the previous board, hiding them from view. Use a level to ensure the boards remain straight and even for a flat ceiling. the nail through the board and on the strapping.

  6. Nail Subsequent Boards

    For each board, nail through the face, about 1/2 inch from the tongue edge, creating dimples and spacing nails every 12-16 inches. The nails will be concealed by the groove of the next board, creating a seamless appearance. Learn more about installing tongue and groove here.

  7. Cut Boards Around Obstacles

    When you reach an obstacle like a vent or light fixture, carefully measure and mark the outline of the opening on the board. Use a drill to create pilot holes and then a jigsaw to cut out the shape, then install the board around the obstacle.

  8. Install the Final Board

    For the final board, you may need to rip it down to size to fit the remaining space. Nail this board in place through the face, as with the previous boards.

  9. Add Trim Pieces

    Once all the beadboard boards are installed, add trim pieces around the edges of the ceiling to cover any gaps and create a polished, finished look. Miter the corners of the trim for a professional appearance.

  10. Fill Nail Holes and Gaps

    Fill any nail holes with wood filler or gaps with paintable caulk, then sand the surface lightly once the caulk has dried.

  11. Paint or Stain (Optional)

    If desired, paint or stain the beadboard ceiling to match your room’s decor. Apply the paint or stain according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using a brush or roller designed for textured surfaces.

  12. Reinstall/Install Fixtures

    Install or reinstall any light fixtures, vent covers, or other elements you removed during the installation process.

Painting the Beadboard Ceiling

A. Choosing the perfect paint color to complement the room: Selecting the right paint color for our beadboard ceiling was crucial to achieving the overall look and feel we wanted for our laundry room. After much deliberation, we decided on Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore, a beautiful, bright white that would help create a fresh, airy atmosphere in the space.

B. Tips and techniques for painting beadboard effectively: Painting a textured surface like beadboard can be a bit tricky, but with the right techniques and tools, it’s definitely manageable. We found that using a high-quality brush and a small foam roller designed for textured surfaces helped us achieve even coverage without missing any of the grooves or crevices. It’s important to work in small sections and to use a light touch to avoid applying too much paint at once. If available a paint sprayer would work well in getting into the grooved edge of each board!

C. The transformative power of paint in the finished look: One of the most amazing things about paint is its ability to completely transform a space. In the case of our beadboard ceiling, the Chantilly Lace white paint took it from a raw, unfinished look to a polished, cohesive element that tied the entire room together. We also opted for a bit of a sheen in the paint finish, which helped to reflect the minimal amount of light coming from the back door and brighten up the room even more.

me in our new laundry room taking laundry out of the dryer.

Installing DIY Beadboard on Plaster or Popcorn Ceilings

We were fortunate that our room had exposed ceiling joists after removing an old drop ceiling. This made installing the beadboard relatively straightforward by adding simple strapping. However, many visitors to the blog today may be looking to cover an existing plaster or popcorn ceiling surface.

For those types of ceilings, the process is a bit more involved but still very doable as a DIY project. The key is creating a solid nailing surface by first installing furring strips (strapping) perpendicular to the direction you plan to run the beadboard planks.

Start by snap chalk lining the ceiling to map out the furring strip locations, typically 16″ or 24″ apart. Securely screw the furring strips into the ceiling joists using long drywall screws. This provides a level base to nail the beadboard into. A stud finder will come in handy for this job.

If dealing with a popcorn/textured ceiling, thoroughly cleaning the surface and using a drywall primer will help the furring strips better adhere. For plaster ceilings, use masonry screws made for securing into plaster.

Once the furring strips are in place, the beadboard can then be nailed directly into them using finishing nails. The beadboard joints can be caulked and painted for a seamless look when complete.

washer and dryer in ikea cabinets.

For more information on the Laundry room makeover visit:

IKEA Laundry Room Makeover

Built-In Washer and Dryer Cabinets: Innovative Design Secrets

Shop the Look: Explore the Paint Colors and Accessories

You can shop this makeover on my LTK where you will find links to the wallpaper, hardware, light fixtures, baskets, and more.

Paint Colors:

  • Walls: Benjamin Moore – Strom – Eggshell
  • Trim and ceiling: Benjamin Moore – Chantilly Lace Semi-Gloss
  • Crown molding (to match IKEA cabinets) – Benjamin Moore White Heron – Eggshell
  • Backdoor: Benjamin Moore – Wrought Iron – Semi-Gloss

Tile Floor: Concept Gray Porcelain Tile (Grout: Latte)

CabinetsSEKTION cabinets with ENKOPING doors from IKEA

Butcher blockEspresso Stained Butcher Block

The Final Result

After all the hard work of installing and painting the beadboard, the big reveal finally came. Stepping back, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment as we took in the sight of our completed ceiling. The bright, fresh white of the Chantilly Lace paint and the classic charm of the beadboard created a stunning focal point that exceeded our expectations.

The DIY beadboard ceiling proved to be the perfect complement to the other design elements in our laundry room. It added texture and visual interest while maintaining a clean, timeless look that worked beautifully with the room’s color scheme and decor, becoming a unifying feature that brought the entire space together into a cohesive, intentional design.

a view of the completed ceiling showing the light fixtures.

Looking back, we couldn’t be happier with the results of this project our basement ceiling never looked so good! Not only did it transform the look of our laundry room, but it also gave us a sense of accomplishment and pride in our DIY skills. The impact has been significant – every time we walk into the bright, charming space, even the most mundane chores feel a little more enjoyable. It’s a testament to the power of a well-executed DIY project and the satisfaction that comes with creating something beautiful with your own hands.

Like many of my other DIY projects these hands-on renovations are extremely rewarding. Tackling diy projects allows you to create custom, personalized spaces while saving money and learning new skills along the way. I’m thrilled with how this beadboard ceiling project transformed our laundry room. This beadboard ceiling packs a big punch to a small room by adding much-needed character and charm reminiscent of older houses. If you’re considering a similar upgrade, I highly recommend giving it a try! Stay tuned for my upcoming post on our new beadboard wall in our bathroom!

Happy DIY’ing Friends!

My signature - a drawing of me holding a coffee cup that says Create.

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