How to Install Beadboard or Barn Wood on the Ceiling

4 Materials

We recently completed remodeled our small cottage bathroom - on an major budget. We ended up spending $1,000, to rip out and replace everything in the space. But, that's in a different post. Today, I want to show you how we created the focal point in the small space - the ceiling.

We were working with a small budget, so I knew I wanted to save money with ceramic subway tile. I also put in white floors, which allowed me to get creative with the ceiling. It started off as a basic ceiling.

This beadboard came from an old milk barn in Wisconsin and was already in various lengths. I cleaned up the pieces,

and painted them with milk paint. I quickly put the paint on, not minding if I missed some spots, because I wanted it to look worn and aged, just like the wood.

I measured the ceiling and then taped off the same size rectangle on the floor. This gave me a template to randomly lay out different pieces of beadboard. Random was definitely key here. I didn't allow myself to think about it too much as I grabbed the next piece, and I think this gives it the perfect look.

Our ceiling joists were running parallel to the direction that we wanted to install the boards, so we needed to create a system that the boards could be nailed into. I used furring strips (1" x 2") and just screwed them into the joists.

We air-nailed the boards right into the furring strips. Between my dad and I handing off the air-nailer across the small room, we had the whole thing installed in 30 minutes!

To see more details on the type of paint I used, colors, and the complete bathroom remodel, head on over to the blog.

Suggested materials:

  • beadboard
  • milk paint
  • air-nailer
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Jenny @ Refresh Living
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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  • Marjory Marjory on Mar 14, 2018

    Looks super cool and easy. Did you use any molding for finishing touches? I could not tell.

    Marjory F

  • Marjory Marjory on Mar 14, 2018

    Approximately how many nails did you use per board?

  • How did you deal these to avoid moisture? I would love to do this in the bathrooms of my house but not sure how to treat them with a sealant to avoid mold or other common moisture issues.


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2 of 78 comments
  • Bonnie Morris Bonnie Morris on Jul 06, 2018

    Good work! I used white beadboard planking on the ceiling of my newly remodeled bathroom. Have popcorn coating on every ceiling in the house and am going to eventually use this technique for all. First I had to scrape off the coating, making an incredible mess, and then glued and brad nailed the pieces directly onto the ceiling, making sure to hit the rafters with the brads. Already have lower ceilings and didn't want to drop the ceiling any lower than possible. May consider the fake beams in the larger rooms.

  • Joanie Joanie on Jul 07, 2018

    It looks great.......I'm thinkin' memories from an old barn. ;))