When it comes to updating a tired looking room, adding wainscoting to your ceiling is one of the most impactful ways to update the most often overlooked part of your home. A virtual blank canvas, adding detail with some wainscoting is a fun and easy way to give your room a new lease on life without breaking the bank or your back. There are several different styles of wainscoting from which you can choose, depending on your decorating style, DIY skill level, and your budget. So banish the basic flat white blahs from your room with a little wainscoting on the ceiling and see how easy it can be to get a custom look for a bargain-basement price.
A staple of the casual cottage and country decorating styles, the interesting texture and cozy, farmhouse feeling of beadboard brings us back to a simpler time. You can use solid wood tongue-and-groove beadboard for an authentic look, or if you’re working on a budget, consider using pressed plywood that’s been grooved to look like beadboard. Before you install, prime and paint your materials. Start your installation by locating the joists with a stud-finder, then tap in nails until you find the joist’s center. Mark it, then measure and mark off the rest of the joints every sixteen inches. You’ll want to run your beadboard perpendicular to the joists so they’ll be more securely fastened. Position your first board or sheet of plywood and measure from one end of the board to the opposite wall, then do the same with the other end of the board. You’ll probably want a second pair of hands to do this. Shift the board until both measurements are equal, then nail in your board at each joist. Fit the next board on, tapping gently to get a good fit, and then face-nail the board, meaning drive a nail through the tongue and into the joist. Continue across the length of the room. If your tongue-and-groove boards aren’t long enough, cut them to size so that the end lines up with a joist, then use a second board to finish the width. If you’re using plywood, apply construction adhesive on the back and then simply nail along the joist every six inches or so. Finish by hiding any gaps at the edges with a decorative ceiling molding.
For a more formal setting, particularly a room with very high ceilings, adding faux beams is a great way to create a dramatic decorative statement. You can either paint or stain your beams, depending on your taste and your budget. Less expensive 1x4s are great for painted beams, or opt for better woods for staining. Start by deciding on a pattern. Criss-crossed patterns lend themselves to formal rooms, or go straight across in lines for a more rustic look. Measure and mark off your pattern on the ceiling with a chalk line, then build your beams by nailing 1x4s into a U-shaped box to the measurements of your ceiling pattern. Stain or paint your beams and let them dry, then nail up 2x4s along your chalk lines and nail your beams into them.
For a budget update to a ceiling, try using inexpensive trim to create the big impact of wainscoting for a small investment. Again, decide on a pattern first. You can create a box about twelve inches in from the exterior of the room for a basic update, or consider inverting each corner at a ninety-degree angle for a little more interest. Measure and cut trim, then prime and paint it, and finally, nail it to the ceiling. Add a little more interest by painting the interior of the box a different color.