How to build a wood ceiling:
We took out a few layers of ceiling in this part of the kitchen – and after going through 2 or 3 layers, we got to the final layer. It was uneven and just bad…and I decided I wanted to make the best of it and put a whole new ceiling under it.
What you’ll need:
- 2×4’s for the frame
- Tongue in groove boards
- Stain (this is the color we used on this ceiling)
- Jigsaw (if you have lights to cut around)
Since I made this project, I learned how to stain wood the RIGHT way. You’ll want to read this post if you want your stain to have a smooth (not splotchy) finish.
We started by attaching 2×4’s around the perimeter of the ceiling, and then adding a cross through the middle of the room connecting these beams:
It took us a while to get the framework just right. Once you do, the rest of it is relatively simple!
As you can see, we had a really uneven ceiling to work with. Just make sure you’re leveling your 2X4’s as you go – this will be your framework, and it’s so important to keep it level!
We got our lumber from Lowe’s. These are the boards we got – the important thing is to make sure they are tongue and groove boards. The thickness is a matter of personal preference.
We pre-stained them with this stain (trust me – it’s much easier to pre-stain them than to put the plain boards up and have to worry about staining them later!)
We nailed the boards to the 2X4 supports we had as our framework. We didn’t screw them in, and didn’t feel we needed to. Especially on the middle support – the nails are there to prevent future bowing, but aren’t truly needed for the structure.
We had a few can lights to work around – we cut around them with our jigsaw.
It was SO EXCITING to cover up all of the junk that was up there:
We went board by board – make sure the tongue and groove is fits rightly, and then secure it with nails. It worked well for us to have one person nail while the other person kept the board tight against the previous board.
We had to stop halfway through to take care of some plumbing issues upstairs while the ceiling was still open – this is what it looked like for about a week:
Finally, the planks were all in! It looked so good, but we wanted to finish off the edges. I would recommend doing this, because it will give you a little bit of wiggle room for your edges as you’re going along.
We tongue in groove planking on our walls, painted them white once they were all the way up to the ceiling, and then added crown molding.
The crown molding is the piece that truly finishes it all off. Since we’re in an old house that basically never has 90 degree angles, we used these corners (also found at Lowe’s) and it saved us lots of headaches.
We then painted & caulked everything:
And it was finished!
This was the perfect solution for us and this space – I’m honestly not sure how it would work in a larger space. I think you would have to make a few other support beams going across and it would work, but obviously more square footage = more costs for lumber.
I LOVE our ceiling, and I’m so glad we decided to do this instead of the boring drywall route. It adds so much character to this space, and really ties the room together.
See all of the details of our kitchen makeover here, and see our whole house full of makeovers here!
Follow me on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest for other creative DIY inspiration!
You’ll also love these DIY projects from our fixer upper:
How to fake old trim (great for matching existing trim & also for adding character to a newer home):
How to remove paint from old hardware – using only soap & water!
Lorene @Remodelaholic says
Hi Christina! I work with Cassity over at Remodelaholic and I am swooning over your gorgeous kitchen and that ceiling!! I just emailed you about being featured on our site, but the email vortex likes to swallow up my emails sometimes, so I wanted to leave a comment (and some love!) here as well. Drop me a line at [email protected] and we can discuss the details. Thanks!
Thanks, Lorene! I’d be honored to be featured – I emailed you back!
Love your stain color can you tell me the name of it please?
Love your wood ceiling & shiplap walls! In the process of building a small home with a cathedral ceiling in the kitchen/living room. I prefer to paint ceiling & walls white (from the gray family). Should I paint both ceiling & walls the same color or keep them in different white/gray shades? I have a definite transition spot where the woods will change. Thank you.
Love your wood ceiling!! Did you have to put a coat of poly on it or did you just stain it?? Also, what is the width of the boards? Looks like 4 or 6 inch?
Looks beautiful. You’ve inspired me. Did you seal after staining? I want the matte look, but wood’s going on bathroom ceiling. Thanks
thank you Amy! Yes- you can seal it with matte Polycrylic. I suggest that one instead of polyurethane because it’s truly clear and doesn’t yellow over time 🙂
Beautiful ceiling. May I ask what kind of finish you used? Pine is supposed to have a tendency to go splotchy when stained. How did you avoid that? What kind and color stain did you use?
Melyssa Polen says
You state in a previous comment that you CAN use a poly coat, does this mean that you did not do so? We are doing a ceiling like this, and the wood is the PERFECT color at the moment (after much trial and error), and I’m worried about putting any kind of polyurethane on top of it (I don’t want to yellow it), but haven’t heard good things about polycrylic so I’m considering putting up the wood with no top coat. If this is what you did, how did it hold up over time? Thank you for your post, your kitchen is my dream!
Polycrylic will not yellow – so if you want to be safe you could use that! We did NOT use a protective coat on ours 🙂