DIY Paneled Ceiling (How to Cover Popcorn Ceilings)

I’m so excited to share how we DIY planked our living room ceiling today. This one week project adding a TON of personality and made our living room feel much more expensive, polished and true to 1965 when it was built. This project is surprisingly affordable (around $800!) and can be used to cover over popcorn or any ceiling that is not your taste or needs more detail. It’s the single BEST DIY we’ve done in this home so far!
But first, a walk down memory lane. Here’s how it looked when we purchased the home last December—
As you can see here, when we bought this home the ceiling was painted gray to match the walls. We were excited to have a vaulted ceiling, and to remove the curtains to modernize this room. That said, the room felt very off. It felt tall, but small, and very boring. We were pretty confident that with some vision and DIY work we could make it really special, but it felt a bit overwhelming as we had never taken on a wood ceiling before this.
Thankfully, some guy named Collin (inside joke from our podcast if you don’t listen yet) is the most fearless DIY-er I have ever met in my life. He assured me that we could figure it out, no matter what. So we went for it!
This is "after," WOW-WOW-WOW, right? What we did was add pre-made paneling to the entire ceiling, white washed it, and then rewrapped the beams so they are just a tiny bit more substantial and modern. It was absolutely the right call for this home and made a NIGHT and DAY difference in the overall vibe when you walk into the home.
Oh! And by the way, here’s the affordable chandelier we chose for our entryway.
Alright, I am going to pass the baton to Collin to tell you the DIY information. I really hope this DIY will be one you all keep doing for years and years to come.
–cedar wood planks
–white wash stain
-liquid nails
-circular saw
-measuring tape
-pneumatic nail gun
Measure the square footage of your space to determine how many planks you’ll need. The wood planks come in packages of 14 square feet, so this makes it easy to calculate how many you will need! We had about 425 square feet to cover, so we needed roughly 30 packages.
The panels are suuuper lightweight so it makes this pretty easy! Especially if you have an extra person to assist, which i would recommend if you’re adding them to a really high ceiling. It can get a little intimidating attaching them yourself while up on a really tall ladder if you don’t have much experience with ladders or aren’t great with heights. So, play it safe and ask a friend or family member to help! To attach them, you will need to use liquid nails and a nail gun. Simply put a bead of liquid nails on the back side of each panel, stick it in place and shoot nails into each end and into the middle of each panel. These panels are also tongue and groove, which means they actually connect into each other, making a really seamless look!
This next part is optional, but i think worth it for how beautiful the finished product is! After all of the panels are attached, take a brush and white wash stain and brush it onto the planks, making sure to brush in the direction of the grain. We just did one coat, but if you want a really dramatic white wash, give it a few more coats until it has the desired look. Additionally, the existing beams that run across the ceiling in this space were awkwardly thin and didn’t look right, so we simply added some pieces of 3/4″ wood to the 3 sides of each beam to make them bigger and look more appropriate for the size of this room.
And let’s wrap up this post with a few more completed images!
Thank you so much for reading. Be sure to pin this project for the future! xx- Elsie + Collin.
Sources: White Chairs/Article (c/o), Standing Mirror/Rejuvenation, Hygge Rug/Apple & Oak, Pom Pom Pillow/ Anthropologie, Stripe blanket/ Lucky Collective Shop, Chandelier/Wayfair.