Paneled Ceiling Project

For the past few years, I have been feeling like this room wasn’t complete, but I could never nail down what it was. It’s one of those fairly tall rooms (where it looks enormous in photos but is not that big in real life). I knew I wanted to keep the white walls, ceiling, and beams, but it felt like it was too much white at a time or like it needed texture. The lightbulb moment was when I saw Brittany’s paneled ceiling and I knew it was the perfect solution for our room.

Fast forward a few months and I can now confirm that this was the right move for this room. It’s crazy what a big difference that little bit of texture made. And the best part … it was NOT expensive. At ALL. I will hand the mic over to Collin to share the details, but first … more photos!

Oh! And don’t forget to check out the before photos. They put it in context pretty well!

How it is done:

1/4″ x 8′ x 4′ birch plywood
2′ x 4′ board
heavy grit sandpaper

circular saw
miter saw
nail gun
-measuring tape
-safety glasses
-two clamps

Start by measuring your space to figure out the square footage and how many pieces of 1/4″ plywood you’ll need. (One piece of 8′ x 4′ plywood is 32 square feet). Once you know how many pieces you’ll need, decide how wide you’re going to want each panel. To minimize waste, I recommend choosing a width that can be equally divided by 4′ because you are going to cut the plywood lengthwise. For example, (48 ÷ 6 = 8) if you choose an 8″ wide panel you can get six 8″ x 8′ pieces of panel from each piece of plywood.

When you’re buying the plywood at the store, some places will cut all of the pieces for you and make your life a little easier. But some stores will not and you’ll have to cut them yourself. To do this, simply lay each piece of plywood on top of each other and make sure they are completely even. Mark each line where you’re going to cut based on what width you choose for each panel. Take a 2′ x 4′ board and line it up with the first line and clamp it on either side of the pieces of plywood, making sure it is perfectly straight and even.

Take a circular saw and use the 2′ x 4′ board as a guide for the saw to cut the plywood perfectly straight. Since you stacked the pieces of plywood together, you can cut multiple pieces at once, making it a lot quicker. Repeat this process until all panels are cut. Sometimes circular saws can be a little rough and chew up the sides where you made your cuts, so you might want to take some heavy grit sandpaper and quickly sand off some of the sides of the panels. To install each panel, start at the bottom and work your way up, making sure to double check your measurements before cutting each panel down in length because no wall or ceiling is perfectly even and each panel will most likely be a slightly different length. If each panel is very long, you might want a second person to help hold up each piece while the other person uses a nail gun to nail each panel up in place. Simply use and size the tile spacer you want for the gap in between the panels. We wanted a very small gap, so we simply used a couple of quarters as the spacers for each gap.

That’s pretty much it! Paint it, whitewash it or leave it natural because the birch plywood is actually really nice looking. It’s a very simple and cheap project to do in any space, as each piece of plywood is only around $14. We only ended up spending around $70 for this entire ceiling! 

Let us know if you have any questions! xx!

Credits//Author: Collin DuPree and Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • The room looks so amazing, what a great idea to use the panels!

  • SQUEEEEEEEEE! This is gorgeous! Do you think it would work over an ugly popcorn ceiling? Or does the surface need to be flat like yours?

  • I just checked out the before post, you’ve made such a difference in the house. It’s beautiful.

  • It looks SO GOOD!! I want to panel everything now. Also I can’t believe you did this for only $70! You rock!

  • Wow, loving the farmhouse vibes! I don’t live in a house so obviously this wouldn’t work for me, but how I wish! 😀

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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