Beam Dreams Come True: A Step-by-Step DIY Tutorial to Wood Plank Ceilings and Faux Beams

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You guys, it’s finally time!

I’m so excited to share the project details with all of you! I’m going to show you how to transform your ceiling into a cozy and luxurious space with wood planks and faux beams. I’ll be with you every step of the way and I promise it’s easier than you think. Just like all other DIY projects, just focus on one step at a time and you’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of! Let’s get started!

As I was coming to the end of my bathroom makeover, I had an idea to make the ceiling into a statement piece! Even though this bathroom is small, I still wanted to find a way to make a big impact! I’m a huge fan of the rustic yet modern look, so I decided to spruce things up with some wooden planks and faux beams. The end result was amazing! Not only did it create depth and texture, but it also made the space feel so much cozier. The best part? It was super easy to do and didn’t break the bank! I ripped 1/4in sande plywood into 5in strips on my table saw and used select pine boards to build my faux beams. This is totally a project that you could tackle in a weekend!

Cost Analysis:

Total Cost: $302




Step 1: Planning and Mock-ups

Before anything else, planning is key. I spent a good chunk of time deciding on the direction of the wood planks. Should they match the floor, or should they contrast to allow for beams? After much deliberation and a mock-up (because visualizing is everything), I decided to run the planks perpendicular to the floor, making room for those gorgeous beams to cross overhead.

Step 2: Ripping Down Plywood

I had the guy at Home Depot cut the 4×8 sheet down into 15in pieces so that I could fit it in my car. Once I got home, I set up the fence on my table saw at 5 inches and ran the boards through creating my strips. You will get about 9 strips out of 1 sheet.

Step 3: Marking the Studs and Deciding on Beam Placement

Figuring out the spacing of the beams definitely made my brain hurt. Originally I was hoping for 3 beams evenly spaced but I realized that my vent was in the way. (why can’t things ever just go according to plan!) I decided to go with 4 beams instead starting at each end to get the same look visually while also avoiding the vent. I used this calculator to help me with my spacing and placement. It’s not technically for this but it works just the same.

Step 4: Beam Construction

Constructing the faux beams is easier than you’d think! There are two options when building beams… you can use a miter joint (more advanced) or a butt joint (easier). There isn’t a right or wrong answer for this and totally personal preference. I went with a butt joint instead of mitering, mainly because it was simpler and the seams won’t be noticeable once they are all stained. I used wood glue along the edges and then used my 18g brad nailer to attach the beams together. This process went pretty quickly once I had all of my boards cut. Sizing is totally personal preference on this. My beams are 4.5in tall x 5.5in wide. The beams are hollow and attached to the ceiling using cleats, which made the installation seem complex but it was actually quite simple! Don’t worry, I’ll explain how to do this in a later step. I’m telling you ANYONE can do this project!

Step 5: Staining and Wood Conditioning

After you have assembled your beams and made all of your cuts for the ceiling planks, now it’s time to wood condition and stain. It’s much easier (and less messy) to do this step prior to installing anything onto the ceiling. To get a nice even coat of stain, it’s important that you sand everything down (I’d recommend one pass with 180 grit followed by another with 220) so that it’s nice and smooth. Wipe with a tack cloth to remove any sawdust and apply your pre-stain wood conditioner. Don’t skip this step! It helps apply a coating to your wood that helps the stain absorb more evenly. If you skip sanding and wood conditioner, you may end up with splotchy planks. To create a warm and inviting color, I applied two coats of early american with a staining rag followed immediately by two coats of weathered oak.

Step 6: Installing the Planks

I was busy installing the plywood boards on the ceiling, and boy, did my arms get a workout! But I’m not mad about it to be honest… Because the plywood is only 1/4in, the planks aren’t super heavy and can be installed by one person. I started in the middle so that everything was visually balanced and I used a quarter as a spacer between each plank. Mark your studs before you start installing and try to shoot your brad nails into the studs whenever possible. I also recommend shooting them at alternating angles to help it grip into the drywall even more. It was a lot of hard work, but it felt rewarding to see everything come together. Just when I thought I was done, I turned on the lights at night and saw the stark white ceiling peeking through the gaps. It was a bummer, but I quickly came up with a solution. I took the boards down using my trim puller and painted the gaps with brown paint to mimic shadows, and then put my boards back up. Every detail counts during those DIY projects!

Step 7: The Faux Beams

Installing the cleats was a breeze, marking the transformation from a flat ceiling to one with dimension and character. Simply secure the boards to the ceiling and screwing them up into the studs. The beams then wrap around the cleats, and you can secure firmly with your 18g brad nailer. I like to use this guy for projects since it’s heavy-duty!

The Big Reveal: (Finally!)

The bathroom ceiling has gone from plain and boring to what I like to call around here a show-stopping masterpiece! All it took was some creativity and a whole lot of elbow grease. It just goes to show that with a bit of effort, anything can be turned into something amazing!

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A post shared by Amanda Vernaci | Come Stay Awhile (@comestayawhile)

Final Thoughts

This DIY project is all about the satisfaction and joy that comes from doing things yourself. It’s not just about making a space look better; it’s about pushing yourself to learn new skills, overcome challenges, and bring your ideas to life.

I hope this tutorial inspires you to look at your home with fresh eyes. Whether you’re looking to spruce up a ceiling, a wall, or an entire room, a little bit of creativity and a lot of hard work can transform any space into a place you love!

So, are you pumped to make your ceiling the center of attention and completely transform it into something amazing? Let me know what you’re thinking, what your plans are, or if you have any questions in the comments below. Let’s get started and make something amazing!

Happy projecting!

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