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DIY - Rustic Coffered Ceiling

Rustic ceiling installation - little molding detail

wooden tone and white flat coffered ceiling installation instructions.
Hi friends,

The final piece of the puzzle for my dining room makeover is here, the coffered ceiling!  
It took me quite a long time to get to the final details because of my break during the holidays.

I was building the bookcases when out of the blue I looked at the big white expanse of the ceiling above me, and without thinking twice, I grabbed two pieces of wood and tried to visualize how to give my plain ceiling a new look.

*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Cristina Garay trying samples against the ceiling
The plan was set right then and there: I was going to build a coffered ceiling. 

Well, a flat coffered ceiling, and I thought, perhaps, to give it some texture by adding beadboard in between the beams, because, in my mind, it all was going to be white.

However, after finding out I had no budget for the five full beadboard sheets I needed for this project, I had to settle for five sheets of ¼" underlayment. They're around 12 bucks per sheet.

The good people at The Home Depot made all the cuts for me. Sometimes it's free, sometimes it isn't. I paid 5 bucks for them to cut seven of these sheets. I'm so thankful for this, It would've been crazy doing it by myself. 

So, this is how the building of the flat coffered ceiling went: 
(Ceiling approx. area: 12' x 10')

The materials:
Note: the 1 x primed material was lightly sanded, cleaned, and painted two coats of Behr Swiss Coffee Semigloss finish before cutting it.

Tools Used:

This project's most important step is done even before driving that first nail. 
ceiling with marked joists and round chandelier.
Using a stud finder, locate the ceiling joists. Snap chalk lines all along the center of those joists.

Measure the ceiling area and draw your design on paper. Then, bring those measurements to your ceiling.  I marked the placement of the beams on the ceiling and I also made little marks on the walls.

I decided to use 1 x 4 material around the perimeter of the room. I left a 1½" gap between the boards and the wall since that space would be covered by the installation of crown molding later on. I'll explain this below in the post.

The plank installation has to be done perpendicular to the ceiling joists.
The other important thing to consider while making the plan is how to hide the seams. Remember that the length of each plank is only 8' and most ceilings are wider or longer than that. Hide those seams by placing the beams right on top of them.

sandind thin plywood with Ryobi cordless sander
Once the design is in place and your ceiling marks are done, it's time to give it a go.
Start by giving all your planks a good sanding. Those edges are full of splinters, but they're also fragile, go easy on them. I used 120 grid sandpaper to smooth them all out.

Loctate adhesive for attaching plywood to ceiling
Apply adhesive to the back of each plank and start the installation. Make sure the first plank is level, and keep on checking that level line while installing the boards.
thin plywood or underlayment ceiling installation
You need a helping hand for this part of the project, it's difficult to do this all by yourself, those planks are long and flimsy.
attaching thin plywood to ceiling with liquid nails and by driving nails with Ryobi pneumatic nailer..
My spacers were two wooden rulers, 1/8" of space in between planks. The installation continued, adding the adhesive to the back of each plank, and setting them in place with two 1¼" brad nails driven along those ceiling joist lines.
diy planked ceiling with flat coffers
The planks were marked to go around the lighting fixture, then, they were cut out with a jigsaw.
rustic plywood ceiling installation in dining room with big orbital chandelier
This is the look of the room with all the planks already in place. The arrow is pointing at the seam that later on will be covered by one of the beams.
rustic wood and white coffered ceiling installation
The next step is to add the 1 x 4 material all around the room. I used scrap pieces of 1 x 2 as temporary spacers, why waste material that the crown molding is going to cover. The spacers bring those 1 x 4 outside the crown.

Liquid-Nails adhesive was generously applied to these 1 x 4 boards before bringing them to the ceiling.
dining room with two ladders, big sphere chandelier and plank ceiling
Installing the long 1 x 6 beams was again a two-person job. The adhesive was again generously applied to these boards.
Ryobi pneumatic nailer used by Cristina Garay to drive nails to beams on ceiling
I used my angled nailer to drive 15 gauge, 2½" brad nails to secure the beams to the joists on the ceiling.
Cristina Garay using Ryobi miter saw to cut crown molding
Crown molding was the next step. All cuts were done with the miter saw, and then they were fine-tuned, especially those inside angles, using the Dremel.
how to install a coffered ceiling.
The angled nailer was again, the perfect tool for installing the crown.

As I said at the beginning, my plan was to paint all those planks, but the more I looked at my two-tone ceiling, the more I loved the rustic look. So, I decided to leave it just like that. I might paint it in the future.
rustic wooden tone and white ceiling
Though, all those little gaps were driving me nuts.
Dremel used to fine tune miter cuts

Just a few days ago, the small molding was added. I used a simple miter box and a regular saw to make all those 45-degree angles, the day was too cold to go outside to use the miter saw. :)

Rustic ceiling installation - little molding detail
And, as they say... It's all in the little details!
wooden tone and white coffered ceiling installation

The final task is to cover all the nail holes with the painter's putty, run caulk all down the seams, and paint all those areas.

Dining room - Office with coffered ceiling - a DIY project

Needles to say, I'm delighted at how my new dining room, oh well, my office, looks now! :)

I think this is something you can totally do if you have the proper tools.

For all the other projects done in this room check these out:
dining room built-in

Dining room bench in between built-ins

Office and craft supplies organization

*Ryobi Tools were given to me to try out, 
I love them so much so that they are the tools I use for my everyday projects. 
All stated opinions are my own.*
Affiliate links were added for your convenience.

*This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Holy smokes, Cristina, this is GORGEOUS! I love the trim work. Thank you for all the details and photos. You did a GREAT job creating a remarkable ceiling. Wow! I bet your arms are wanting an Epsom salts soak.
    Thanks also for having the giveaway... oh the things I would like to do! :) The upgraded charger is stellar! Ryobi is fabulous!
    ~ Christina in FL

    1. Thanks Christina! Surprisingly, this project wasn't that bad on my arms or neck, no pain at all, but I take the Epsom salts soak any day. :D

  2. You are magnificent!! The ceiling is gorgeous and your tutorial makes it sound so doable!!! Absolutely beautiful, so inspired by you and your projects!!!!

    1. Lisa, You're so sweet, thanks! It's very doable. The only tricky part might be the crown corners for someone who hasn't deal with that yet.

  3. LOVE! My ceilings are all the typical flat white....with a bad neck I am lucky to get them painted! I want to repaint my laundry room...the only thing stopping me is knowing it is time to paint the ceiling in a 6x6 room. But who knows what I might do when I am feeling good and happen to get a bug! Thanks for the tutorial and inspiration! Really beautiful!

  4. Oh my word, this is totally amazing. I love it.

  5. Wow, what a project! I'm in awe...

  6. This is amazing! I'm planning to make a bench out of 2x6s for my daughters' play room soon. Not sure I'm ready to tackle ceilings!

  7. We are ready to re-do our bathroom and hallway that leads up to the bathroom, and the living room floor. This would be super helpful! Thank you!

  8. Looks fabulous. Love that you left it rustic. I'd like to fancify my ceilings too!

  9. Looks fabulous. Love that you left it rustic. I'd like to fancify my ceilings too!

  10. I am a paint-everything-white girl, but I absolutely love the wood look on your ceiling. It looks so warm and rustic yet completely finished. Thanks so much for posting this great tutorial. I keep dreaming of planked walls in my bathroom and board and batten in my den. These tools would be perfect for both.

  11. I absolutely love that look. You did a great job. I'm getting ready to strip down/restore a Lane cedar chest that I picked up cheap at auction that was painted then covered with a fur fabric via glue. Yep, you heard me right. :)

  12. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I will be doing my ceilings and I want this look. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Wow! This is a fabulous look. Great job.

  14. Love this look, and how easy your tutorial makes it!

  15. This is amazing! I want to find a place in my house to do it.

  16. I am awe of your talent! Great tutorial but I think I'd end up in the hospital!

  17. Just amazing, Cristina... you sure can do anything and everything, and do it all well!

  18. What a fabulous ceiling! A classic, and classy, look, indeed! I am teaching myself to do more with power tools, but I have a LONG ways to go when I compare what I can do with what YOU accomplish!

  19. Cristina, keeping this post in my "favorites". I really appreciate your detailed steps in doing this. Another inspiration you have given me. Prehaps this summer project for dinning room. But for now your living room wall inspired me to add molding to my kitchen soffits next week.
    Cynthia Schuster - Parker, CO

  20. You are the queen of trim! LOL. I still haven't mastered crown moulding, despite the great instruction. This is really great!

  21. Oh my word; it looks fabulous! I'd love to do something like this but our ceilings are too open concept and have funky angles along the roof line. One project these tools would really come in handy with is we need to get building some bookshelves in our home office now that my husband is working from home. He really needs something to help organize and corral all of his supplies so the tools would certainly make the job so much easier.

  22. In addition to updating the flooring on my first floor, I plan to update the guest half-bath and complete the update on my master bathroom.

    Your ceiling looks fantastic! My house is post and beam with the second-floor pine floors visible as the ceiling on the first floor. Your dining room reminds me of how my ceilings look. Seeing your crown molding and finish trim gives me ideas for my ceilings.


  23. Wow! I'm very impressed. Your a true professional, and your tutorial was great. Working overhead is no small undertaking, but you made it sound doable. Enjoy!

  24. This looks amazing! I'm obsessed with the two-tone look as well, although I am a sucker for all white too...I think it would be beautiful either way!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

  25. I am so ready to tackle our kitchen! I have been putting it off for way too long already. Thank you so much for the giveaway and inspiration. :)

  26. Wow, it looked good before it was finished (with all the Christmas decor) but now it looks even better. I can see how it would take a while with all the little details and small pieces of trim. I must admit that a nailer without a compressor would be nice, compressors are so loud and bulky. Keep on inspiring us!
    Looking forwards to the reveal of "the next door" room....

  27. We were able to build our BATHroom this summer/fall. It has a nice deep bathtub with jets and I love it! But, now we need a good step to make it easier to get in and out of for my disabled son. I am saving and picking out the plans to make it an extra special BATHroom. :)

  28. Girl! You are so crazy amazing! Thanks for dropping by my blog today because when this post first went live, I was unable to access your website (it was probably blowing' up the internet with hits!, understandably so). Anyway, I wanted to come back and check this out....
    You are so detailed-oriented, which I love, and have done such an outstanding job on this. Just one of your many wonderful projects in your home. Ryobi was certainly smart to partner with you to promote their tools, and I hope it's as rewarding to you as it will be to them. You are very good at providing instruction also, Cristina. Great job!

  29. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this at Monday Social. You did an amazing job. I will be featuring your ceiling this Sunday night.

  30. I Love this project and am definitely putting on our to do list.

  31. Great project and I love all your projects.

  32. WOW! This is absolutely breathtaking. I cannot imagine how much work this must have been, but it was totally worth it. I JUST finished my first "building" project with Ryobi tools (LOVE THEM), and now I'm ready to build some radiator covers for the giant radiators in my living room. These tools would definitely come in handy! Thanks for the chance to win. :-)

  33. This is gorgeous!!! I am pinning it! I love it two colored - it plays well with the floor!

  34. Wow, what a stunning project and a great giveaway!

  35. My husband and I want to turn our spare room into a playroom for our grandkids.

  36. Absolutely fabulous! You are very talented and creative!

  37. rebuilding a fence this weekend cause the wind blew it down

  38. You are so talented and I love your detailed tutorials! In fact I used your kitchen cabinet tutorial for my own :-))

  39. I am ready to embark on my spring cleaning of the house.

  40. You have done great job. I love to use pantry cabinet

  41. I love your ceiling! Excellent job! Maybe I can do this in one of my bedrooms? You are an inspiration. Thank you.

    1. Thanks so much Kristy, it's so good to hear that! I think this would be a nice ceiling treatment for a bedroom.

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