Easy How to DIY a Wood Planked Ceiling

July 19, 2023

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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So, I had this eyesore in my bedroom called a tray ceiling. Maybe I’m stepping on some toes. Ugh! Sorry! But I am not a fan. I’ve done everything in my power to not draw attention to it.

When I decided to do a complete makeover on our master bedroom, my initial thought was to get rid of the tray ceiling altogether. But, after mulling over it for a while, I took a completely different approach. Now, instead of drawing the eye away from the ceiling, it has become THE focal point of the room! And I LOVE it!!

My Soloution: I decided to DIY a wood planked ceiling. What a difference this easy technique has made. What a statement!

Easy How to DIY a Wood Planked Ceiling

Before you attach your first plank, you have a couple decisions to make…

  • Which way do you want your carsiding boards to run? I chose for mine to run in the same direction as my flooring. I also knew I wanted my boards to run parallel with the longer length of the room. This makes the room feel bigger.
  • Which side of the carsiding do you want to use? There’s a smooth side of the board and a groove side. The grooved side will give more of a groove planks look. Making the planks appear to be much skinnier. Whereas, the smooth side will give a wider planked look. About 6 inches for each plank. I chose to go with the grooved side of the boards.
  • What length of boards do you want to use? Choosing to make it seamless and therefore taking it the entire length of the ceiling is a great look, however, much easier if you have extra hands. Those boards are heavy and awkward. For my project, I knew I would be adding beams, so I wasn’t concerned with the seams.

But hold up, we’re not ready to attach the carsiding just yet. First find your studs, if you’re planning on adding beams. You won’t be able to find them once all of your carsiding is up, so now is the time to mark the studs using painter’s tape or a pencil on the WALL–not the ceiling! Remember, you’re covering that up. 🙂 To find the studs, simply use a stud finder.

If you need to know which way your ceiling joists are running, there’s an easy way to find out. Check the joists in an unfinished part of your basement or your attic. Most of the time, floor joist/ceiling joists run the same direction throughout the entire house.


A DIY wood plank ceiling is a great way to cover up dated or unsightly ceilings. Want to get rid of popcorn ceilings, but don’t want the mess? Want to give a boring drywall ceiling a little more pizazz? By just adding some wooden boards, you can easily create a whole new ceiling. One of the easiest, big impact, DIY projects you’ll ever do.

Materials needed for DIY wood planked ceiling

Tools needed:

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Where to start your DIY wood planked ceiling

Now you’re ready to actually attach the carsiding. The center of the ceiling is the best starting point. For the first row, you’ll want to:

  • Find the center of the ceiling.
  • Mark the center on both ends.
  • Find the center of your board and mark on both ends.
  • Line up one side of the center of your board to one of the marks you made for the center of your ceiling.  Attach this end of your first board, using a nail gun….

car siding on ceiling

Next step, move down to the other end of the board. Line it up with the other marked center of the ceiling. Once again, attach with your nail gun. Drive nails every 12 inches in your first board, til you get to the end. For the next row, you’ll secure the tongue into the groove.

Working your way across the ceiling, securing the tongue into the groove. Use a mallet to gently tap the boards together. This avoids damage to your carsiding. You’ll want to use a nail gun to fasten your boards to the ceiling.

Tip:  Drive your nails in at an angle. This provides a firmer grip.

Girl standing on ladder diying a wood ceiling

Now that you’ve gotten one side of the ceiling done, chances are good that the last board will not fit perfectly. You can do one of two things:

  • a.) measure the width of the board you need and rip it using a table saw, circular saw or jigsaw. OR
  • b.) attach trim pieces (1×2 or 1×4) around the border of your ceiling.

I took the easy route and went with option b. 🙂 We’ll add these trim pieces a little later on.

Once you’ve come to the end of the ceiling, you’re ready to move over to the other side of the center board. And work your way to the other end of the ceiling. Until you have the whole ceiling completed…

planked ceiling using carsiding

Add the trim

You’ll notice my boards do not meet in the middle perfectly. Originally, I thought I would be adding a beam there, so it wouldn’t really matter. However, this plan changed halfway through the project, as is the case with most DIY ventures.

So, I had to come up with a different plan for this spacing. I ended up using the same width of trim pieces I used for the perimeter of the tray ceiling and ran that trim piece down the center of the ceiling. It turned out very well and made this mistake go away. 🙂

Now you see it….

Planked ceiling with a crease where the boards meet

Now you don’t…

Carsiding with trim going down the middle

With the same color paint as the carsiding, this trim piece will blend right in and won’t stand out at all.

Cut the rest of your trim to fit. Making a perimeter around my planked ceiling, I attached 1×4 pinewood boards. This worked great to cover up any imperfections. If you want a more traditional look, crown molding would be a great choice!

That’s it! So simple! Such an easy DIY project!

Fill in the nail holes, add paint and you have a beautiful planked statement ceiling….

black planked ceiling with stained faux beams

Now that the carsiding is finished, we’re ready for the beams. Next week, I’ll be sharing how to build beams and attach them to the ceiling.

UPDATE: Here’s the post to add the beams!

It’s always so rewarding to look at the before and after pictures of any project you’ve poured your time and energy into. Here’s a quick look…


messy master bedroom before makeover


DIY a wood planked ceiling in a master bedroom with large windows; king size platform bed and large mirror

Hard to believe it’s the same room. What a rewarding project!

A few more questions to make it even more clear

How do you attach the boards around the light fixtures?

The easiest way to do this is by removing the light fixture. Take the wood slats almost to the wiring for your light. Giving a 2 inch clearance all the way around is a good distance. Once you’re ready to attach your new light (or reattach your old one), all of these board edges will be covered up.

What are some alternative materials to wood for a planked ceiling?

Ripping a sheet of plywood to the width of boards you prefer, is a great cost-effective way to plank your ceiling. Much cheaper than carsiding but still providing that faux shiplap look. Attach the boards with a nail gun. Leaving a small gap in between each board. With this method, you can knock out an entire ceiling for a lot less money than real wood planks.

Another option is using reclaimed wood planks. This is a great choice if you’re looking for a more rustic look, and it’s often more affordable than using new wood.

DIY a wood planked ceiling in a master bedroom with a fireplace

Can you install a wood planked ceiling in a bathroom or other humid area?

Installing a wood planked ceiling in a bathroom or other humid area can be a bit more challenging than in other parts of the home. The high moisture levels in these areas can cause the wood to expand and contract, which can lead to warping or cracking over time.

To prevent this, it’s important to choose a type of wood that is well-suited to humid environments, such as cedar or redwood. These types of wood are naturally resistant to moisture and decay, and they can hold up well in humid areas.

Where did you get your light fixture?

Because I get asked this a lot, haha! The light pendant is from World Market. I don’t believe they have it anymore. But here’s one that is similar…Woven Basket Light Fixture

Ideas of where to DIY a wood planked ceiling

A wood planked ceiling treatment looks good in any room. You might want to consider adding it to your:

  • dining room
  • laundry room
  • basement ceiling
  • great room
  • master bathroom

Anywhere you want to create a visual impact or cover up an old ceiling, is a great place to DIY a wood planked ceiling.

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

Be sure to Pin This Post to your Pinterest Board for later…


Until next time,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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Room Makeovers:

Easy How to Build a Modern Accent Wall

How to Make a Tray Ceiling a Beautiful Focal Point

Easy How to Build a Bench Seat with Lockers









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  1. Sk

    Gorgeous!! What finish black paint did you use for it – satin, semi gloss, flat, etc?

    • Nicole Nigg

      Thank you! I used Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black in a Satin sheen.
      Have a great day!

  2. Sk

    And where is the ceiling light from?



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