I am so happy we finally did this project! Simple DIY ceiling box beams totally transformed the look of our bedroom. It was one of my plans for our recent master bedroom makeover, but I’ve been wanting to do them for years. I have to admit I did a lot of overthinking and agonized over the size, shape, and how I was going to put them together. But, ultimately I decided not to overcomplicate the project. (post contains affiliate links, see disclosure)
We ended up needing 26 boards but it depends on how large your room is. Even though our room measures 12 feet in width, I decided to use 8-foot boards instead of 12. Because I was going to be working on a lot of this project by myself, there was no way I could hold up a 12 ft board to nail in.
These beams are called box beams because that is exactly what you are creating, a simple box. They are hollow on the inside, unlike traditional beams so they’re not heavy. There is also no extra measuring, cutting, or math. This really helped me, because I already had a lot of math to figure out with the spacing of the beams. We had a ceiling fan, vents, and fire sprinklers to work around. I wanted them evenly spaced, but also had to avoid all these obstacles.
- 1x4x8 common boards
- sander, for a more rustic look and to remove any markings on the wood
- 80 grit sanding disc, I love this set
- a stain of choice, I used my favorite stain
- stud finder
- miter saw
- 2-inch wood screws
- impact drill
- brad nailer
- 2-inch nails
- Minwax stain pen
- Use a stud finder to find ceiling joists and mark. Mine were about 24 inches apart. Luckily, I have pictures of our house being built and know exactly where they are. A quick trip into the attic will also help with this.
- Using the wood screws, secure the first boards to the ceiling. Don’t worry about staining these, they won’t be seen.
- Sand and stain all remaining boards on both sides. At first, I wasn’t sure about doing this. But as the project progressed, I was flipping the boards (some were warped) to see what side fit best. So staining both sides was an extra step in the beginning but helped a lot in the end.
- Nail boards to the sides of each ceiling board to start forming the box.
- Place the final board in between the side boards and nail into place.
I used miter joints (cut at 45 degrees) to hide the seams of where each board met. Because of this, you could see the unfinished board from the cut. So I used a stain pen to help cover it up. In the photo above the seams are very noticeable. And in the picture below, I stained them with the pen, blending in with the rustic edges of the wood. Ps, the boards are not curved or warped, the curve is just from the lens of my camera.
The two ceiling box beams in the middle of the room were easy and straightforward. However, the ones against the walls were a little more difficult. There are many tutorials out there in the blogging world, but @angelarosehome on Instagram and her bathroom project was a big help for this part.
First I nailed the back board (the one against the wall) and bottom board together creating the shape of an L. Then, screwed it to the studs in the wall. Doing it this way ensured a tight joint with those two boards. Otherwise, the bottom board cannot be nailed on that side (the wall is in the way).
Then, I installed the ceiling board, using an extender on my drill and the screws slightly angled. If I was using larger boards, this would have been easier but either way, it worked just fine. The beam is now a C shape and I nailed on the last board to complete the box. I did the exact same steps on the other side of the room, just in the opposite direction.
Our ceilings are nine feet tall, and the 1×4’s ended up being a perfect size. Not too big to make the room feel short, and not too small to feel out of place. Even though this was a big project, I would do DIY ceiling box beams in our home again. I just love the warmth and character they add to our builder-grade house!