Bring Back that Loving Ceiling; Add Character to an Old Ceiling

Hide flaking paint, add character and enjoy a new ceiling with this easy update. Also, learn from our experience trying a weathered vs painted look.

We’re putting the finishing touches on our latest project… Before the reveal, we wanted to share a piece of it with you. Painting on walls in the room was done before we moved into the house. However, the ceiling still needed some love. We had always planned to cover the peeling ceiling, we just couldn’t access it during the rest of the renovations because the appliances were stored in this space. Then, it just kept getting put off once we moved in – who looks at ceilings, right?

Hide flaking paint, add character and enjoy a new ceiling with this easy update. Also, learn from our experience trying a weathered vs painted look.
Old, peeling ceiling

During the demolition of the basement area, we saved some tongue and groove from a wall with the intention of using it to cover the ceiling. We thought we had enough material saved… Nope! We were short so headed off to the store! We bought tongue and groove ship-lap which is usually used for wainscoting. Below you can see it acclimating to the space. It’s light and will give the space some visual interest.

Make an old ceiling new with this easy treatment. Not sure if you prefer a weathered or painted look – see examples to help you decide.
Pine tongue and groove ship-lap acclimating to the space

Originally, we thought we would just paint the tongue and groove the same white as the kitchen ceiling. We should have stuck with the original plan! Instead we decided to white wash it. This may have worked out if I didn’t attempt to bring out the grain by using such a dark wood stain before whitewashing. Although, this also would be a needed step if we used a mixture of scrap wood or were mixing new and old wood. In either case, the stain would bring the tone of the different pieces closer together (see this project and tutorial by Maison de Pax).

Make an old ceiling new with this easy treatment. Not sure if you prefer a weathered or painted look – see examples to help you decide.
Stained boards
We learned 2 valuable lessons with this project:
1. Whitewash over dark stain = weathered grey.

This is a beautiful result but not quite what we wanted for the space. Weathered wood is blue in its undertone. Whereas we wanted a fresh, clean and warm feel.

Hide flaking paint, add character and enjoy a new ceiling with this easy update. Also, learn from our experience trying a weathered vs painted look.
Whitewash done by 2 people
2. For consistent results, only 1 person should apply a technique-sensitive wash.

For bigger projects, it may not be feasible time wise for only one person to work on the staining and or whitewashing. In that case, we highly recommend working together on a few sections to start! I had started on the whitewashing and had to switch off with Sean so I could feed Baby. After seeing the result, Sean used his heavier technique to layer more whitewash on the darker boards and even everything out.

On the flip side, you may like the look of different toned boards. We decided if we had to stagger the boards we would have used mixed the different boards (and probably would have really mixed it up like these walls from The Kelly Homestead or Life, Crafts & Whatever). For the ceiling we wanted a more uniform look; especially because it’s small and we were able to do a full run of board across it.

Here’s what we initially installed:
Make an old ceiling new with this easy treatment. Not sure if you prefer a weathered or painted look – see examples to help you decide.
Weathered boards being installed
Make an old ceiling new with this easy treatment. Not sure if you prefer a weathered or painted look – see examples to help you decide.
Weathered tongue and groove installed

Although we loved the look, the grey/blue undertone was too cold. It could have worked colour wise as we have some blue in the backsplash, tile and flooring. In the end we decided to paint it. Ironically, we ended up with the original plan; it just took us awhile to get there.

Here’s the final painted tongue and groove ceiling:
Make an old ceiling new with this easy treatment. Not sure if you prefer a weathered or painted look – see examples to help you decide.
Painted tongue and groove (pending some cove trim)

Isn’t it lovely?? It has some character, is warm,  clean and (the best part) it’s done!

Make an old ceiling new with this easy treatment. Not sure if you prefer a weathered or painted look – see examples to help you decide.Make an old ceiling new with this easy treatment. Not sure if you prefer a weathered or painted look – see examples to help you decide.

It was frustrating going through the steps of weathering the boards only to decide we didn’t like it. However, we learned from it so you don’t have to make the same mistake. Plus it’s good to know you can always adapt something if you don’t like it.

What do you think – can you see a difference? should we have left it weathered? Let us know in the comments!

Cheers,

Denise and Sean

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Make an old ceiling new with this easy treatment. Not sure if you prefer a weathered or painted look – see examples to help you decide.

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