Beadboard was one of the magic ingredients Alix Adams used to create an adorable nursery for her soon-to-be-arriving baby girl Charlotte. Alix writes the DIY and craft blog A Ruffled Life. She is such a dedicated DIYer that she installed the beadboard in question when she was approximately seven months pregnant. But that just goes to show that this is definitely a very doable project for anyone who’s keen to take it on.
Here’s Alix’s tutorial showing how to install beadboard wainscoting… and create an adorable baby’s room, too.
Incorporating woodwork into your home sometimes seems like an overwhelming or difficult task. The first time I stared at a pile of beadboard stacked in my garage I thought to myself, what have I gotten myself into? But like many house projects, after measuring twice and making a couple of careful cuts, you become more comfortable channeling that inner carpenter. Installing beadboard details throughout your home is easier than you think! Come on, I will show you how to install beadboard wainscoting, with a few tips and tricks I learned along the way…
Tools and Supplies
- Paint for top half of walls (optional)
- Paint for ceiling (optional)
- Paint to use on the beadboard (I chose white paint)
- Beadboard – enough to cover the desired wall areas
- Painter’s putty and caulk for touch ups
- Trim – enough to frame windows and to install on the top edge of the beadboard
- Crown moulding (optional)
- Sand paper in a fine grain
- Paint rollers and paint brushes
- Tape measure and pencil
- Drill with ¼ in. drill bit
- Chop saw
- Table saw
- Nail gun
Before we went to install the beadboard there was some prep work that needed to be done. The walls were a beige brown, and that just wouldn’t do for my little chica. After several trips to The Home Depot paint counter we settled on a lovely peachy-pink color of paint (BEHR color: Friendship).
The first item of prep work was to paint the top half of the walls peachy-pink (just the top half because the bottom half we were going to cover in beadboard). We also painted the ceiling solid white. Both the ceiling and walls required three coats of paint to fully cover that lovely brown-beige.
The second prep work item to tackle was framing the window in trim and installing crown molding. These are completely optional, but they do add some extra detail to the overall impact of the room.
Now, let’s get to it…
Step 1 – Measure once, twice, thrice and then cut.
Let’s kick off this beadboard project with a healthy dose of measuring.
To begin, measure the wall areas that you want to install beadboard on. Then determine how many pieces of beadboard you will need to cover that space. You will most likely need to cut some pieces of beadboard to fit your area. This is where the table saw comes in.
Once the beadboard is cut to fit, it is time to account for plug sockets and light switches. You will need to cut out holes for all plug sockets and light switches that will be in the beadboard area.
To do this, remove all plastic covers from plug sockets and light switches, measure where they are on the wall, and then transfer those measurements onto your beadboard. These measurements should be at least ¼ in. narrower than the plastic cover that goes over the plug sockets and light switches so that once the beadboard is installed the lights/plugs will sit on top of the beadboard edges (and wont sink into the wall when you push on them).
Step 2 – Time to cut!
Now that you have the “cut” areas measured out on the beadboard designating where plug sockets and light switches will go, I’m going to teach you some tricks on how to cut holes in beadboard.
First, using a ¼ in. drill bit, drill a hole in all four corners of where the plug sockets and light switches will fit through. Next, insert a jig saw and cut along your measured lines (from corner to corner). Once all holes are cut you are good to install the beadboard on your wall. Carefully feed any plug sockets and light switches through the holes you cut, making sure that they rest flush with the beadboard.
Step 3 – Break out the nail gun, it’s party time.
To secure all the beadboard to the wall, we used a nail gun (super affordable tool, BTW), making sure to place nails where studs were located. One nail at the top, middle, and bottom of the beadboard in spots where there were studs ensured that the beadboard was going nowhere.
At this point you could also install trim along the top edge of the beadboard. Trimming out the spot where beadboard meets wall really finishes off the look. For the trim, measure all top edges of beadboard, cut it to size, and then nail in the trim where studs are located.
Step 4 – Touch-up time.
Let me just say, caulk and putty are like the magical fairy wand of carpentry…they make everything all better.
Seriously though, I can’t emphasize enough how much of a difference some caulk work can make. Let me teach you the caulk/putty ways.
When you first install all the trim and beadboard you will notice some areas where there are gaps or nail holes. Use caulk and a caulk gun to fill the gap areas. It is difficult to sand caulk down, so make sure that the caulk is smooth before it dries (using your finger to smooth it out works like a charm).
To cover up any nail holes use putty (and a kitchen butter knife–I swear to you nothing works better) to fill in the hole. The putty should be mounding up over the hole and you can go back once it dries and sand it down flush with your wood surface.
Step 5 – Paint all surfaces of your beadboard and trim.
While the trim and beadboard we bought was already primed in white paint, we noticed lots of marks left from installation, so we added two coats of white paint to all the beadboard and trim.
A helpful tip when painting is to use a good hand paintbrush to paint smaller areas (e.g. around a window) and edges that can’t be reached by a roller (e.g. corners and around lights or plugs). It is also helpful to use painter’s tape to tape off any areas that you do not want painted, like where trim meets the wall.
Step 6 – Funnest step ever…remove all painter’s tape!
Make sure the paint is good and dry before you rip off the tape.
Step 7 – Screw in all plastic light covers and plug covers.
You did it! I’m so proud of you. We should get some lemonade to celebrate don’t you think?
I really am so please with how this little girl’s room turned out. The beadboard and trim make all the difference. As a little reward for my hard work I splurged on a chandelier for the room (also bought at the Home Depot) and I think it is the exclamation point at the end of a successful project!
See more of this adorable baby’s room on Alix’s blog.
Alix Adams has always been a maker-doer. She says that she would literally lose her mind if she didn’t create things. On her blog The Ruffled Life, Alix writes about crafts, entertaining, raising a family and life in general. She lives with her husband and two children near Salt Lake City.
We have a lot more DIY projects here on The Home Depot blog. Check them out!