How to Update a Ceiling with Wainscoting

Enhance a builder-grade ceiling by creating a cottage look with wainscoting.

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Install Wainscoting

Have a partner assist by standing on ladder to hold each sheet of wainscoting up and in place. Attach wainscoting to furring strips by drilling drywall screws into recessed grooves on left and right edge of each sheet.

Add Decorative Trim

Use drill and drywall screws to attach 1 X 2 pine or MDF trim to furring strips along center and perimeter of ceiling. Fill holes from drywall screws with spackle and spackle knife, then lightly sand with sanding block.

Paint the Wainscoting

Protect floors with drop cloth. Standing on ladder, use a caulk gun to fill any gaps between trim and sheets of wainscoting. After filling paint pan with flat latex paint, attach extender pole to roller handle and apply paint to wainscoting with roller. Touch up any hard-to-reach grooves with a one-inch paint brush.

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