My Kitchen Ceiling Has Issues (and I Need Your Input…PLEASE!!)

Last Updated on December 28, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

So my kitchen ceiling has issues. I could bore you with all of the details of just why it looks like this (new drywall butted up against almost-30-year-old drywall with slightly different thicknesses, air conditioner leak, etc.) but the bottom line is that my kitchen ceiling looks like this…

The leak really made it look so much worse, but the fact is, it never looked good where the old and new drywall met because there was about an 1/8″ (or more) difference in thickness. And since I’m not a professional drywaller, I could just never get it looking good. There are other places as well, but those are the main two.

So I’ve been dragging my feet on installing the moulding at the top of the cabinets because I really need to figure this ceiling thing out. I know that even if I repair it (which I am going to do…I think…maybe), it’s still not going to loook good, and it’s just going to drive me crazy.

So I’ve been brainstorming ideas, and that’s when I remembered this…

Yes, it’s Miss Mustard Seed’s guest bedroom!! Those walls are fantastic, and she did them with very thin hardboard found at Home Depot, nailed to the wall and painted, like this…

If you haven’t seen this before and after, you simply must go to Miss Mustard Seed’s blog and check it out.

So I’m wondering how that would look on my ceiling.

Kevin and Layla over at The Lettered Cottage have something similar in many rooms of their home. Of course, theirs is original to the house, and they had to remove their drywall to expose the pretty wood ceiling.

My one hesitation is this…in all of the photos I’ve looked at this weekend of ceilings done in a similar manner, they all utilize really long boards that go from one wall to another, so that you don’t see the end of one board butted up against another.

But if I do this on my ceiling, I’d use the most inexpensive materials possible, and that means that really super long boards that go from one wall to the other wouldn’t be in the budget.

So what do you think? How do you think Miss Mustard Seed’s wall treatment would look on my ceiling? And since some ends would be butted up against each other, would it look strange? Or would it look just as nice on a ceiling as it does on a wall?

I have to get this figured out soon so I can get the moulding up around the cabinets. It’s driving me crazy not having that finished!!!

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Green Gracie Home
    January 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I can't remember the blog, but it has been going around – they ripped plywood into strips and did a wood floor and was gorgeous…maybe that would fit both bills, inexpensive and awesome looking?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Shannon G.
    January 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Behr sand paint might be a nice choice. We used it this past weekend on our kitchen ceiling. We didn't use the looped roller that they recommend because we didn't want it to look remotely like a popcorn ceiling. We used large regular paint brushes and made linear lines for something different. It was easy to apply – although messy so you'll need drop cloths. Here's a link to the product we used. I imagine you could experiment on a piece of wood or something to get an idea of what pattern you want to end up with. http://www.behr.com/dsm-ext/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=e630e0bd2039a110VgnVCM1000006b0910acRCRD&vgnextchannel=18c9bd25794c9110VgnVCM1000006b0910acRCRD&vgnextfmt=default#channel=PROJECT_CENTER;vgnextoid=e630e0bd2039a110VgnVCM1000006b0910acRCRD;view=17

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Our living room ceiling at Lake Devernia was wood and I loved it! And each piece of wood did not go from one side of the room to the other. The only problem would be making sure the pieces of wood ended where you had something besides sheetrock to secure it to, but that ought to be easy enough to do. ~Cathy

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    After having sat here for several minutes envisioning this short plank look on your ceiling, I think you should go for it. I think it would look rustic and very cool. My beadboard bedroom ceiling has seams, and it doesn't bother me at all. DO IT!! Then let us all see the result 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Go ahead and plank the ceiling! I think it will look beautiful!! Much better than sheetrock. I hate the stuff.
    Hope you decide to do the planks. I can't wait to see how it turns out!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I would be afraid that the uneven surface would cause problems with the boards being even.

    I've been looking at the metal finishes like they use for back splashes.
    I think you could choose a less expensive one than you get when you shop for a back splash.
    Maybe even something old or "rustic" and then repainted. I don't have an example photo just now, but if I find one I will let you know.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I think the wood would look great – adds a lot of character.

    If you still have reservations about it, have you considered just an orange peel texturing, or some type of heavier texture that could mask the unevenness? You could do it yourself, or have a professional just spray the ceiling, then paint yourself to save some $$$. Keep us posted on what you decide to do!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I found a link to a site that has metal for ceilings.

    some of the decorative ones can get expensive, but I think a brushed one or some less expensive alternative would work very well.

    All sites say if you are installing this yourself – "be careful" the edges are very sharp.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    OOPS, here is the link


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Totally different look, but have you thought of using the faux tin? I used this for a backsplash and it looked great and wasn't pricey at all.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I think the planking would look great. Im facing the same thing in my 60+ year old kitchen. Ceilings get little cracks over and over again. Also thinking about that textured wallpaper that looks like the tin ceiling pattern. I think it would cost less than the wood but not sure what installation would cost me.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim-A Creative Spirit
    January 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Hey Kristi, I think the boards butted up against each other would be fine. Love the paint treatment on the walls but you may wanna just paint them in a gloss white to reflect light back down since your kitchen is on the smaller side!!!! Can't wait to see what you do.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 25, 2011 at 1:17 am

    I think the boards will look great. I don't think the boards butting up will look bad at all, just stagger them. As for using textured wallpaper…what a pain to ever remove from a ceiling! Did it – never again! I think it will add a lot of character.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected]
    January 25, 2011 at 2:32 am

    Armstrong makes tongue and groove ceiling tiles that look like old tin ceilings. You can get them in white or metal colors. I did that in my kitchen and in my studio and faux painted them in copper (closest metal to orange LOL) They would also look great just painted. You could also do bead board.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 25, 2011 at 4:25 am

    I have ugly stippled ceilings and have been dreaming of tongue and groove ceilings. I had the same concern, about seams. From what I've read, instead of simply butting them end to end, cut the ends at a mitered angle, helps to minimize the look of the seams.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    My Cottage Charm
    January 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Hey girl! Thought I'd send you the link to my kitchen re-do..thought you might like to see my backsplash and see if that kind of thing might be something you could use for your ceiling.
    It's VERY light weight and can be glued up (maybe put in some very little nails until the glue sets) It only cost a little over a hundred dollars to do my whole backsplash..not sure how pricey the faux stuff for the ceiling is though, but the backsplash worked great!

    The only reservations I would have with the wood is hitting a stud/joist every time. It would never hold in just drywall. I guess if you could figure out where your joists were and measured it that way, you could do it.
    Either way..good luck! 🙂


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi's mom
    January 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I think you should call Jerry S. and have him smooth it out first, no matter what finished look you want. He did a good job on our garage ceiling where it was so uneven. Wood on a smooth ceiling can be pretty, but I have seen uneven ceilings with wood that looked terrible. I think the lines of the wood just emphasized the differences and made it look like some of the wood was coming lose. At least it did in what I saw.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Plumber Plano Tx
    January 26, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Personally I think that your ceiling will turn out fantastic! My friends wife just did their kitchen ceiling very similar to that and it gave such a unique and fun detail to the room. It made the whole kitchen feel very rustic and cozy. A lot of people focus on their walls and floors and forget about the ceiling. Yes, it may be a little more "back breaking" if the surface is slightly uneven but it's worth the work and extra cash to get a beautiful ceiling that will last a long time. Good luck!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 26, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    I really like the 'old subway sign' look. I have painted a few, but I hadn't thought of the scrapbook letters. I just hand lettered it myself and it took forever.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 30, 2011 at 7:11 am

    I think the boards would look fabulous. It would add so much character to the room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 10, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I really like the 'old subway sign' look. I have painted a few, but I hadn't thought of the scrapbook letters. I just hand lettered it myself and it took forever.