DIY Plank Ceiling in a Beautiful White Kitchen Renovation

I love to see a kitchen become a space that the home owner LOVES! We have Kristi here today to share her beautiful white kitchen renovation — plus how to install a DIY plank ceiling for the full white-but-not-boring effect! Just look at this transformation:

Beautiful white kitchen renovation to replace white cabinets and add subway tile and a DIY plank ceiling Chatfield Court on @Remodelaholic

It’s all beautiful but I love the character that a great ceiling adds to a room! Read below for the details from Kristi, and start thinking about your CEILINGS with these other ideas, too:
How painting a pattern on the ceiling can change the whole feel of the room, by The Sweetest Digs featured on @Remodelaholic
stenciled entryway ceiling
beautiful diagonal planked shiplap ceiling design via Remodelaholic
diagonal planked shiplap ceiling design
pallet wood ceiling on Remodelaholic
pallet wood ceiling
DIY stained wood coffered ceiling 1
DIY coffered ceiling

Kitchen Renovation with DIY Tongue and Groove Plank Ceiling
by Kristi from Chatfield Court

Hi there, I’m Kristi from Chatfield Court and I’m so excited to share our kitchen remodel at Remodelaholic. I started Chatfield Court almost 3 years ago to share all of the budget-friendly DIY and home improvement projects that we’ve tackled on our small brick ranch, which is just outside of Chicago, as well as the lessons we’ve learned as we adjusted to living in a smaller space.

Since moving into our house 3 years ago we’ve redone every room and tackled tons of projects, like our DIY platform bed with storage and my fun mason jar lamp as well as helpful tips for living with a small bathroom, but the kitchen remodel was the biggest project on the to do list.

DIY white kitchen remodel for under $3000, Chatfield Court for @Remodelaholic

Our house was a foreclosure and the bank that sold it to us did a few updates to the small galley kitchen before it was put on the market. New red toned wood cabinets were added and, overall it was in decent shape, but it had little room for food prep, the dark cabinets closed in the small space and there wasn’t enough storage. Still, it was functional and we lived with it for 2 years before we started the remodel.

DIY kitchen remodel, dark to white, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

When it was time to finally begin the remodel, we went into it with 4 main goals…to add more storage, to lighten and brighten the space, to stick to a budget and to do all of it ourselves, a complete DIY kitchen remodel.

We literally started at the top by ripping down 2 soffits and, after the walls and ceiling were repaired, we installed tongue and groove planks to the ceiling, one of my favorite additions to our new kitchen.

Tongue and Groove Plank Ceiling


  • 8′ and 12′ pre-primed tongue and groove pine planks
  • latex siliconized caulk
  • pneumatic nail gun
  • 2″ brads
  • 3″ construction screws
  • chop saw
  • table saw
  • coping saw
  • hammer
  • a block of wood
  • tape measure
  • Benjamin Moore White Dove, pearl formula

This project required a bit of prep work before we could start putting up planks. The first thing we had to do was to measure the square footage of the ceiling to see how much wood we needed. Then we located the studs in the ceiling so that we could securely attach the planks to the studs.

DIY plank ceiling, kitchen remodel, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic
Armed with our square footage, we purchased our planks, pre-primed pine tongue and groove in 8 foot and 12-foot lengths, and brought them home to sit in the house for about a week. This allowed them to acclimate to our indoor temps and humidity so there would be minimal expansion and shrinkage.

Plank ceiling DIY, kitchen remodel, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

The planks we bought had two sides to them. One side had a groove/seam down the middle that made it look like two planks in one and the other side was just a plain plank. I decided to go with the plain side, concerned that the seamed side would look busy in our small kitchen.

Plank ceiling options, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

Plank ceiling board options, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

After all of the prep, we were finally able to start installing the planks. The first piece we installed was one of the 12-foot planks. Before attaching it to the ceiling we applied beads of paintable silicone caulk to the back of the plank.

How to install a plank ceiling, silicone caulk for securing plank ceiling, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic
We put the board against the ceiling leaving a 3/8 inch gap along the wall for expansion (which we did around the whole perimeter of the room).

Next, we used a pneumatic nail gun to put a brad at each stud marking on the ceiling to hold the plank up. The brads were put in the tongue of the planks so that you couldn’t see them when the ceiling was complete. On this first board we used 3″ construction screws at each end, where they wouldn’t be seen under the upper cabinets once they were hung, to make sure that it was completely secure.

Plank board ceiling DIY, how to hide the screws, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

The next board to go up was also a 12 footer. We had to marry the tongue of board one to the groove of board two together. To get a tight seam we put a block of wood against the tongue of board 2 and tapped the block with a hammer until the seams were tight. Next, we secured board two to the ceiling the same way we secured board one, with a pneumatic nail gun and brads.

We continued this process for the rest of the ceiling. In some areas, the 12-foot plank was not long enough so we ended up with seams, which were staggered and caulked so that they would blend in.

In the middle of the kitchen ceiling, there is a light box that we had to work around. We used a coping saw to cut the planks around the box so that we would have access to install our new light fixture.

DIY Plank board ceiling, work around a light fixture, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

Once we got to the other side of the room, we had to use the table saw to cut down the width of the planks so that they would fit. We just followed the same process of attaching them to the ceiling.

How to install a tongue and groove plank ceiling, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

There were a few spots near the walls that we ended up not planking. The kitchen cabinets will go all the way to the ceiling so we felt that it wasn’t necessary to have planks in all of these areas, which saved us money and time.

The last thing we did was to paint the planks with BM White Dove in the pearl formula. Trim would have to be added where we left the 3/8 inch gap around the perimeter of the room, but we had to wait until all of the upper cabinets were installed.

Renovate your kitchen with a plank ceiling, complete tutorial, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

After it was all said and done, the whole ceiling took us 3 weekends to complete and cost $320 for the planks, brads and caulk.

This project was the one I questioned the most before we started, I wasn’t sure if it would close in the space or look too busy, but I love how it turned out and I’m so glad that we did it.

If I could give you one tip for installing a tongue and groove ceiling in any room it would be to spend a little extra money to get the pre-primed planks. It will save you so much time and your neck and back will thank you for it.

Stunning small kitchen remodel, DIY plank ceiling, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

The next project was to paint the kitchen cabinets. The dark red tone of the cabinets really closed the kitchen in but, by painting them white, we really brightened up the whole space. This project, by far, made the biggest impact in the room. Ahhh, the power of paint!

Amazing DIY white kitchen make-over, how to install a plank ceiling, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

To solve our storage space issues, we ended up doing several big projects. One was to build a custom cabinet around the refrigerator, which gave us a larger area for storage above the fridge, and the other was the custom cabinets that we built and put on an empty wall. Not only did it give us space to store all of our food, but it also tripled our counter space once we installed the new granite countertops.

Complete kitchen remodel, DIY tongue and groove plank ceiling, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

The subway tile backsplash and new farmhouse sink were two of the items on the wish list from the very beginning of the remodel. I love how the tile covers the one wall completely over the sink. It was a time consuming project, but the results are so worth it.

Transform your kitchen with this tutorial for a plank ceiling, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

Lighting was another big issue in our kitchen. There was only one ceiling light before the remodel but after we added recessed lights and a new, more modern ceiling fixture, we had all the light we needed for the chef, aka the hubs, to whip up a fabulous meal.

Complete kitchen makeover, plank ceiling DIY, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

Painting the walls with Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, 50% formula, was one of the last projects I did and it was the icing on the cake. I love how the color brought the gray veining out of the granite countertops.

Plank ceiling in white kitchen, DIY, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic

The whole remodel took us 418 days from start to finish and cost just under $3000. We did all of the labor ourselves, even the granite countertops, which saved us thousands and gave us the kitchen of our dreams. The feel of the room is completely different from the way it was before and it actually feels bigger, even though we added cabinets but didn’t add square footage. So worth all of the hard work.

Beautiful small kitchen remodel, plank board ceiling DIY, by Chatfield Court featured on @Remodelaholic
What do you think of our remodel? If you want to see more you can check out all of the details and a complete list of our projects, with links, here.

We just said goodbye to our newly remodeled kitchen when we moved from Illinois to North Carolina and bought another fixer upper, which means a lot of new projects. If you want to follow along and check out our progress and projects you can sign up for email updates or connect with me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.

A big thanks to Remodelaholic for letting me share our kitchen remodel with their readers.

Kristi, thank you for sharing your beautiful kitchen with us!

Remodelaholics, run over to Chatfield Court to see more of Kristi’s beautiful home and awesome DIY skills — like her guest room with this great storage bed and those awesome shelves!

Chatfield Court platform bed and weathered shelves

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Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.

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  1. Thanks so much for having me over to share our kitchen remodel and plank ceiling. I loved my new kitchen and was so sad to leave it but I’m ready to transform my new one (someday soon I hope).

    1. Moving on is the hardest part of DIYing sometimes! Thank you for sharing your gorgeous kitchen with us, Kristi — we’re excited to see what you do next!

  2. Im researching doing planked ceiling in our living room/kitchen, Where did you get the pre primed planks? Any information helps! Thanks!

    1. Easy to be inspired by these great after shots. Primed planks of acoustic ceiling tile material are another option you might consider.

  3. I am almost done priming the planks my contractor dropped off as we couldn’t find pre-primed close by. Did you make an effort to smooth out rough patches or knots before painting, or do those wood imperfections become part of the charm. I am not sure on how hard I want to work to smooth the planks out:)