If you read the Master Bedroom Makeover-Part 1, you know all the steps it took to bring our master bedroom out of the dark ages for a much-needed update.

The last step (the cliffhanger for this post) involved our 20’ x 20’ ceiling—a project so large it deserves its own blog. Constructed with dark oak beams and planks, its sheer size and darkness weighed down the room visually. Plus, it didn’t match our more contemporary furnishings. It had to go. But how do you get rid of a ceiling? 

The answer is you don’t.

Of course, that ceiling wasn’t going anywhere, so our original thought was to paint it a white with gray undertones to tie in with our wall color. We cleared the room, did the prep, and applied a coat of paint to one section to see what we thought. Yuck! Not good. Then I came up with the bright idea of distressing it. I had distressed furniture pieces before so how hard could it be? The answer is very, very, really, incredibly, and I stress very hard! What was I thinking?! 

We returned to the first painted section, sprayed it down water, let it soak a bit, then started scraping, scratching and rubbing. We used about every tool you can imagine including a crowbar, screwdriver, putty knife, and steel wool. After we distressed a small section, we wiped it with a wet cloth to create a blended look. It wasn’t bad, but was too busy with both the flat planks and the hanging beams distressed. Our solution was to paint the flat planks solid and distress only the sides of the beams. 

The work—all executed shoulder level and higher—was a big pain in the neck. Literally! Being on a ladder for hours at a time wasn’t much fun either. You’re tired. You’re sweaty. You’re covered in paint and weird sticky paint shavings. And your progress seems to move in extra slow motion. The saving grace on these types of projects is that once you’re partly done, you start to feed off your sense of pure grit and determination, “I’m going to distress this @#)(*%#! ceiling if it’s my last act on earth!”  

It took us a full, three-day weekend to get the ceiling done and a full week to recover. The next weekend we painted the walls our lovely new gray color. New bedding completed our makeover in style. Then came the ta-dah! We stood back and enjoyed our much more contemporary room, and felt proud that we had banished the dark ages forever.  

We proved you can distress a ceiling, but you can also use this treatment on real wood paneling, wood plank walls, wainscoting, and even cabinets or other built-ins. If you like the look, I encourage you to go for it. Just be prepared to invest a lot of sweat equity. If you do, you’ll be thrilled with the results.


Now, what will you do next to love where you live? 

Have design questions for me? Submit them here - or visit our forum to chat with other design and DIY enthusiasts!