We moved into our house back in 2001. It wasn’t fancy, but it was ours, so we decided to make it feel more like a home by upgrading it ourselves, bit by bit. My wife agreed that, for every job we wanted to do, I would purchase the proper tool to do the job. As that was 15 years ago and we still live in the same house, my tool collection has expanded quite a bit.
The latest project, and one of the more ambitious ones, was a coffered ceiling. My wife always enjoyed the look of coffered ceilings when we were house shopping, so I created my own version of it.
The first step, as with any project, is layout. Layout helps keep the project on track and lets you know quickly if something goes wrong. I started by taking the overall length and width of the room (12 by 16 feet). I determined that the ceiling would look best divided into a 3x4 grid. I marked the center of the boxes and installed recessed LED lights in these locations.
The “bones” of the ceiling, the underlying structure, is made from hardware store 2x4s. These don’t look great, but they are all covered up before the end. I joined them using construction adhesive and pocket hole screws. I built out the boxes using 5 1/2” strips of MDF ripped with a track saw (a table saw would work fine too), select pine, and crown moulding. Crown moulding is never fun to install, but the compound miters aren’t as difficult when everything meets at perfect 90-degree angles. And since we’re doing this from scratch, we can make sure that happens.
While the frame is open (i.e. before you cap it with the select pine), remember that you can run power, network, or speaker wire through these spaces. If you’re careful about how you close things up, you can even access this space later if you need to run more wire.
The last thing to do is add rosettes. You can use pre-cut trim for this, but I opted to run select pine through a router (a shaper would be better) and cut a custom profile. I cut these to create 5” square rosettes and tacked them up at the junctions.
For a more finished look, remember to fill all the small brad nail holes, sand everything down, and paint carefully.
If you would like to watch the videos they can be found on my YouTube Channel:
Thanks for checking this out and please let me know if you have any questions.
Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017