We Decided to Stain the Ceiling

by Rachel Blackburn in ,


Our wood-beam ceiling has been the center of much discussion.  Neither of us liked it.  It was whitewashed or bleached and (to quote Michael) it looked “thirsty”.  

I originally wanted to *gasp* paint it white.  

I know, big mistake.  Thankfully our realtor talked me out of that.  Someday I will have a beach house with white beam ceilings though!

Michael originally wanted to sand the whole thing (all 1700 sq ft of it) and stain it a dark brown.  

I thought he was nuts for wanting to sand 1700 sq feet over his head with a run-of-the-mill orbital sander, and I wasn’t sold on super dark ceilings.  I was afraid they would make the house seem dark and closed in.

Both of us were concerned about how a stain would cover the imperfections and existing bleaching on the ceiling.

So we compromised.

There is a section of beam over the kitchen wall that we are planning on removing, and we used that as our guinea pig.  Michael sanded part of it, and we put a medium-dark semi-opaque stain on both the sanded and unsanded parts.  Then we let it dry and spent a few days thinking about if we could live with the color.  

Sanded is on the left, unsanded on the right.  Yes, the trim and outlet are wallpapered.

Sanded is on the left, unsanded on the right.  Yes, the trim and outlet are wallpapered.

Turns out we could!

I know, technically Michael should have been wearing a mask.  He did, for most of the process.

The semi-opaque stain covers the bleaching nicely, and it actually looked better on the unsanded beam than it did on the sanded part.  In the end, with Michael doing the labor, it will cost us $200 for the brush and stain to do the entire ceiling.  It’s a cheap facelift with a big payoff!  

Before

Before

After

After