How to use beadboard for bathroom walls

Updated February 21, 2017

Beadboard refers to a form of wood panelling, often with carved patterns or designs, that is often half as high or a fraction as high as the height of the wall. Beadboard originated in 18th century Europe and was used primarily as decorative wall details in informal homes and cottages. However, in the 17th century beadboard had been used as formal decorative wall panels in the Federalist and Queen Anne styles. Installing beadboard is a sure-fire way to give your bathroom an elegant, old-fashioned touch.

Stand in your bathroom and measure the height you'd like your beadboard to be. Mark it against the wall with a pencil. Cut all your beadboard to that height with a hand or electric saw. Calculate how many pieces you'll need for your bathroom and how long each piece will need to be. Cut your beadboard to adjust to those needs.

Sand your beadboard lightly with a piece of 150-grit sandpaper. Follow with a piece of 180-grit sandpaper. Vacuum up all the dust from sanding. Apply stain to the beadboard with a 3-inch nylon brush. Alternatively, prime the beadboard with a latex primer. Allow it to dry for 2 hours and then apply a coat of latex paint with your brush in the colour you desire. Allow the beadboard to dry between coats.

Apply a zigzag line of wood adhesive to the back of your beadboard pieces. Press each piece against the wall in its respective place, starting in the corner of the room. Check each board with a level to make sure it's straight.

Hammer in a panelling nail at the top of your beadboard and at the baseboard trim at the bottom, starting in the corner of the bathroom. Each set of top and bottom nails should be 3 inches apart.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Handsaw or electric saw
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • 3-inch nylon brush
  • Latex primer
  • Latex paint
  • Wood or panelling adhesive
  • Level
  • Panelling nails
  • Hammer
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About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."