Measure the ceiling surface. Determine how many planks of beadboard you will need, with extra planks for scraps. Beadboard is usually 3 ½ inches wide, 8 feet long and 5/16 inches thick.
Prime and paint or stain the beadboard planks. Allow them to dry completely before attaching them to the ceiling.
Install the beadboard planks perpendicular to the ceiling joists. You will be able to see the joists if you've removed the old drywall from the ceiling. If you are not planning on removing the drywall, locate the ceiling joists using a stud finder. Run caulk lines on all the joist locations.
Using 4d finishing nails, hammer the first board into place, starting with the grooved edge against the wall.
Drill pilot holes through the plank's face near the wall and nail the edge to the joists.
Slip the grooved end of the next plank under the first plank's tongue. Hold a block of wood against the second plank's tongue and tap it with a hammer, fitting the groove and tongue together snugly. Nail the second plank in place just through the tongue using a nailset. Continue with this method until you reach the last plank.
Cut your final plank to fit. Usually, the last plank will be too wide, so use a table or circular saw to cut it to the proper width. Fit the last plank's groove over the tongue of the previous plank, drill pilot holes and nail the last plank through its face as you did with the very first plank. Finally, add your molding to trim the perimeter of the ceiling.