A DIY grid wall is a budget-friendly way to add a punch of style to any room. This step-by-step full tutorial will help you create the look in one afternoon. Try it on the wall behind your bed in the master bedroom or show it off in the living room. Paint it a dark moody color for a bold statement. Your family and guests will love it!
If you’re looking for wooden accent wall ideas you’re in luck! This DIY board and batten wall is currently in a spare bedroom used as a workout room. It’s one of the best home projects I’ve done. I chose the workout room because that meant that if I messed up, it wouldn’t as big of a deal because this room isn’t visible to guests. Now I wish I’d chosen a more visible room!
Here’s what the wall looked like before. Pretty plain, right?
The grid design on this beautiful grid accent wall is lovely and orderly. The baseboards were kept in place for a more cohesive look with the rest of the room. Keeping the baseboards also made the process easier and faster. I also chose a large wall with no windows and made sure that the squares were large enough that I wouldn’t have to cut around the plugs! As you can see from the picture below, the molding was slightly thicker than the baseboard and it sits nicely on top of the baseboard. If that bothers you, you may opt to remove the baseboards for a smooth transition from the top to the bottom of your decorative accent wall.
Something else that saved time and materials on this project, was the lack of molding around the perimeter. Leaving the border off allowed for even spacing and more accurate squares all the way around.
The size of the squares will vary per wall. Visually speaking, larger squares are more appealing than small, chunky squares. The width of the molding will also play a part in your design. Anything 3.5″ or narrower will look best. Lastly, notice that the molding around the electrical outlets didn’t have to be cut. That was no coincidence. Careful planning saves time (see ahead for planning tips!).
However, choosing an accent wall color for your beautiful wall will -no doubt- be the hardest part!
The steps below outline the process. Because every wall is different and no wall is perfectly square, you may need to get creative with your design. Here’s a secret: the squares in this design are not perfect squares in terms of measurement. That is OK! With this grid design, you want to create the illusion of perfect squares by placing the boards as close to square as possible. The squares on this dark green accent wall measure roughly 16″x18″, yet visually they all look square.
DIY Grid Wall
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|3.5″ wide MDF cut to size
|Graph Paper Notebook (optional for planning!)
|Brad Nail Gun
|Construction Adhesive (optional)
|Sanding sponge (or sandpaper)
|Paint of Choice
Step 1: Plan
The first step is to the time to plan this feature wall. This is hard for me given that I tend to rush things. But, I wanted to make sure that the overall look was beautiful. The wall shown in this project was 8 feet tall including the baseboard. The width of the wall was by 10.5 feet.
The first thing I did was draw it out on graphing paper. The initial design had boards around the perimeter, which I ended up not doing. To come up with the number of squares, a tip from Welsh Design Studio came in handy. Take the even-numbered measurement of your wall (in this case it was 8 feet for the height) and divide it by 2. That is the number of squares you will have on that side. In my case, it was 4.
Grid Wall Calculator
Now that you have an idea of how many squares you want, use my grid wall calculator to figure out the number of boards you need and also the spacing. As you can see, this wall ended up with 4 squares for the height. The calculator takes into account the width of the boards and will give you the square dimensions to the closest 16th of an inch. It’ll also give you a cut list. How head over to Home Depot to get your MDF boards and make sure you get 10% more material than you need to account for possible errors.
Step 2: Cut the Vertical Pieces
Where you start will depend on the length of the boards. Because the MDF boards for this project were 8 feet long and the height of the wall was also 8 feet, it made sense to begin with the vertical boards as one entire board covered the height.
Remember to measure the height in multiple spots along the wall. This wall was not square, so the cuts varied slightly. If all of your cuts are the same, and you have a miter saw, save time by clamping the boards together and cutting them at the same time.
Step 3: Attach Vertical Boards
Using a long level attach the boards using construction adhesive (optional) and brad nails. If you’re on the hunt for a beginner-friendly brad nail gun and you dislike dealing with compressors (like me!), this battery-operated brad nail gun works great and is easy to use! If you’re 100% certain you want this wall to stay, you can use liquid nails to glue the boards. But, I know myself and I know that eventually I’ll change my mind so I only used brad nails. Update: The wall has now been up for 2 years with no issues!
As you attach the boards, it is super important to use a long level. Place it midway beside each board as you check for level. I made the mistake of placing my level a little too high and ended up having to remove and re-attach one of the boards because it was level at the top and crooked at the bottom. In hindsight, I should’ve done a chalk line. So, do as I say and not as I do!
Step 3: Attach Horizontal Pieces
Now it’s just a matter of cutting and attaching all of the horizontal pieces. It’s a good idea to do a dry fit or use painter’s tape to diagram the look and make sure your measurements are accurate before you attach the boards. I didn’t have any painter’s tape on hand so, if you look closely you will the horizontal boards below are taped on with scotch tape (a lot of it!). That helped ensure the spacing was correct. Again, clamp a few boards and cut them at the same time if your measurements are exact.
With regards to spacing, the very best tip I can offer is to create a spacer board. This will make your work faster and accurate. I trimmed a scrap 1×2 and cut it to size. You’re welcome!
Pretty soon your room accent wall grid will be taking shape! Time to take a break and admire the progress of your beautiful accent wall!.
Step 4: Fill Gaps and Caulk
After your bedroom accent wall is built, it’s time for filling the nail holes and the in-between gaps with wood filler. A little bit goes a long way. You can always add more after it dries. Otherwise you’ll be sanding a lot. After letting the filler dry for 24 hours, sanding with a 250 grit sanding sponge creates a smooth transition at each joint. After sanding, close your hand and rub your fingers on the seam. It should feel smooth. If you feel bumps, keep sanding.
Once the dust is vacuumed and you have a clean surface, grab your caulking gun and caulk around every edge. Let it dry overnight and you’re ready for priming and painting.
Step 5: Prime and Paint
The boards purchased for this project were already primed. But, to avoid color variations between the wall and the boards I decided to apply primer to the entire wall prior to painting.
The next step is to apply the first coat of paint to your gorgeous green accent wall (if green is your color!). The paint color used here is Rosemary by Sherwin Williams in eggshell. I rolled the first coat with my favorite mini roller and it was so satisfying.
Don’t worry if the first coat looks a little uneven. Let the paint dry 1-2 hours and apply a second coat. That is when the magic happens! Enjoy your beautiful wood plank accent wall!
That’s it! The final result! A big punch of style in a small space.
if you like this beautiful grid accent wall, you will want to view these other projects.
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