A modern accent wall is a budget-friendly way to add a punch of style to any room. This step-by-step tutorial will help you create the look in one afternoon. Try it on the wall behind your bed 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. Admittedly, keeping it ‘hidden’ meant that if I messed up, it wouldn’t as big of a problem 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 wood 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. As you can see from the picture below, the molding was slightly thicker than 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 Modern Accent Wall
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|3.5″ wide MDF cut to size|
|Graph Paper Notebook (optional for planning!)|
|Brad Nail Gun|
|Sanding sponge (or sandpaper)|
|Paint of Choice|
Step 1: Plan
The grid design of this DIY wood accent wall takes a bit of planning. The wall shown in this project was 8 feet tall, by 10.5 feet wide, minus the baseboard.
The initial design had boards around the perimeter, which I ended up not using. 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 spacing. As you can see, this wall ended up with 4 squares for the height. The calculator will give you the square dimensions to the closest 16th of an inch. It’ll also give you a cut list. It’s a good idea to get 10% more to account for 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 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!
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.
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 panter’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 will be taking shape! Time to take a break and admire your work.
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. 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, 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.
Now it’s finally time 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! if you like accent wall, you will want to view these other projects
Fireplace surround using Plywood
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This Post Has 8 Comments
One suggestion: Paint the electric plug cover the color of the wall – make it disapppear!
I was trying to decide if I should do that! Thanks for the suggestion Dave!
Wow, my wife and I were just talking about doing this, I came across your page, you did a really great job, loved the details and especially the calculator!!
Yay! Glad you found it helpful!
You used 3.5″ wide moulding but your calculator only calculates 2″, 3″ or 4″ wide moulding. How can I change it to 3.5″?
The measurements in the calculator are based on the actual width of the board. A 1×4 which is what I used, is roughly 3.5” wide. So, select 1×4 if you’re working with boards that’s 3.5” wide. I hope this helps! The calculator is meant to give a best guess starting point. Always re-measure the distance between the boards before you mail :)And Keep in mind that unless you have a perfectly square wall your grid won’t have perfect squares but the illusion is so cool and looks like perfect squares 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Nice project. Assuming you’re using 1×4’s, I would always recommend applying a 1×4 vertically at both the left and right sides and also horizontally at ceiling, and depending on the type of base, also at the bottom. Also, for each rectangle, I believe it would look best for the vertical dimension to be greater than the horizontal measurement. But that’s just my preferences.
That’s fair, thanks for sharing. And yes, the border looks better in some walls than other depending on the size of the wall, but it is an option on the calculator 🙂