If you love the look of wainscoting panels but can’t afford the cost, this post is for you. Using budget-friendly materials can create a look you’ll love until you’re ready for the real thing. This faux wainscoting wall gave this laundry room a much needed facelift. If you like it, read on for step by step instructions on how to create a similar look in your home.
This little laundry room/mudroom has been getting some improvements for the past two years. After finishing my powder room (for $100!) I decided it was time to do something about the wall that for many years held my children’s back packs and coats.
Now that my kids are grown, they get to keep their college backpacks in their bedrooms. Since the hooks weren’t used, they became a catch-all place where we piled many unused items.
I was in such a hurry to get it cleaned up that I forgot to take a photo of the madness! However here’s a photo of the wall after I removed the hooks and before I created the faux wainscoting panels. A little blurry, but it’s the only one I took 🙂
Not bad, eh? Do you have a space in mind where you can do this too?
How to Get the Look of Wainscoting Panels without breaking the bank
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- Primed MDF Boards
- Miter Saw
- Nailer, with 2 inch nails
- Wood filler
- Wood stud finder
- Paint Color of choice
Step 1: Remove the Baseboards (optional)
Ugh. You have no idea how much I did NOT want to remove my baseboards. Mostly because I didn’t know how (ha, keepin’ it real!) and also because I’m impatient and wanted to get to the fun part. But, I realized that it would look much better if I removed them. Click here for a detailed tutorial on how to remove baseboards.
If you would like to leave your baseboards in place, you will need to use very thin boards (1/4″ thick or less) for your wainscoting treatment. Initially I considered this option but it’s hard to find inexpensive treated boards that are thin enough.
I also considered ripping plywood like I did in my entry way, but the risk of having frayed edges might have ruined the clean look.
Ultimately, I bit the bullet and removed the baseboards. Meh.
The good news is I only removed the base trim on one wall and left the rest of the room with the existing baseboards. It still looks really good.
If you are lucky enough to have thicker baseboards (at least 1/2″ thick) then proceed without removal.
Step 2: Paint and Install Base
Once the baseboards were out, I painted the wall half way up (about 5 feet) then began nailing the baseboard into the studs using my favorite nail gun.
I found it worked better to start with the shorter pieces followed by longer board pieces. It’s important to make sure the boards are level as you go.
To keep your seams tight, cut the 45 bevel angles first, then measure for length and proceed to make a straight cut on the opposite end of the board, to match the width of the wall.
Step 3: Nail in the Vertical Boards
Now it’s time to mark the spacing of the vertical pieces. I cut all of my vertical boards the exact same length first. Then I placed them evenly and marked. I nailed the boards on every stud. For me, the space between each board was 12-14″. If you want to spend less, you could leave a wider gap and nail a board on every other stud.
I had an electrical outlet on the wall as well, so I made sure to place the board in a way to avoid having to cut around it. I actually placed that board on first and worked my way out, making sure I kept the spacing even.
Then it was time to finish it off with the top horizontal piece. Notice that I did not remove my door casing. That is another reason I chose this type of trim. The boards I was working with were the exact same width of the door casing (1/2″).
Also, I did not use glue on this project, only nails. That way the boards can be easily removed without major drywall damage.
Step 4: Caulk, Fill Holes, and Paint again
After all of my boards where in place, I filled in the seams with white caulk and filled the nail holes with wood filler. Once everything was dry I lightly sanded the areas where I’d filled the nail holes and gave the wall another coat of paint to finish it off.
Side Note: The door you see in the above photo leads to my kitchen, and it’s always open, which means it’s always in my way when I am in the laundry room. I feel like a sliding barn door would look great in the space given that I have enough room on the right to slide it! Do you agree?
Building a real barn door is on my bucket list and I think this might be the perfect spot.
What a difference a little trim and paint can make!
If you like the ironing board holder, you can find the tutorial by clicking here! I also need a rug, but haven’t shopped for one yet :).
The cabinets are going to be painted soon and I am SO excited to show you that. Be sure to get on my email list to receive updates once the posts are up.
Until then, I would love it if you’d pin this project and share it with your friends!
If you like budget-friendly makeovers you may enjoy the following posts:
Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials for novice woodworkers and DIYers. She also works as a university professor in the health care industry. Have a question for Janice? Feel free to send her a message here!